Texas/New Mexico

Hiking at Big Bend, Guadalupe Mountains & Carlsbad Caverns

Come south this winter to explore diverse ecosystems, geologic formations and human cultures, while hiking in three of our nation’s national parks.
Rating (5)
Program No. 23329RJ
8 days
Starts at

At a Glance

Join local experts and a small group of fellow hikers as you explore the varied ecosystems of three national parks: Big Bend, the Guadalupe Mountains and Carlsbad Caverns. Learn how early natives, pioneers, miners and ranchers interacted with the land and its diverse flora and fauna, especially the curanduros healers. Find out what it means to live “off the grid” as you travel to remote Mexican border towns, and see why this region was once known as “the Last Frontier.”
Activity Level
Outdoor: Spirited
Hiking 3-7 miles each day over varied terrain. Elevations from 5,500 to 8,000 feet.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Hike down to the deepest caverns of Carlsbad Caverns, both a National Park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Enjoy dinner at the historic Starlight Theater and an authentic Mexican lunch at a family restaurant in the border town of Boquillas.
  • Spend an evening stargazing in Terlingua, awarded the “Dark Night Skies Award.”
Featured Expert
All Experts
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Erin Little
Erin comes from the Appalachian region of Tennessee. She has led groups for 19 years, typically spending the summer leading whitewater raft groups in Tennessee and the rest of the year leading hikes, river trips and Mexico outings in far west Texas. She is also a Swiftwater Rescue Instructor and Wilderness First Responder Certified.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

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Erin Little
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Erica Little
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Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
The Big Bend of the Rio Grande: A Guide to the Rocks, Landscape, Geologic History, and Settlers of the Area of Big Bend National Park
by Ross Maxwell
An all-encompassing read covering geology, early park history, and medicinal plants.
Apache Legends & Lore of Southern New Mexico: From the Sacred Mountain
by Lynda A. Sanchez
A wonderful collection of stories that captures the bygone Apache lifestyle.
The Big Bend: A History of the Last Texas Frontier
by Ron C. Tyler
A chapter by chapter approach to the human settlement of the Big Bend.
Empire of the Summer Moon
by S.C. Gwynne
A must read about the rise and fall of the Comanche nation.
Beneath the Window: Early Ranch Life in the Big Bend
by Patricia Wilson Clothier
A memoir of the author's upbringing in the wilds of the Chihuahuan Desert.

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