Santa Elena Canyon and the Rio Grande.
Bikers explore the Big Bend National Park.
Rio Grande Village Nature Trail.
Rio Grande Village Nature Trail
Boqillas Canyon.

Panther Junction Visitor Center.


81 Miles Away

This park is so big that the crowds that come here are swallowed up by its vast expanse of wilderness and beauty and you'll feel like you're all alone.

There's lots of wildlife though, so watch your step. Luckily, all the dinosaurs are gone, but there are snakes, tarantulas, scorpions, javelinas, skunks, and worse.

In fact, take all the warning signs seriously. Be prepared with lots of water. This is a serious hostile wilderness with lots of opportunities to get in trouble. Other than that, enjoy.

There are popular sites and paved roads, but the adventurous may explore more primitive roads and even more remote trails. Some paths will be challenging and may take the showroom sheen off your bike.

Santa Elena Canyon and Boquillas Canyon are spectacular rock canyons that have been carved by the Rio Grande.

Both require a short walk, but it's worth it. You can talk to the farmers on the opposite side of the river, but don't walk across. It's tempting, but you risk a fine up to $5000.

At the Chisos Basin Visitors Center there's an actual restaurant, with a bar.

If you're wondering how Panther Junction got its name, note the signs warning of mountain lions and bears. Really.

Camping requires a permit. There are several general stores and laundromat facilities.

Highway signs.

There are two ways to get to the park entrance from Alpine. Either take Highway 118 through Study Butte (81 miles) or take Highway 90 to Marathon and then Highway 385 (72 miles). Either way is equidistant from the Chisos Basin Visitor Center (another 20 miles or so).

The Marathon route is shorter to Boquillas Canyon. The Study Butte route is closer to Santa Elena Canyon.

There are two gas stations in the park. One is closed. Think ahead.

Caslon gas station.

Caslon Station (Temporarily closed)

Panther Junction gas station.

Panther Junction Station

Where to Eat in Big Bend National Park.

CLICK HERE for Daylon Walton's Hiking Guide
Panther Junction Visitor Center.
Bikers visit Santa Elena Canyon.
Visitors climb the mountainside in Santa Elena Canyon.
The Rio Grande Village Nature Trail.
Fish at the Rio Grande Village Nature Trail.
Guests relax at the Chisos Mountains Lodge.

Entrance to the Big Bend National Park.

The village of Boquillas del Carmen.
Sign warning of illegal entry to U.S.A.


If you want to visit Mexico, that's fine. Just use the official Border Crossing adjacent to Boquillas Canyon. Bring your passport.

After a short boat ride (or swim), the Mexican village of Boquillas del Carmen welcomes tourists and offers local crafts as well as authentic Mexican food and drink.

Boquillas Crossing Port of Entry.
The village of Boquillas del Carmen aside the Rio Grande.