I was sent to San Antonio, Texas for a trade show in March 2018, so we decided to make a short trip out of it. If I were to go just to see the park I would probably fly into a closer airport. I picked the things we wanted to do in each section of the park and we saw as much as we could in two and half days. One more day would have been nice, but we felt that we got it all in. A few more days would probably be too much unless we had a vehicle that could handle the primitive roads or took a boat trip. Compared to the many other National Parks I’ve visited this park is definitely unique and worthy of it’s title, but for canyons and dessert I think Utah has more to offer. San Antonio was a nice city, but not one of my favorites.
Day by Day Schedule
Day 1 – Flight to San Antonio from Upstate NY
Caught a flight after work and crashed at the Quinta airport hotel.
Day 2 – Drive San Antonio to Big Bend and Persimmon Gap
We took Rt 10 across Texas to Fort Stockton and then drove down to Big Bend. A very long drive. In Persimmon’s Gap there are only a couple trails to pick from. Dog Canyon and Devil’s Den are the main ones. We did Devil’s Den then headed for Terlingua for our B&B cabin. The hike was good but there isn’t much to see from the road in the Persimmon’s Gap area of the park, so if you aren’t doing one of the hikes it is probably skippable.
10.6 miles 630 ft climbed
Day 3 – Chisos Basin
We dedicated this day to the Chisos Basin area and picked one of the most strenuous day hikes. We took the Pinnacles Trail to Emory Peak, to Boot Canyon, to South Rim, to Laguna Meadow. This was a tiring but awesome day.
17.43 miles, 3920 ft climbed
Day 4 – Maxwell Scenic Area and Rio Grande Area (Border Crossing to Boquillas, Mexico)
We did the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive in the morning and explored the Rio Grande Area in the afternoon. This was a full but nice day.
- Drove to Santa Elena and hiked Santa Elena Canyon Trail, Excellent
- Tuff Canyon Overlook, not super impressive, at least after Santa Elena
- Mule’s Ears Viewpoint, just ok but on the way back
- Burro Mesa Lower Pouroff Trail, short and nice
- Drove to Rio Grande Area
- Crossed the boarder to Boquillas, Mexico, fun but not exciting
- Boquillos Canyon Trail, easy trail, nice canyon
9.14 miles, 660 ft climbed
Day 5 – Drive to San Antonio and explore the city
We drove back to San Antonio via Rt 90 then checked out the Alamo, Riverwalk and Market Square.
Day 6 – Going Home
Approx $1220 total for two
- Flight: $320 pp
- Lodging: $370
- Car rental: $110
- Park Entry: $25
- Gas: $75
See Food & Lodging for more info