#25 of 61 national parks in United States of America

Best river trails in Big Bend National Park

1,305 Reviews
Explore the most popular river trails in Big Bend National Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.
Map of river trails in Big Bend National Park
Park information
Acreage:
801,163 acres
Contact
432-477-2251
Top trails (16)
#1 - Santa Elena Canyon Trail
Big Bend National Park
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(603)
Length: 1.5 mi • Est. 1 h 1 m
This trail begins at the end of the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive. Although a short trail, it is one of the grandest spectacles in the park. After crossing Terlingua Creek, the trail climbs several short switchbacks and then gradually descends along the banks of the Rio Grande. Hikers are surrounded by lush riparian vegetation and 1,500-foot towering vertical cliffs of solid limestone. The trail ends where canyon walls meet the river. Take a lunch and enjoy the scene. Note: Following rains, flash floods, or periods of high water, Terlingua creek can be impassable, effectively closing the trail.Show more
#2 - Boquillas Canyon Trail
Big Bend National Park
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(257)
Length: 1.2 mi • Est. 38 m
A beautiful canyon on the Rio Grande The trail starts in a parking area at the end of the Boquillas Canyon spur road, and climbs over a low hill and drops down to the river.Show more
#3 - Hot Springs Canyon Trail
Big Bend National Park
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(73)
Length: 5.5 mi • Est. 2 h 50 m
This trail was reported closed (November 30), for up to date closure information, see the park page here: https://www.nps.gov/bibe/planyourvisit/river_hikes.htm This is a great trail, going along the Rio grande river into the Hot Springs Historic District. The trail has great views and vegetation, some historic sites (Native American carvings!) near the end at hot springs. Show more
#4 - Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive
Big Bend National Park
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(60)
Length: 30.9 mi
A standard paved National Park Service road with great scenic views of rocky vistas and pretty desert wildflowers.Show more
#5 - Marufo Vega Trail
Big Bend National Park
hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(55)
Length: 13.5 mi • Est. 7 h 14 m
This is a strenuous, potentially dangerous, but spectacular day hike or overnight backpacking trip. There is no shade and no water on this trail and temperatures can exceed 110 degrees. The trail is named after Gregorio Marufo, who grazed goats along the river. Hikers today use the cross country section to join two ends of the popular desert trail making it a14-mile round-trip loop.Show more
#6 - Sam Nail Ranch Trail
Big Bend National Park
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray Star(69)
Length: 0.3 mi • Est. 8 m
A Big Bend Ranching example from the early 1900's. It is an easy, well-maintained trail leads through the old homestead of Jim and Sam Nail and Sam's wife, Nena. There are interesting historic remnants here, including part of the adobe walls of the house and two windmills, one which is still in operation. This is a beautiful desert oasis and a great spot for birding and wildlife viewing.Show more
#7 - Mule Ears - Smoky Creek Trail
Big Bend National Park
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray Star(37)
Length: 7 mi • Est. 3 h 28 m
Mule ears hike leads through the foothills of the Chisos Mountains, skirts Trap Mountain, and crosses several arroyos. Near the spring is an old rock corral. The spring itself is overgrown with shrubs, but ferns and cattails also grow there. Show more
#8 - The River Road OHV Trail
Big Bend National Park
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray Star(21)
Length: 50.7 mi
Fifty one miles of gravel road.Show more
#9 - The River Road: Lajitas to Presidio
Big Bend National Park
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(17)
Length: 66.4 mi
A very scenic drive along the Rio Grande!Show more
#10 - River Road OHV Trail
Big Bend National Park
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray Star(5)
Length: 78.2 mi
Showing results 1 - 10 of 16