Possible destinations: rock window view, hot springs, or scenic overlook? Why choose? When we camped at the Chisos Basin, we did them all at Big Bend National Park.
First up, and easiest, was the 4.5-mile Window Trail that started from the Chisos Basin campground. The walk was partially through a wooded area where we saw a Carmen Mountain White Tailed Deer in the brush. As we stood quietly to observe the deer, we caught sight of an acorn woodpecker in the tree overhead. A bonus! We continued on to a dramatic boulder field with steps built in for easier passage. We wondered how we would know when we got to the “window” and should not have worried. It was perfectly clear when we got to the “window”: had we gone any further, then we would have gone over a cliff.
The walk to the Hot Springs sounds perfect until we found out the entire 6-mile trail is fully exposed to the hot sun at mid-day. We threw swimsuits, a few sandwiches, and a supply of water into our backpack and took off. We resolved to walk directly to the Hot Springs and take photos on the return later in the day when the light was lower. Our resolve melted with flowering cactus lining the path and, again, when the Rio Grande River came in sight. The Hot Springs was better than we expected, with a blocked-in pool right next to the river. The springs spilled into the Rio Grande so that sitting in the river by the pool gave an option to cool down after soaking in the springs. The hike back took a long time, because we took one photograph after another.
The Lost Mine Trail is reputed to be the best day hike in Big Bend. It’s a 4.8-mile self-guided hike, so we gladly paid the $1 for the valuable little guide. The hike gradually climbs 1,200’ but stopping so often to read about juniper trees, cactus, and lichen softens the impact of the climb. The view at the top was superb, and we ate half our lunch facing east and then swiveled around for a western view and ate the second half. No matter where we looked, the view was awe-inspiring.
We think it would be hard to take a bad walk in this park. It offers just too many beautiful things to see.