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Big Bend in the Summer!

The clear desert sky covered with thousands of stars and a glowing Milky Way

Is Summer the Best Season to Visit Big Bend?

A natural wonderland. A vast wide-open space. Big Bend National Park is a magical place to be at any time of the year, but why is the summer special?

The Lone Star State can get hot in the summer but there are few places in Texas that provide visitors with a majestic mountain backdrop, incredible sunsets, and unrivaled beauty. Situated in the heart of the Chihuahuan Desert, the cooler months of the year are more popular than summertime but that shouldn’t deter you from visiting! Below, we’ve listed some of Big Bend’s summer highlights, enjoy!


According to the National Park Service, Big Bend has the least amount of light pollution of any other national park in the lower 48 states, making it one of the most outstanding stargazing locations in North America. As soon as the sun sets and the night’s sky emerges, the welcome cool evening air sets the scene for an amazing event. The number of stars in the sky at night can be startling and the unobstructed Milky Way glows right above your head.

The small population in the area means we’re lucky to have little light pollution and the low tree coverage contributes to this spectacle. Regardless of your location, you’re guaranteed an incredible view. Tip: You can drive up to the Sotol Vista Overlook and enjoy the sun going down over Big Bend and see the starry sky light up.


Big Bend has more unpaved roads than paved and that means only one thing, adventure. But if you don’t have a suitable vehicle to hit the backcountry, don’t fret, there are over 110 miles of winding paved roads throughout the park. One of the most famous Big Bend scenic drives is the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive. Showcasing the rugged geological diversity of this wonderful area, this drive passes along the western slope of the Chisos Mountains and ends at the epic Santa Elena Canyon (a 1,500-foot limestone chasm the Rio Grande has split in two).

For those looking to do some off-roading, you’ve come to the right place. One of our many potential recommendations includes the Old Maverick Road trail. Clocking up at nearly 14 miles, this route takes you through the Terlingua Creek Badlands that lie on the western side of Big Bend. There are also numerous historical sights along the way to stop and marvel at, and if you need any further information, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at


There’s no better way to cool off on a hot summer’s day than getting out onto the Rio Grande. This epic river has carved some of the most beautiful sections of Big Bend. There are numerous short hikes and viewpoints that will give you some spectacular views of the canyons but there’s no comparing the view from rafting on the Rio Grande itself. We have a wide selection of river kayak trips for family days out to 4-day floats and it’s difficult to get a better perspective of the park from here. The towering cliffs, the deep canyons, and the peace you feel as you float down this uninhabited part of the world is unforgettable.

If you’re feeling up for a challenge, we have previously discussed unguided river trips on the Rio Grande. Contact us if you need more information!


Last but certainly not least, hiking. There are numerous hiking trails in Big Bend for beginners to the more advanced. From 0.3-mile beginner loops showcasing amazing views of the Chisos Basin to the 14-mile South Rim Trail, there is something for everyone. And please, don’t forget your hiking snacks!

Summer is a special time in Big Bend as there are fewer visitors around. This means less human interaction (more social distancing), less traffic, and more space to enjoy our beautiful national park. We do recommend that you bring a sufficient amount of sunscreen for your time here as the summer sun can get hot and always ensure you have access to sufficient drinking water.

If you would like any more ideas or would just like a question answered, get in contact with us or just send me an email at

– Greg