Winters in Big Bend

woman hiking on mountain with jacket

When most people think about hiking into the great outdoors or cruising along the Rio Grande, they’re usually dreaming about the summertime. Trust us — we’re the first to hop in the river and cool off in the rapids after a sweaty hike, but we’re also big fans of winter in Big Bend National Park, and it’s got a lot to boast about.

What’s the winter weather like?

Winters in Big Bend are chock-full of stunning days that are mild and clear, but beware the nights, as they often drop to near freezing temperatures. Daytime highs usually reach 70°F — that’s right, the perfect, balmy temperature for the abundance of outdoor activities that we’ve got in store for you. Of course, we still tell folks to dress cautiously during these months: using inner thermal layers with long sleeve shirts, jackets and an outer shell. The more layers you have, the more you can shed to suit your personal comfort while having the option to throw them back on in case of any cold change. Snowfall is not a common sight in the park either, but we do tend to get blessed with a bit of that crystallized rain once or twice in the year, though often only on elevations higher than 3,500 feet. Apart from this odd cold-snap, the mountains are often warmer than along the Rio Grande — go figure!

Can I still get out and about during the winter?

Absolutely! The cooler days mean that this time of year is the perfect opportunity to challenge yourself without the added obstacle of the summer heat. Even the most strenuous summer hikes become a more pleasant experience when you’re not drenched in sweat from head to toe. On top of that, we experience the least rainfall of the year during the winter months, which means you’re less likely to be interrupted by rain or storms! Fewer freak weather events mean more clear days to enjoy the raw wilderness out here. And although Big Bend doesn’t need to be drier than it already is, the reliability of a crystal clear sky as well as longer nights make for every stargazer’s slice of paradise.

I can still stargaze, right?

Once you’ve spent the day on one of our infamous floats along the Rio Grande, wrangling the outdoors on our jeep tours, roaming in our ATVs or finishing off a personalized hike, our cozy casitas are the perfect place for you to unwind, warm up and rest. We always have a fire going, so bundle up and grab yourself a hot cup of cocoa for the best nighttime views of the year. As an International Dark Sky Park, there aren’t many more places in the US where the Milky Way shines so brightly.

Do a lot of people come to Big Bend during the winter?

As you might know, another great reason to visit us in winter is to avoid the crowds. Even though Big Bend is…big (to say the least!) and one of the most remote and least visited parks in the USA, you’ll never feel it as much as in the winter season. If you’re looking for that truly liberating escape from the hustle and bustle, this time of year is perfect for you. However, be aware that most lodging in the area gets booked out early for Christmas, New Year’s and other federal holidays, so be sure to book ahead of time if this is when you’re planning on visiting (and the same applies for spring break during March).

If you’re not already convinced then get in contact with us to find out more or shoot me an email at greg@bigbendfarflung.com. We’re open year-round and are always eager to show off our beautiful backyard in every season.

– Greg