ALPINE – Big Bend National Park Day Trip East Side

Big Bend East features easy hikes to destinations in the mountains, the desert, and on the Rio Grande. Hike Lost Mine Trail to an overlook with a hundred mile view. Explore the geological wonders of Ernst Tinaja, and the fascinating history at Hot Springs Historic Area. Bring bathing suit and towel!

8:00 am – Meet our Guests
Meet lobby of your Alpine Hotel. Depart Alpine via US 90 east, then take US 385 south from Marathon to Big Bend National Park.


9:45 am – Paleontology Exhibit
This brand new museum takes visitors through millions of years of geology, with displays and sculptures depicting the creatures who once roamed Big Bend as well as their habitats.


11:00 am – Chisos Mountains Basin
Enjoy a picnic lunch in the Chisos Mountains Basin. “The Basin” is the center of the cool mountain highlands of Big Bend National Park. There is a lodge with 72 rooms, restaurant, convenience store, and visitor center/ranger station. It is jumping off point for a variety of wilderness trails. We will take a short walk on the Window View Trail, and then have a tasty picnic lunch al fresco.


1:30 pm – Ernest Tinaja
Tinaja is Spanish for “small basin”. In Big Bend, where there are many hard rock dry creek beds, thousands of years of periodic flash floods have carved natural basins, some of which hold water year round. Ernst Tinaja was named for a turn of the 20th century entrepreneur who established a trading post nearby during the mining boom of that era. This is a fascinating, easy walk.


3:00 pm – Hot Springs Historic Area
In 1906, J.O. Langford arrived in Alpine, Texas, and sight unseen contracted to homestead a property on the Rio Grande, in what is now Big Bend National Park. On this property was a natural thermal spring, flowing in to the Rio Grande at 105 F. Langford developed a spa resort and hotel, the remains of which today include the store, several hotel rooms, and the remains of the bath house where visitors can still soak in the healing waters on the shores of the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo.


4:30 pm – National Park Headquarters
We stop at Park HQ at Panther Junction to enjoy their excellent short video and shop for gifts.


5:00 pm – Return to Base
Drive through west side of Big Bend NP to Study Butte, then take TX 118 north to Alpine.


6:30 pm – Arrive Alpine
Drop guests at Alpine Hotel.

Fossil of large fish at the paleontology exhibit at Big Bend National Park.
Paleontology Exhibit, Big Bend National Park
Ernst Tinaja in deep shadows filled with water in a canyon with dry streambed trail in the background
Ernst Tinaja
Guests bathing their feet in the ruins of the Hot Springs mineral bath buildings in Big Bend National Park with sunlight glinting off the Rio Grande river
Hot Springs, Big Bend National Park

Please note

Times are estimated. We are always happy to be flexible with the itinerary; as long as we get you back in time for dinner. We are happy to arrange custom itineraries and exclusive trips, as well as help plan your complete trip to the beautiful Big Bend.


Tours originating in Alpine are $215 per person for 2-3 guests, $175 for 4-5 guests. For larger groups, contact or call 432 386-5635.

Prices do not include entrance to Big Bend National Park, which is $30 per carload, good for 7 days. There are a variety of different passes that are valid: America the Beautiful, Senior Lifetime, Active Military as well as Big Bend Annual Pass or National Park Annual Pass. If you don’t have one of those, we can save time by going to  and getting one in advance. It asks for vehicle information, simply list your own vehicle.