ALPINE – Big Bend National Park Highlights

Highlights of Big Bend is the perfect introduction to Big Bend National Park, and two iconic features: Santa Elena Canyon and Chisos Mountains. Experience 3 distinct environments: desert, mountain, and river. Learn the fascinating history of this unique region, from Spanish conquistadors to Apollo astronauts.

8:00 am – Meet our guests
Meet guests at your Alpine hotel. Depart Alpine via Texas 118 south.


9:30 am – Study Butte
Quick stop at Study Butte, gateway to Big Bend National Park. Enter Big Bend National Park (entrance fees included in trip coss), take the Maverick Road (dirt), to Santa Elena Canyon, with stop at Luna’s Jacal


10:45 am – Santa Elena Canyon
Noted author Edward Abbey wrote that “if light were sound, Santa Elena would be a symphony”. Hike 1.5 miles round trip into the canyon, one of the most remarkable scenic locations in Big Bend and perhaps in the entire state of Texas.


12:15 pm – Castolon Historic Area
A picnic lunch will be served by the Castolon store. Castolon was once the commercial center of agriculture along the Rio Grande that supported the mining industry in Terlingua and also grew cotton for export out of the area. During a period of unrest between 1913 and 1918, a small detachment of cavalry was posted here and patrolled the US/Mexico border. From Castolon, we drive Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive, stopping along the way, headed towards Chisos Mountains Basin


2:00 pm – Chisos Mountains Basin
The Chisos Mountains Basin is the center of the cool mountain highlands of Big Bend National Park. There is a lodge with 72 rooms, restaurant, convenience store.vIt is the jumping off point for a variety of wilderness trails. We will take a 1.5 mile round trip walk to a scenic viewpoint on the Lost Mine Trail, where on a clear day, one can see 100 miles in all directions.


3:00 pm – Drive to National Park Headquarters
We stop at Park HQ at Panther Junction to enjoy their excellent short video and shop for gifts, interpretive literature and maps


4:00 pm – Paleontology Exhibit
This brand new museum takes visitors through millions of years of geology, with displays and sculptures depicting habitats of these remote times, and the creatures who once inhabited Big Bend.


4:30 pm – Return to Alpine
Continue north through Persimmon Gap and then US Highway 385 to Marathon. On the drive,we pass by geological evidence continental tectonic activity from hundreds of millions of years,as well as follow the Comanche War Trail. Take US 90 west in Marathon and arrive in Alpine around 6:30 pm.

Santa Elena Canyon with the Rio Grande River on a sunny day
Santa Elena Canyon
View of the Chisos Mountains with blooming yellow cactus flowers in the foreground as seen from near Panther Junction in Big Bend National Park
Chisos Mountains, Big Bend National Park
Fossil of large fish at the paleontology exhibit at Big Bend National Park.
Paleontology Exhibit, 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.


Originating Alpine, 2-3 guests, $215 per guest. 4-5 guests, $175 per guest. For larger groups, please 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.