MARATHON – Big Bend Day Trips River Road Big Bend NP West Side

Big Bend West features River Road and Big Bend Ranch State Park. El Camino del Rio between Presidio and Lajitas, was described by National Geographic magazine as one of the 5 most beautiful drives in the US. Stop for breath taking panoramas, and hike up a slot canyon before driving to Santa Elena Canyon.

8:00 am – Meet our Guests
Meet guests at Marathon accommodations. Take US 90 west toward Alpine


9:30 am – Cibolo Creek and Shafter
Drive by Cibolo Creek Ranch that stocks exotic animals from buffalo to elk to antelope. Shafter is a silver mining town in a beautiful location.


10:45 am – El Camino del Rio
After a convenience stop in Presidio, we head east towards Lajitas on TX 170, The River Road. In 1967, National Geographic called it “one of the top 5 scenic drives in North America”. It has not changed since then. We stop along the way for short walks, photo opportunities and a picnic lunch in Big Bend Ranch State Park.


12:00 pm – Big Hill Overlook
This is one of the most scenic roadside stops in the state enjoys an unbroken view of the Rio Grande in both directions, and a place to gaze straight down about 800 feet to the river below.


12:30pm – Hike Closed Canyon
After a picnic lunch, hike into a shady, vertical walled, water carved slot canyon, sculpted into hard igneous rock. Enjoy the natural reverberation from the song of the Canyon Wren.


2:30 pm – Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive
We enter Big Bend National Park, fee included with trips cost. This amazing highway traverses the western foothills of the Chisos Mountains, and past a variety of geological oddities and beautiful points of interest. Short hike at Burro Mesa Pour-Off.


3:30 pm – Santa Elena Canyon
Noted author Edward Abbey wrote that “if light were sound, Santa Elena would be a symphony. We will hike the 1.5 miles round trip into the canyon and in Go Big Bend’s opinion, one of the most remarkable scenic locations in Big Bend and perhaps in the entire state of Texas.


5:00 pm – Return to Base
Return to Marathon via Maverick Road (unpaved) Drop guests at their Marathon accommodations approximately 7:15 pm.

View of the Rio Grande River at sunset with blooming yellow cactus flowers in the foreground in Colorado Canyon in Big Bend Ranch State Park
Colorado Canyon, Big Bend Ranch State Park
Guests hiking in the dry streambed at the bottom of Closed Canyon in the Big Bend Ranch State Park
Closed Canyon, Big Bend Ranch State Park
Santa Elena Canyon with the Rio Grande River on a sunny day
Santa Elena Canyon

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 Marathon, 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.