TERLINGUA – 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 a bathing suit and towel!

8:30 am – Meet our Guests
Meet guests at Terlingua area lodging. Take TX 170 east to Study Butte, then right 3 miles on TX 118 and enter Big Bend National Park


9:30 am – Chisos Mountains Basin
The Chisos Mountains Basin is in the cool mountain highlands of Big Bend National Park. There is a lodge with 72 rooms, restaurant, and convenience store. The Basin is the jumping-off point for a variety of wilderness trails. We will walk 1.5 miles round trip to a breathtaking overlook on the Lost Mine Trail.


11:00 am – Paleontology Exhibit
This open-air museum guides visitors through millions of years of geology, with displays and sculptures depicting habitats of these remote times, and the creatures who once inhabited them.


12:00 pm – Lunch at Dugout Wells
This shaded lunch spot feature a running spring and an old windmill. We often see a variety of colorful birds attracted to the perennial spring waters.


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 into the Rio Grande at 105 F. Langford developed a spa resort and hotel, remains of which today include a 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 del Norte.


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


5:00 pm – Return to Lajitas
Drive through west side of Big Bend National Park to Study Butte, then take TX 170 west to Lajitas.


6:00 pm – Arrive Lajitas
Drop guests off at Terlingua area lodging.

Casa Grande high above the Chisos Basin in Big Bend National Park with cactus in the foreground
Casa Grande, Chisos Basin
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.


Originating in Terlingua area, 2-3 guests, $185 per guest. 4-5 guests, $160 per guest. Children 12 and under are 25% off. For larger groups, please contact mike@gobigbend.com 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 https://www.recreation.gov/sitepass/74331  and getting one in advance. It asks for vehicle information, simply list your own vehicle.