Big Bend Part 2

Rio Village Campground
Nights: 3
Hikes: 2

Since it takes nearly 2 hours to drive from one end of Big Bend to the other, we decided to camp a few days on the eastern side of the park. We found less of the spectacular geologic scenery of the western side of the park here and it seemed a bit more arid. It turned out we were glad we had spent more time on the other side and if you can only visit one part I would say go for the western side of the park. Still there were some good views here.

View of the Rio Grande from the Hot Springs trail. On the right side is Mexico.

Again we hiked to a canyon carved by the Rio Grande at this end of the park. Boquillas Canyon was not quite as spectacular, maybe because you couldn’t get as far into the canyon with the trail washed away or maybe because the lighting wasn’t great in the afternoon when we went. We did spot a turtle on the bank of the river though so add that to our list of wildlife seen at Big Bend.


On certain days you can also cross the border via rowboat at Boquillas to visit a small Mexican town, but since we have been to Mexico numerous times we passed.

Mexican artists illegally cross the river to set up trinkets for sale. We saw several of these little collections along the trail. They don’t stick around to get caught, but leave a jar for your money. The park warns visitors it is illegal to buy anything from them.

We hadn’t seen many Airstreams in the midwest but here in Texas we’re seeing more. We met two other Airstream couples in the campground and it was fun to chat with them. One couple from San Antonio are about two years away from following in our path. They had lots of questions about going full-time and how we had outfitted our Airstream. There is an instant connection with other Airstreamers and it’s nice having that community. In fact we’re already planning a trip to the Airstream factory in May for their big rally.

If we walked across from our campsite we had this view of the evening light on the cliffs. 

A big draw of this area of Big Bend is the natural hot spring on the shores of the river. A business man built a small store and motor court here in the 1930s and a few of the buildings still remain.


The mineral rich water was thought to be healing and it still bubbles up in the foundations of the spa at a constant 105 degrees.

Yes, that muddy water is the Rio Grande.

Many hikers come to soak in it, but we found the nearby petroglyphs, pictographs and rock formations more interesting.


The red markings are pictographs, painted images left by early inhabitants.
The thick and thin layers of rock along the trail were full of color.

Overall, Big Bend left us excited for more of the grandeur our National Parks protect for everyone to enjoy. We’ve only visited six parks so far and already we can’t believe the amazing things we’ve seen.

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