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Big Bend Country Road Trip Itinerary: What You Need To Know

When Visited?

Early January

Price Point?

Average

Travel Size?

Small Group

Duration?

5 Days

Sights We Recommend?

Must-See

Lost Mine Trail
Santa Elena Canyon
Window Trail
Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive
Grapevine Hill Trail
U.S. 170 Scenic Drive Between Terlingua & Marfa
Star Gazing At Marfa Lights
McDonald Observatory Star Party
Prada Marfa
Watch Sunset at Starlight Theatre (Terlingua)
Monahans Sandhills State Park
Big Bend Ranch State Park
Closed Canyon Trail

How We Got To Big Bend?

Rental Car: Enterprise

Rental Class

Intermediate | Red Mazda3

Price: $216
Road Trip Path

Houston → San Antonio (Food Stop)
Alpine → Big Bend National Park (multiple days)
Terlingua → Presidio → Marfa → Valentine, TX
Alpine → Houston

Enterprise Service Rating: ★★★★☆

Vehicle Rating (Mazda3): ★★★★★

Details & Review

2 People | 7-Day Pricing |Mazda3
Enterprise Service Review: We were able to change the vehicle car type with no hassle. Paperwork and signatures were done digitally and sent via email. The vehicle interior was clean and the exterior was in great condition. According to the Enterprise’s clerk, they accept only your personal auto insurance, but not credit card rental car insurance.

Vehicle (Mazda3) Experience Review: Car runs very smoothly. The seats were very comfortable. What I enjoyed the most about the car was that it came with keyless entry, heated leather seats, a decent-sized trunk, dual-zone climate control, and bluetooth hands-free phone & audio. The fuel economy was ok. The red color of the car and the sleek outline of it also made for some great photo-ops

Where We Stayed?

Hotel & AirBnB

Quality Inn Alpine

Breakfast Incl.: Yes
Room Type: Queen Room With Two Queen Beds
Price: $102.86/night
Rating: ★★★★☆

Details & Review

2 Guests | 2 Nights
Review: We stayed here the night we drove in from Houston and the night before we drove back to Houston. We chose to do so because it is closer to Houston. It’s about 90 minutes from the Big Bend National park so we stayed in Terlingua for the days we were hiking in the park because it’s closer (30 mins).
We were limited in choices, and housing (other than camping) like gas in this whole area is quite expensive so Quality Inn best served our purpose. For what it’s supposed to be we recommend it. It is clean, safe and the staff are welcoming. It is also ideally located next to Marfa and Valentine, TX and not too far of a drive from Big Bend should you choose to commute everyday.

AirBnB: Octillo BnB Barndominium

Breakfast Incl.: No
Room Type: One Private Room: 1 queen bed, 1 single bed
Price: $135/night
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Details & Review

3 Guests | 2 Nights
Review: The host and co-host were polite and made sure we were well-taken care of. 
You must provide your own bedsheets. Room comes with 2 beds and both were too firm. Not spacious for 2 people with 2 suitcases. Shower is shared with other barn room guests. Clean towels and washcloths are provided.The Wi-fi speed varied by day. Some days were slow or too slow.Location to the nearest Big Bend entrance, Maverick Junction, was ok, but still farther out and requires leaving early to get a good head start within the park. The drive is 9 miles, 13 minutes. There is a heater in the room. It provided sufficient heating.The area is very quiet. Dogs are on the premises. There are few stores around the area and one gas station with a limited amount of restaurants.

What We Did?

Activities

Lost Mine Trail

Price: FREE w/ National Park Pass
Rating: ★★★★☆

Review

Review: This trail is 4.8 mi roundtrip. Level of difficulty is moderate. The views up top are nice. The hike back down is easier than hiking up. Beware that the main parking lot for this trail is small and gets full quickly.

Note: With my America The Beautiful Pass, entry into all national parks are free for me and the people with me (up to 4).

For Big Bend National Park Fees & Passes Click Here

Grapevine Hill Trail

Price: FREE w/ National Park Pass
Rating: ★★★★★

Review

Review: The drive to the start of this trail is on a gravel road. The trail is 2.2 miles roundtrip. The hike to the Balanced rock is where it becomes very steep and there are no rails for 0.5 miles. The rest of the hike is flat and easy. The overall scenery is nice.

Note: With my America The Beautiful Pass, entry into all national parks are free for me and the people with me (up to 4).

For Big Bend National Park Fees & Passes Click Here

Boquillas (Crossing To Mexico)

Price: $12
Rating: ★★★★★

Review

Review: Boquillas has a population of 200 inhabitants so there isn’t much to do. Winter time is off-peak season. If there isn’t a crowd of tourists, you can expect to spend a minimum of 2 hours roundtrip, which includes crossing by boat, riding a horse/donkey to customs, walking around town, and having a meal

Note: With my America The Beautiful Pass, entry into all national parks are free for me and the people with me (up to 4).

For Big Bend National Park Fees & Passes Click Here

Santa Elena Canyon

Price: FREE w/ National Park Pass
Rating: ★★★★★

Review

Review: In getting to the Santa Elena Canyon you drive the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive which really is beautiful and makes the long commute to Santa Elena worthwhile. At Santa Elena we stopped at the overlook to get a comprehensive view and then did the trail which gets you up close and personal. Best to do the drive on a sunny day. Gorgeous views all the way around! There are several vistas, overlooks, and trails along the way. The Santa Elena trail is easy to moderate. Steep steps hiking up to the canyon but besides that, it is a fairly easy trek. Great spot to take photos. 

Note: With my America The Beautiful Pass, entry into all national parks are free for me and the people with me (up to 4).

For Big Bend National Park Fees & Passes Click Here

FM 170 Scenic Drive

Price: FREE
Rating: ★★★★★

Review

Review: Said to be one of the most scenic drives in the US and we now understand why. This drive is breathtakingly beautiful with so many different terrains and views being discovered along the way.
It’s picturesque and we found ourself stopping multiple times along the way. In drive there close to sunset we saw the sky turn various shades of colors and it is an experience that will stay with us forever. This is the most highly recommended part of our trip. We drove from Terlingua to Marfa on this road and it passes Big Bend Ranch state park and the runs through the Rio Grande. Do yourself a favor and do this drive!

PRADA MARFA

Price: FREE
Rating: ★★★★☆

Review

Review: It’s a fun, cheeky stop to make it. It is a small Prada display in an otherwise quiet road in Valentine, Texas (30 miles from Marfa). It was dark by the time we arrived so our view of it was limited but with the help of the lights in the display, our headlights pointed towards the display and flash our camera was able to still capture some impressive pictures. If you have time in your trip stop here.

Star Gazing At Marfa Lights

Price: FREE
Rating: ★★★★★

Review

Review: We didn’t stay long enough to see the ‘Mystery Marfa Lights’ but the stargazing was more than enough. We have never seen that many stars in the sky, shining that bright and twinkling like magic. We stopped here on our way back from Prada Marfa to Alpine. It’s a quick stop to make and stargaze from the viewing area. This was a great end to an already action-packed day.

StampedTribe Traveler