PYOA ADVENTURE SERIES – YURT CAMPING IN BIG BEND
Big Bend is one of the largest, most remote, and as an added bonus one of the least-visited national parks in the contiguous United States. While it lacks five star restaurants and hotels in its surrounding areas, it more than makes up for it in natural splendor. There’s a multitude of wonderful hikes, activities, and sights within its 801,163 acres. Finding accommodations could be challenging if you like a standard hotel, but if you’re like me and want to count your accommodation as part of the adventure, then yurt camping in the desert is an excellent choice.
Whether you’re in for rafting, floating, or going at it by foot, there’s something for everyone in Big Bend. Located in the southwest corner of the Texas/Mexico border along the Rio Grande, Big Bend is more than just a park in the desert. Altitudes range from about 1,800 feet along the river to Emory Peak in the Chisos Mountains at 7,832 feet, giving way to exceptional diversities in plant and animal habitats. In the same day, you can spot a road runner crossing your path on a scenic drive or a black bear on a hike through the Chisos Mountains. And with activities for everyone, it makes a perfect destination for thrill seekers and families alike.
So about this yurt…
When visiting in spring, temperatures can dip into the 30s-40s, with day time temperatures in the 70s (summer temps can soar above 100 making it a less desirable time to go). While yurt camping seems like a challenge with such fluctuating temps, these yurts can accommodate cold nights as they are equipped with heating blankets and a good sized space heater. You can relax around the provided fire pits at night and gaze at the stars. And with the park being a short drive, it’s the perfect location for your Big Bend adventure.
Below I’ve provided an outline of some best hikes/sights/activities Big Bend has to offer. Stay for a weekend or make a longer trip and visit the surrounding areas. Or better yet, make it a national parks trip and visit Guadalupe Mountains National Park (250 miles away) and Carlsbad Caverns (260 miles away). Either way, you won’t want to miss this adventure.
Top 5 Sights:
- Chisos Mountains
- Rio Grande River
- Chihuahuan Desert
- Big Ben Ranch State Park (just west of the Big Bend National Park)
- Terlingua Historic District
Top 5 Hikes:
Lost Mine Trail:
Moderate/Hard | 4.8 miles r/t | 1,100’ elevation gain
Moderate | 4.4 miles r/t | 950’ elevation gain
Balanced Rock Trail:
Easy | 1.9 miles r/t | 230’ elevation gain
Santa Elena Canyon Trail:
Easy | 1.2 miles r/t | 610’ elevation gain
Easy | 1.2 miles r/t | 230’ elevation gain
- Take a rafting trip on the Rio Grande – half day to multi day tours – trips for beginners or experts
- Bicycle on the beautiful Ross Maxwell Scenic Road
- Take a drive into the mountains via Chisos Basin Road
- Take a dip in the hot springs historic district
- Go off-roading on a primitive park road
- Visit the Mexican village of Boquillas for shopping and dining (passport required)
Small Airports near Big Bend:
Terlingua Ranch Airport 1E2
- (ICAO: #K1E2 | Alpine Texas USA)
- LAT 29°27’00.7″N LON 103°23’54.6″W (29.450194,-103.398511)
- Elevation: 3769′ (1149m)
- Maximum Runway Length: 4700′ (1433m)
- CTAF: 122.900; Runway 2/20 (4700′ x 80′)
- Surface: Gravel/Dirt (good condition)
Big Bend Ranch State Park Airport
- FAA Identifier: 3T9
- Lat/long: 29-28-15.9000N 103-56-11.1000W
- 29-28.265000N 103-56.185000W
- Elevation: 4250’ (1295 m)
- Variation: 09E (1985)
- Surface: asphalt (good condition)
- Runway dimensions: 5500 x 80 ft. (676 x 24 m)
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