Santa Elena Canyon / Shutterstock Image

Santa Elena Canyon / Shutterstock Image

Know Before You Go, Big Bend National Park


A scenic driving tour through Big Bend National Park showcasing its breathtaking natural beauty.

Start Planning!

You’re about to go on an epic adventure at Big Bend National Park! Here’s what you need to know before you go.

  • The tour has two starting points:
    • Terlingua, TX, near Gallery Chisos on Route 118, outside Maverick Junction entrance gate, and
    • Persimmon Gap Entrance Gate, north of the park
  • The tour takes between 1-2 days to complete.
  • The park is open 24/7.
  • $30 entrance fee per car, valid for 7 days. Credit or debit card only.

Budgeting & Hours of Operation

A stunning view of Big Bend National Park's vast landscape and towering cliffs.Shutterstock Image

How much you spend truly depends on what you do along the tour route, but here’s a breakdown of some costs.


Entry to the park costs $30 per car - all stops, aside from Boquillas Crossing are included in the park entry fee.
Boquillas Crossing - Modest fee to cross and enter the protected area, and another fee for optional transportation to the village.

Hours of Operation

  • Park Hours:
    • Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Castolon:
    • Visitor Center:
      • Open 10 am-4 pm November-April.
    • Store:
      • Open: 10 am-5 pm daily year-round.
  • Chisos Basin:
    • Visitor Center:
      • Open: 8:30 am-4 pm daily (closed for lunch).
    • Store:
      • Open: 8:30 am-6 pm daily.
    • Lodge Restaurant:
      • Open: 7 am-8 pm daily (closed 10 am- noon).
  • Panther Junction Visitor Center:
    • Open: 8:30 am-5 pm daily.
  • Rio Grande Village Visitor Center:
    • Open: 10 am-4:30 pm daily, November-April (closed for lunch).
  • Boquillas Crossing:
    • Open:
      • Wed-Sun: 9 am-4 pm November-April.
      • Fri-Mon: 9 am-4 pm May-October.

Get Packing!

A hiker walking on a mountain trail with scenic views, surrounded by the majestic beauty of Big Bend.Shutterstock Image

​​Here’s our packing list for this tour. It may seem a little long, but remember, what you bring depends on the activities you choose to do for the day.

  • Swimsuit for the hot springs and other water activities
  • Changes of clothes to cross the river for Santa Elena Canyon
  • Passport for the Port of Entry to Mexico
  • Cash (small bills) and a credit card
  • Canteen/refillable water bottle - one gallon of water per person, per day
  • Cooler
  • Hiking shoes and clothes
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat
  • First Aid Kit
  • Bug spray
  • Salty snacks/fruits/nuts
  • Phone charger/mount

Best Time to Visit

A stunning view of Big Bend National Park's vast landscape with towering cliffs and a winding river.Shutterstock Image

October through April is the high season at Big Bend when the climate is much cooler. The summer can be unbearably hot, which creates some safety concerns.

Safety Information

Summer temperatures can easily surpass 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Hikes should only be attempted in the morning, and visitors should carry plenty of water and snacks.

Border patrol can be spotted within the park, which is located right on the border with Mexico. Though illegal crossings are rare in this remote area, it’s something to be cognizant of.

Leave No Trace

A jeep driving down a road at sunset on Big Bend Road.Shutterstock Image

While exploring, we encourage you to abide by the leave-no-trace principles. Embrace the outdoors responsibly with our commitment to preserving natural wonders.

Respect wildlife habitats, minimize your footprint, and carry out memories, not waste.

By following Leave No Trace principles, you contribute to the longevity and beauty of our planet's most stunning landscapes.

Like this article? Share it on Pinterest!

A stunning view of Big Bend National Park's vast landscape and towering cliffs.

Ready to take the tour? Check out Shaka Guide's Big Bend National Park Tour!

We hope that we’ve given you all the information you need to make the most of your day. Your vacation is extremely important to us so if you have any questions feel free to reach out at aloha@shakaguide.com.

For more detailed information to help you plan, check out our Big Bend National Park Itinerary.


Best Things To Do in Big Bend National Park


shaka guide app qr code

Download The Shaka Guide App

Get The
Shaka Guide App