Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Hike famous Rio Grande at Big Bend N.P.

The Rio Grande in Boquillas Canyon.
Among the best ways to see Big Bend National Park’s major sights is via a day hike. Though the park is vast, three short trails will allow you to enjoy the park’s major highlights – the Rio Grande River, some of America's darkest skies, and a historic Native American route.

Rio Grande
The Rio Grande stands as the international border between the United States and Mexico for more than a thousand miles. About a tenth of that border is within the national park boundaries. The Boquillos Canyon Trail near Rio Grande Village allows day hikers to wade into the river and to enjoy some of the intriguing landscape the waterway has carve through the Chihuahuan Desert.

Starry, starry night
Designated an “International Dark Sky Park,” Big Bend boasts among the darkest measured skies of the continental United States. Some nights, the Milky Way band is starkly visible. The Window View Trail in the Chisos Basin marks a great spot for some stargazing.

Great Comanche Trail
During the mid-1800s, Comanche and Kiowa Indians annually traveled this Great Plains-Mexico route, usually on raids. One of those fords over the Rio Grande is the Grand Indian Crossing. The same path can be hiked today on the 1.4-mile (one way) jeep trail heading south to Solis Campground, just upstream from Mariscal Canyon; be forewarned that upon leaving the paved highway, a four-wheel drive vehicle is needed.

Learn about other great national park day hiking trails in my Best Sights to See at America’s National Parks guidebook.