We did a lot of research for the trip. The main resource of reference was the website of national park services, Texas map, Texas Wildlife and Park website. The trip was actually divided into three parts: one stop at the McDonald Observatory on the way to Big Bend, Big Bend National Park, and a stop at Monahans Sand Hill State Park on the way home. The whole trip took 8 days including the two days on the road.
Basic items that must have:
Jackets, long pants, swimming trunk/suit; bug repellents, first aid, sun screen; flash lights, camping gears, personal identifications (because big bend is at international border).
Day 1: Drive from Plano, TX to Fort Davis, TX
McDonald Observatory Star Party at 7:00pm. For current star party information, please check the observatory website.
Day 2: Drive from Fort Davis to Big Bend National Park
Arrive Rio Grande Village around Noon. Set up tents.
Hiking at Boquillas Canyon Trail (1.4mile round trip), then visit hot springs
View sunset at the end of Rio Grande Nature Trail - best place to view sunset at Big Bend
Day 3: Move to Chisos Mountain lodge
Breakfast and uninstall tents
The window trail ( 4 mile round trip) - This trail begins from the Basin Campground near site #52. This trail is unique in Big Bend in that it descends 800 feet from the trail head for two miles. Hikers then must gradually ascend on the way back. At the end of the trail is the "window"...the pour-off that drains the entire Chisos Basin. It is a narrow slot in the canyon wall at the top of a 100 foot dropoff.
Check in at Chisos Mountain Lodge
Day 4: Santa Elena Canyon River tour
A full day event - the outfitter we chose was in Terlingua - outside Big Bend National Park
Day 5: Ross Maxwell Scenic Dr and Cat Tail Falls Trail
Cat Trail Falls end at a peak - view from there is gorgeous.
Check nps.gov for details about other choices of trails - there are many excellent trails to chose from
Day 6: Camping at Chisos Mountain Basin
Visit west side of Big Bend - Cottonwood area - beautiful scenic drive, access to the mouth to Santa Elena Canyon
Day 7: Leave Big Bend for Monahans Sand Hill State Park
Monahans Sandhills State Park consists of 3840 acres of sand dunes, some up to 70 feet high.
Activities: Visit museum, Sand Sledding
Day 8: Go home
Note: We had great experience at Big Bend. Big Bend is MUST visit place if you are interested in outdoor activities or wilderness.