Our last day in Big Bend we went to Santa Elena Canyon! This was really cool to see, again it’s right on the border of the United States and Mexico.
The kids loved playing in the river and skipping rocks! The weather also happened to be perfect this day! While playing in the river I saw something move out of the corner on my eye and realized it was a SNAKE.
That thing was pretty big and was probably right next to me and I didn’t even notice it haha. Thankfully it just slithered away across the river.
There’s a trail that follows along the edge of the canyon here too. You’ll get a bit wet so it’s a good place to bring river shoes if you have any.
That’s a couple pictures from the walk back, the views were awesome!
The kids played a bit more in the water and I took a ton of photos of the same view apparently lol. Afterwards we drove to a near by rangers station and ate lunch on their picnic table and then the kids turned in their Jr. Rangers packets and got a badge a patch! Definitely stop by one of the stations and pick up an activity book if you have kids along with you! Later in the evening we went back to the Rio Grande Hot Springs Trail and swim in the hot springs and river. It was a nice relaxing way to end our trip! We had such a great time on our first camping trip and can’t wait to do it again some time. If you have any questions about visiting Big Bend comment below!!
We started off day two with an early wake up and drive to Far Flung Adventures to canoe down the Rio Grande! This was one of the top things we wanted to do during our trip and it didn’t disappoint! We did a half day trip through Far Flung and it was so much fun. The kids LOVED it and they all said it was their favorite part of the trip as well. It’s a bit pricey, honestly everything is pricey when you have a lot of kids lol, but is definitely worth it if you can swing it.
Getting pictures while canoeing by myself with an 11 year old was not the easiest task lol. As soon as I’d pull out my camera from the dry bag, inevitably we’d be heading right towards the banks! But I’m glad I grabbed a couple, the scenery was awesome. The United States is on the left and Mexico is on the right, we canoed right down the border!
We stopped about half way through and took a quick snack break. We stopped on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande, so the kids can officially say they’ve been to Mexico!
Loved, loved it! Even got someone to take a picture of all of us…
We ate lunch in Terlingua which is a tiny tiny town outside Big Bend and then headed to the Balanced Rock trail. We read that it was only 1.2 miles (meaning 2.4 there and back) and we figured it’d be a nice and easy hike with the kids.
These little guys were everywhere during this hike!
3/4 of the hike is flat and then the last 1/4 mile you’re hiking up the mountain to get to the balanced rock. I’m not sure if we’re just super out of shape but this hike for sure felt longer than 1.2 miles lol. I figured it’d take us about an hour total there and back. Not so much…. It took us around 2 1/2 hours! We of course had little kids with us and stopped for a snack at the top plus a couple water breaks but after this hike I knew we probably didn’t have a 3/4 miler in our future this trip haha. Maybe next time 😉
Later that evening we drove over to the Rio Grande Village Nature Trail. This was a great easy hike to do with the kids and ended up being one of my favorite views from the whole trip! I didn’t get many photos this evening but here’s the sunset view!! All the heart eyes on this one!
Big Bend was even prettier than I thought it would be! The mountains are beautiful and we really loved our trip. We camped out at the Chisos Mountain campground which I had made reservations for about 4 months prior. This campground only takes reservations part of the year, so keep that in mind if you’re planning a trip there yourself. Big Bend is HUGE, like seriously it could take you almost 2 hours to drive across the whole thing. The Chisos Mountain campground is right in the middle and we definitely recommended camping there if possible. The Rio Grande Village campground is at the far east end of the park and you will be driving a very long way to a large majority of the sites and hikes. Even from the Chisos Mountain campgrounds we would have to drive 45+ minutes to the various hikes.
Right down in the middle is where we camped! I didn’t know how “in the mountains” we would be til we got there! We were literally right in the mountains and it was awesome.
The first day we arrived in the afternoon, set up camp and started dinner right away. Having never camped before I was a bit worried about cooking solely on a grill (no campfires are allowed at Big Bend!) We tried to bring as easy of meals as we could and thankfully they were all delicious and everyone was happy!
That evening we went to the Hot Springs Trail which was a nice easy trail to start with. We didn’t swim this evening but ended up going there our last night as well and swimming in the hot springs and the Roi Grande and it was so refreshing! Definitely a nice easy trail to head to if you have children!
At the start of the trail we saw these trinkets for sell that are from people across the border! So crazy! They “hide out” in a little hut right across the river and I guess come over every now and then to collect the cash. I’m sure the rangers don’t really want you to buy from them but the kids thought they were so cool and we did end up getting a couple on out last visit.
Still working through the rest of the photos but I’ll be back with more soon!