big bend nps view

The Big Bend Region

Visit Marfa and explore the breathtaking Big Bend region in Far West Texas where you’ll find many state and national parks nearby to enjoy the Texas mountains.

The Big Bend region in Far West Texas is a majestic place. It’s where the Texas mountains and the Chihuahuan Desert collide. It’s where you can hike in the morning, river raft in the afternoon, and stargaze at night. Here, you forget about the constraints of time, emails and to-dos, and instead are guided by the daily dance of the sun and moon over this large sky.

Consider Marfa your headquarters, where the beds are comfy, the salsa’s spicy, and the margaritas are cold. Just what you’ll want after a long hike, leisure bike ride, or photo safari. There are several West Texas road trips to check out that include favorite state and national parks in Texas.

From Marfa, head to Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park via the River Road, one of Texas' most scenic drives. See Fort Leaton State Historic Site near Presidio, learn about the Chihuahuan Desert at Barton Warnock Environmental Center in Lajitas, and grab souvenirs in Terlingua Ghost Town.

Drive northwest of Marfa, through Van Horn to Guadalupe Mountains National Park and Carlsbad Caverns National Park. First stop is the iconic Prada Marfa. This art installation is the perfect spot to take photographs. Next, head to Van Horn where you'll find the historic Hotel El Capitan, designed by acclaimed architect Henry Trost in 1929. Hike to the tallest point in Texas (Guadalupe Peak) at the Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Or walk its McKittrick Canyon for some of the best fall foliage in Texas. Explore underground at Carlsbad Caverns National Park, where magical cave formations await.

Nearby Fort Davis is a neighboring town full of history, hiking and science to discover. Experience a Solar Viewing and Tour or Star Party at McDonald Observatory (featuring one of the world's largest telescopes). Look for lizards, hummingbirds and cacti along the trails at the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center. Explore the well-preserved Fort Davis National Historic Site, a frontier military post during the Indian Wars. Hike Davis Mountains State Park then go snorkeling or scuba diving at Balmorhea State Park.

"There is a place in Far West Texas where night skies are dark as coal and rivers carve temple -like canyons in ancient limestone. Here, at the end of the road, hundreds of bird species take refuge in a solitary mountain range surrounded by weather-beaten desert. Tenacious cactus bloom in sublime southwestern sun, and diversity of species is the best in the country. This magical place is Big Bend."

- National Park Service