Nothing is a more iconic Texas landmark than Big Bend National Park. Although summer months in the West Texas desert bring scorching temperatures, October-April weather provides an excellent time for Texas families to get outside. Big Bend lives up to its name with 1,252 square miles of wide open spaces. In all this land are many different elements: from canyons, rivers, and dessert, to mountains, forests, and rock formations, this vast corner of our state is one you won’t want to miss out on. While Big Bend has many different trails, we’ve compiled our favorite family-friendly trails for the next time you take your little ones on an adventure!
Santa Elena Canyon
This canyon trail offers one of the most stunning views in the park while offering an easy and accessible trail, perfect for families. This trail goes along the Rio Grande within stunning canyon walls, and a lot of it is paved. Please keep in mind that you may have to cross a small portion of the river in order to reach the trail! There are also picnic tables at the trail head, making this a great spot for lunch as well. This easy yet stunning hike is one of our favorites for families with kids of all ages.
The Window Trail is another iconic Big Bend view. With it’s trailhead starting in the Chisos Mountains, it goes downhill all the way there until it reaches a pour off between two cliffs with a view of the vast desert below, giving it it’s iconic name, The Window. While the trail is downhill all the way there, this of course means that it will be uphill all the way back, so plan accordingly. This trail may take 2-4 hours depending on your family, and is probably best for older kids. This trail is mostly in the shade, which is great to stay out of the afternoon sun. The incredible views on this trail make it 100% worth it!
Window View Trail
Not ready for The Window Trail? Try the Window View Trail! This 0.4 mile hike is paved all the way and offers amazing views of the Chisos Mountains and the valley below. This trail is stroller accessible and is perfect for a quick stroll with toddlers.
Balanced Rock is an incredible view of a massive boulder that balances on the shoulders of two other rocks. While the hike is fairly easy, the drive there may not be, so please plan accordingly. While the main roads in the park are paved, the road to this trail head is incredibly bumpy. However, the stunning views that this trail offers are well worth it. This trail is great for elementary-aged kids or older. Most of the trail is fairly level, with a steeper incline only at the end of the trail to see the rock. Overall, the drive and the hike is well worth it to see this iconic view!
These are just a few of the family-friendly trails that Big Bend has to offer, and there are many more! West Texas is a beautiful place that is well-worth visiting. The wide-open plains, jagged mountains, and sky full of stars is something you won’t want your family to miss out on. Whether you tent camp, RV, or stay in the park’s comfortable lodges, Big Bend has something for everyone. Above all, enjoy the outdoors with your kiddos! They’ll remember it for years to come. For more information on the park, see visitbigbend.com.