Plan A Field Trip

Birdwalk at Rio Grande Village

Birdwalk at Rio Grande Village

NPS Photo/Cookie Ballou


Self Guided Field Trips

The dynamic Chihuahuan Desert ecosystem of the Big Bend provides the perfect outdoor classroom for field studies. Schools, youth organizations, clubs and social groups can all enjoy field trips to Big Bend. Self-guided field trips are the easiest way for your group to experience Big Bend—no ranger required! There are a number of locations in Big Bend National Park where an adult can safely guide their own field trip. Don't forget that educational groups can apply for a entrance fee waiver. Entrance to the park is free for groups from a formal accredited educational institution.


Self Guided Field Trip Options

  • View the park film "Big Bend: Life on the Edge." Shown on request at the Panther Junction Visitor Center (22 minutes; theater can accommodate 35 people)
  • Visit Dugout Wells, 6 miles east of Panther Junction. Natural and cultural histories are evident there. The Chihuahuan Desert Nature Trail, 0.5 mile round trip, showcases common desert plants like prickly pear cactus and ocotillo. A vault toilet and picnic tables are available.
  • Visit the historic Langford Hot Springs and the Rio Grande Village Nature Trail.
  • Visit the Chisos Basin Visitor Center to view the mountain lion exhibit or hike one of the many mountain trails, including the Lost Mine, Window, or Basin Loop trails.
  • Drive the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive, 13 miles west of Panther Junction. This route features many wayside exhibits, exceptional views of the park's geologic attributes, the Castolon Historic District, and Santa Elena Canyon. The Lower Burro Mesa Pouroff and Tuff Canyon trails are along this road.

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