• Sierra del Carmen

    Big Bend

    National Park Texas

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • Extreme Water Shortage

    Extreme water shortage throughout park. Visitors are limited to 5 gallons per day, and are encouraged to conserve further when possible. Please consider bringing your own water to the park.

Hot Springs / Geothermal Areas

Hot Springs
Hot Springs
NPS Photo/Cookie Ballou
 

Along a stretch beginning upstream of Rio Grande Village, a series of thermal springs emerge adjacent to the Rio Grande. All of the hot springs in this region are believed to be related to normal faults. These Basin and Range type faults formed between 18 and 23 million years ago. Today, groundwater circulating deep in the earth becomes heated before it returns to the surface as hot springs.

The Langford Hot Springs

The most famous of the thermal features along the Big Bend of the Rio Grande is the Langford Hot Springs. Located where Tornillo Creek enters the Rio Grande, some four miles upriver from Boquillas Canyon and the Mexican village of Boquillas. The natural springs at the site are known as Boquillas Hot Springs. Boquillas is Spanish for "little mouths" and refers to the many small streams or arroyos that drain this part of the Sierra del Carmen range and flow into the Rio Grande. Later, when the springs were promoted for their health benefits, the settlement and spa resort there was called Hot Springs, and a post office by that name was established at the site in July 1914. Although there are several other small hot springs in the area, these larger and more accessible springs are the best known.

The temperature of the springwater, which is heated geothermally, is 105°F year-round; the water contains calcium carbonate, calcium sulfate, sodium sulfate, sodium chloride, and lithium. The springs' flow rate in 1936 was 250,000 gallons a day, but more recent measurements show a decrease.

Did You Know?

1855 map of the Big Bend region

First Lieutenant William H. C. Whiting, leader of the first topographical survey through Texas in 1849 is credited as being the first to use the name "Big Bend" in reference to the distinctive curve of the Rio Grande. More...