Big Bend is a hiker's paradise containing the largest expanse of roadless public lands in Texas. More than 150 miles of trails offer opportunities for day hikes or backpacking trips. Elevations range from 1,800 feet along the Rio Grande to 7,832 feet on Emory Peak in the Chisos Mountains. Elevation changes produce an exception variety of plants, animals, and scenic vistas. Generally, hikers can expect a 20°F temperature difference between low and high elevation hiking areas.
Rising 7832' in elevation, the Chisos Mountains preserve a relict forest of oaks, pines, junipers, madrones, and Arizona cypress. There are about twenty miles of trails within the Chisos with excellent year-round hiking opportunities.
Dense stands of reeds and mesquite thickets line the river along much of the park boundary making human access difficult, but providing excellent habitat for wildlife. The best way to enjoy this area is from the river itself, but several short hikes provide access into river canyons or elsewhere along its banks.