1 day Itinerary from NPS.
Big Bend is too big to see in a single day, but a great one-day trip to the park might include a trip down the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive and a visit to the Chisos Basin.
The Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive will give you fantastic views of the Chihuahuan Desert landscape and will lead you to the Rio Grande. There are scenic overlooks and exhibits along the way, and the short walks to Sam Nail Ranch and Homer Wilson Ranch and a visit to the Castolon Historic District will give you a glimpse into Big Bend’s past.
A highlight of the trip is the short walk into Santa Elena Canyon—one of Big Bend’s most scenic spots. Drive 8 miles west from Castolon to the end of the road. You may return to the main road by returning on the Ross Maxwell Drive or on the Old Maverick Road, a 13-mile gravel road linking the Ross Maxwell Drive to the Maverick Entrance. Be sure to check on road conditions first.
In the Chisos Mountains, walk the 0.3-mile Window View Trail to get a feel for the mountain scenery. If time allows you might consider hiking the Window Trail or Lost Mine Trail for a closer look at Big Bend’s mountain landscapes. The Fossil Discovery Exhibit located 8 miles north of Panther Junction is another park highlight that could easily fit into a one-day visit.