Wanderlust UK – September 2019

(Nancy Kaufman) #1
114 wanderlust.co.ukSeptember 2019

DURATION: 37 days
ROUTE: Big Bend National Park
• Terlingua Ghost Town • Marfa
WHY GO? To experience the
majesty of Texas’ mountains
and deserts, either as an
outdoor adventurer or in the
comfort of a lodge and vehicle.
The most convenient airports
are Midland and El Paso, which
are, respectively, three and ‡ive
hours’ drive from Big Bend NP.
Hire a car at the airport.

The immense appeal of this
region’s wide-open spaces
draws many people, and its dark
skies are quite a sight. Nowhere
is this better exempli‡ied than in
Big Bend National Park, which
lies on the Mexico border.
The park features nearly
250km of trails, from short loops
to rugged backcountry treks
with major elevation increases.
Some of the highlights are
the dramatic 450m-high cliŽ
walls of Santa Elena Canyon
and the massive Casa Grande
formation, a mesmerising

beacon of the Chisos Basin area.
The Santa Elena Canyon Trail
(2.7km) is a manageable starting
point, while the South Rim Trail
(up to 23km) is a wild epic.
Another great way to see it is
by paddling the Rio Grande, with
options ranging from quiet
canoe rides to whitewater rafting
via guided trips at Big Bend River
Tours (bigbendrivertours.com).
Camping is also available at three
sites: the mountainous Chisos
Basin, the lower-level Rio Grande
Village and Cottonwood.
Just a short drive away is the
dusty-yet-charming Terlingua
Ghost Town, a small desert
village with surprisingly modern
lodging and a historic cemetery.
About 175km north also lies the
community of Marfa. Artists and
art lovers ‡lock here for the quirky
gallery scene, restaurants and
historic architecture. Lucky
travellers will see the mysterious
Marfa Lights – ethereal bouncing
orange orbs with no apparent
source, aside from theories
claiming that they’re UFOsor
Native American spirits.

Big Bend region

Best for: Adventure, nature & solace

Learning curve
Kayaking the Rio
Grande through Big
Bend NP is one of the
best ways to explore
its grandeur; (left)
admiring some of
the rock formations
found up in the
Grapevine Hills

Digital-Mapping.co.uk; Getty Images; Alamy





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