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Big Bend National Park

The park in December

I've always wanted to visit, but it looks like Dec. between the holidays is the available time. No flowers, cold, colder on hikes with elevations. Makes me wonder if I should wait till spring, regardless of availability to go right now. I'd appreciate opinions.

6 Answers

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Marina

There are still things to do there in December. You can hike during the day without much issue. Even into the Chisos and Emory Peak, the chances the trails will be covered by snow are actually relatively slim, just because, for one, it's the desert, and they get a lot of precipitation at any elevation. Then there are other activities, like Castolon, Santa Elena Canyon, the basin.
But it will definitely be too cold to camp and there's only one hotel inside the park with the next nearest hotel about 20 miles from the center of the park.
Make sure you realize just how much of a trip Big Bend really is. It's a long, long way from anywhere. When I've gone, I've typically stayed in Alpine, and it's over an hour one-way.

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Richmond

I wait to spring, or even early summer. why go somewhere that is half full. have you been to the beach in the winter time when all things were closed up? why waste the time when you can enjoy it in season. Dec holidays have many outdoor celebrations in and around big cities..go out and enjoy the sights of Christmas. Unless you like the cold and snow hikes that are pleasent, Try Utah or lake Tahoe area, beautiful. cheers Tommy x

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Lents

Depends also on your reasons for visiting. That particular national park is known as a key point in a lot of bird migrations, which won't be happening in December. Depending on the time of year and the type of year, when you visit in spring may be a better time to see everything pass through, if it is one of the items you wish to see.

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Columbus

Well, here's a little tip for you since you want to travel to many different destinations for a hike of even camping right? One of my techniques for this is not really go to the usual destinations but look for vacant land for sale from or camping land so as to really be on a real adventure. You should try it.

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Marina

Yeah, trespassing's pretty fun. Good idea if you have a hobby collecting bullets.

The parks in Utah will be more snowed in than anything at Big Bend.
Also, as soon as it gets warm in about March, the park is swarmed with tourists. You'd think such an isolated park wouldn't be, but that's just it's busiest season. The campgrounds fill up (except for the backcountry ones), as does the hotel. Summer is also pretty dead, but the heat at that time of year makes it even harder to do things outdoors. When I was much younger, I went out there in July and hiked the Lost Mine Trail to the end. I don't think I could do that now.

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Philadelphia

I've been there a couple of dozen times over the years in every month and have enjoyed camping in December. Yes it was cold in the Chisos but you can camp down by the Rio Grande where its warmer. It can actually be warm during the day with the sun shining but of course you never know until you are there. It's quiet without too many people so if you have the time now and don't mind colder weather then I suggest doing it. There is also a motel in the Chisos if you don't want to camp and the restaurant and store there are open. Saying all this spring is even better as long as you avoid spring break.
I still miss taking the boat across the river to Boquillas for burritos and a cold beer.

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