After exploring Rio Grande Village, we stopped at the Boquillas Canyon Overlook on the way to hike the Boquillas Canyon Trail — our last hike at Big Bend National Park.
The massive cliffs of the Sierra del Carmen appear unyielding, yet the Rio Grande has carved a gorge 1,300 feet deep directly through the escarpment.
The Rio Grande established its present course on basin-filling sediments that covered the rocks and faults we see exposed to day. The river eroded through the surface layers and cut steep-sided canyons in the more resistant Lower Cretaceous limestones. Today you can see those ancient limestone formations exposed in the canyon walls.
Boquillas Canyon is so narrow that from the Scenic Overlook the entrance is almost invisible — you really have to look for it! In the opposite direction, you can see the Rio Grande and the village of Boquillas Del Carmen, Mexico.
If you’re there at the right time, you may also find a collection of handmade crafts arranged on a large rock at the overlook. Each one has the price handwritten on it and a plastic container sits on the ground nearby in case you want one. The crafts are left by residents of the Mexican village and use the honor system.
One mile down the road, the Boquillas Canyon Trail leads to the canyon entrance. Beside the water, between towering walls, you can see and hear how water acts as a liquid rasp, grinding the gorge deeper with tons of silt and sand.
Know Before You Go
About the Boquillas Canyon Overlook:
- The Boquillas Canyon Overlook is located near the Rio Grande Village and Visitor Center in Big Bend National Park.
- There no restrooms at the overlook, but there is a pit toilet at the Boquillas Canyon Trailhead and flush restrooms are available at the Visitor Center.
- The Rio Grande creates a distinct environment in Big Bend National Park that is home to countless bird species and many desert animals. Several river hikes provide access into river canyons and elsewhere along its banks.
- Rio Grande Village is at 1,850 feet elevation and temperatures are cooler here than in other parts of the park during colder months. Temperatures from April to September can easily exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
About Big Bend National Park:
- Big Bend National Park is located in Brewster County, southwest Texas.
- The name Big Bend refers to the great U-turn the Rio Grande makes in Southwest Texas. The Rio Grande defines the park’s southern boundary for 118 miles.
- Park entrances are open 24 hours daily, all year and have variable seasons and hours.
- Admission fees are valid for seven days and are $30/vehicle, $25/motorcycle, $15/individual/bicyclist/pedestrian.
- There are five Visitor Centers in Big Bend National Park: Panther Junction, Chisos Basin, Castolon, Persimmon Gap, and Rio Grande Village.
- Download the Big Bend National Park maps.
- There are three developed campgrounds in the park: the Chisos Basin, Rio Grande Village, and Cottonwood campgrounds. Sites are first come, first-served, although a limited number of campsites in Rio Grande Village and the Chisos Basin campgrounds are reservable.
- Convenience stores are available and open year-round at Rio Grande Village, the Chisos Basin, and in the historic La Harmonia store at Castolon.
- Gas stations are located at Panther Junction and Rio Grande Village, and outside the park in Study Butte and Stillwell’s Ranch. Diesel is available at Panther Junction and in Study Butte.
- Pets are not allowed on trails, off roads, or on the river. Your pet can only go where your car can go and must be on a leash no longer than six feet in length or in a cage at all times. Pet etiquette and park regulations require that you always clean up after your pet and dispose of waste in trash receptacles.