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Big Bend nationwide Park is in a far pocket that southwest Texas ideal on the Mexico border, seven hrs from mountain Antonio and around six hours from El Paso. If you desire to go, you’ve obtained to drive.

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But obtaining there takes you throughroad-tripping country of the epos sort. Long, lonely highways throughexpansive desert landscapes. Decrepit old communities withering far intodust. The views space unforgettable, and also the food is cursed fine.

We began in san Antonio, drove the end toBig bend for two nights, and also then ended in El Paso after ~ making aquick detour as much as White Sands national Monument in new Mexico. Inall, we drove about 1,000 miles and also saw 2 tarantulas. Us ate asmuch mexican food together possible, except for the one time us ate Rudy’sTexas Bar-B-Q.

Tip: It’s hot in Texas. Perform this throughout the cooler season (October – March)

Our Texas Road trip Itinerary

DayOvernightItinerary
TuesdaySan AntonioFly and arrive late.
WednesdaySan AntonioThe Alamo, rent bikes and visit the san Antonio Missions, flow Walk, Dinner in ~ Boudro\"s Texas Bistro
ThursdayTerlinguaBreakfast in ~ Taco Cabana, journey west on I90, having lunch at Rudy\"s BBQ in Del Rio, Sunset in ~ the home windows in large Bend, dinner at the Starlight theater in Terlingua
FridayTerlinguaBig bending exploration, Santa Elena Canyon hike, dinner at La Kiva
SaturdayEl PasoBig bend Ranch State Park, lunch at El Patio in Presidio, Marfa, sunset at White Sands national Monument, El Paso
SundayFly home
Days 1-2: mountain Antonio

First things first: The Alamo. The just thing i knew around the Alamo before visiting was that it doesn’t have actually a basement. Say thanks to you, to pee Wee Herman.

I learned the the Alamo is most famed for the 1836 battle of the Alamo throughout the Texas Revolution, but prior to it became known together the Alamo, it was originally the Mission mountain Antonio de Valero. This particular day the Alamo is just one of several historic Spanish Catholic goals in mountain Antonio that make up the UNESCO san Antonio Missions world Heritage Site.

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You’ll be surprised by the huge andverdant courtyard here, a great spot come escape the sun.

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The san Antonio goals & The Mission Trail

After the Alamo (we will always remember), we rented bicycles native Swell Cycle to bike the end to the other missions on the Mission Trails.

This hike and also bike trail along the san Antonio river connects all five missions in the mountain Antonio area. The trace is paved and has minor ups and downs, and is a 15 mile loop if you want to carry out it all.

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Mission mountain José y san Miguel de Aguayo

Let me explain: The UNESCO site is composed of all five missions, consisting of the Alamo. UNESCO go not regulate the sites themselves – that is just a acknowledgment of their historical significance. The Alamo is managed independently, and also the other four missions are regulated by the nationwide Park company as the San Antonio goals National historical Park. The city of san Antonio manages the Mission Trail that connects all five missions.

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Mission Concepcion
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Mission mountain Jose

As visitors, the best means to obtain on this trail and also see the objectives is by renting a bicycle v Swell Cycle for $13 a day. Your full day pass enables you to choose up and drop off bikes at any kind of of the mountain Antonio B-Station bicycle docks roughly town. Over there are number of B-Station docks along the Mission Trail. We began in downtown san Antonio and rode out as much as Mission san Juan whereby we dropped off our bikes and took a Lyft back to downtown.

Tip: To rent a bike, you’ll need to download your app. Save yourself part time by downloading and install it and also signing up prior to you gain to mountain Antonio.

Also! san Antonio has a ton of electrical scooter rental options. There space so countless strewn about you’ll have to be mindful not to expedition over them. We taken into consideration renting scooters to take on the Mission Trail but it turned out they’re not permitted on the trail due to the fact that they’re motorized vehicles.

The goals themselves were churches built by the Spanish to introduce Catholicism and also Western worths and society to indigenous peoples. The old “let’s teach this heathens our premium ways” thing. Today, these structures are some of the earliest in America and also well worth her time.

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Mission mountain Jose

Back in san Antonio, we had lunch at Mi Tierra, right on the industry Square. It’s a standard San Antonio conventional for mexican food in a colorful and also festive atmosphere, and they’re open 24 hours.

Tip: Mariachis wander with the restaurant playing guitar and also singing because that tips. When we to be there, they asked $10 for a personal song. This is $10 well spent.

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Mariachis at Mi Tierra
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A dining room in ~ Mi Tierra

After lunch us walked the market Squareand observed a neat Frida Kahlo shrine amidst the Mexican handmade stalls.

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Market Square
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A Frida Kahlo shrine in the industry Square

The mountain Antonio flow Walk

The river Walk is a large part of what renders San Antonio such a cool city, and something girlfriend cannot miss if girlfriend visit.

Descend native street level under to thepedestrian walkways lining the san Antonio River, where shops,resaurants and also gorgeous trees line the water. You might spend hourshere wandering around, watching the tour watercrafts go by, and also drinkingmargaritas al fresco.

We had dinner at Boudro’s top top the river Walk, i m sorry is famous for your tableside guacamole and prickly pear margaritas.

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The mountain Antonio flow Walk
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Looking under at the river WalkDay 3: drive to large Bend via Del Rio, Terlingua

If you do this drive, you’ll want to choose the contempt slower however far more interesting Highway 90 path to big Bend. Rather of the monotonous federal government 10, you’ll drive v a couple of small towns and also get to protect against in Del Rio for having lunch at Rudy’s. This is where you can indulge in part Texas barbecue through the locals.

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Rudy’s Bar-B-Q

You’ll obtain to large Bend national Park in the afternoon, simply in time for the best light the the day. The scenery is truly spectacular below – towering mountains and also canyons, and fascinating desert flora and also fauna.

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Driving huge Bend
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Just ~ passing with the enntrance gate gate, us came throughout our very first surprise fauna, a huge brown tarantula moseying across the road. I had actually no idea I can expect to see tarantulas below so this to be an awesome surprise. We quit to inspect an ext closely and take some photos.

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We drove approximately Chisos basin Lodge where we to walk the short home window View follow to capture the sunset.

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The Window
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Leaving large Bend because that Terlingua

Then we continued on come Terlingua whereby we’d be continuing to be at large Bend holiday Hotel for the following two nights. Located in Terlingua Ghost Town, this hotel (more that a motel or inn) is in the same facility as the Terlingua trade Post and the Starlight Theatre Restaurant & Saloon, so the was simple walk end to dinner.

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Our room, the “Uh Clem’s Room” in ~ the huge Bend vacation Hotel
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The Starlight is wherein it’s at on aThursday night in Terlingua. We had actually to wait for a table exterior wherethey had some amazing seating, and also once inside the atmosphere wasfun and buzzy. This seems to it is in a famous place v locals together wellas out-of-towners. Food was good, albeit a small overpriced, but youwon’t desire to miss this ar while you’re in town.

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Waiting for our table outside the Starlight
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Inside the StarlightDay 4: Exploring huge Bend

We had actually plans to hike the lost Mine trail today, but the weather did no cooperate at all. The trail, i beg your pardon is in the mountains, was totally fogged out and also it was raining, therefore we determined to just take our time exploring the remainder of the park.

We drove the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive and some other paved and also unpaved roads in the park, preventing wherever we want to take it photos or discover a small more.

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Along Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive
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Walking come the Sam nail Ranch site off the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive

We found another tarantula!

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These small yellow flower carpeted some areas of the park and also they smelled prefer lemons.
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On the side of the road in huge Bend

We stumbled upon a curious vision – a bee nest huddling together in a cluster. Transforms out they do this to save themselves warm.

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Bees staying warm in a cluster

At Santa Elena Canyon, the weather to be not poor so we made decision to hike the follow here. It’s a quick 1.7 miles round trip, yet you have to ford Terlingua Creek to acquire to the trail.

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Fording Terlingua Creek

Lucky for united state the weather was maintaining a most folks the end of the park so we had the trail mostly to ourselves.

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Looking earlier toward the trailhead. You can see some folks on the beach whereby you should start crossing the creek.
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This evening, instead of going ago to the Starlight, we chose to shot something different, for this reason we finished up a La Kiva, i m sorry turned out to it is in a great choice. This is a restaurant and bar that has actually a cavernous feel to it. Us ordered pizza and watched the scene – seemed prefer most people knew each other. Many old folks and young civilization alike. A male played a bunch of Tom petty covers and we appreciated the cheap beer.

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La KivaDay 5: huge Bend Ranch State Park, Marfa, Valentine, and also White Sands national Monument

On Saturday morning us woke up early and also hit the road. I want to drive FM170 which complies with the Rio Grande 114 miles through huge Bend Ranch State Park to Presideo. It to be fascinating to it is in on this road throughout the height of the border wall surface debate. This is a fiercely beautiful, remote and also mountainous landscape. Looking in ~ it v my own eyes make me understand exactly how unrealistic building a wall here would certainly be.

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FM170
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Standing top top the American next of the Rio Grande, looking throughout to Mexico
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Picnic shelters at huge Bend Ranch State Park
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Looking out over Mexico
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Hiking in a canyon at big Bend Ranch State Park

In Presideo we had lunch in ~ an unassuming little cafe called The Oasis, where we had actually delicious and cheap homemade mexico fare.

Then we gained on path 67 heading northuntil we got to Marfa whereby we stopped at the renowned Marfa Prada, anart installation on path 90.

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The Marfa Prada
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More art near Marfa

Then, around halfway come Valentine we came across what looked favor a blimp. It turned out to it is in the Marfa Tethered Aerostat Radar System, which is provided for monitoring on the US-Mexico border.

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Marfa TARS

Once us roll into Valentine, us slowdown to take it a closer look. It’s an pure postcard because that a westTexas town in decline. Faded and boarded up storefronts line thehighway, and also down residential highways we check out rusting cars overtakenby the brush, dogs tied increase in dusty yards, empty residences next come onesstill inhabited by steadfast inhabitants still hanging on.

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Valentine, TX
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In van Horn we obtain on federal government 10 and push northwest into El Paso, then proceed north over the new Mexico border. It may seem choose a stretch however it’s just an hour and a half from El Paso and I knew that this would be the the next we’d likely be because that a long time.

White Sands national Monument is a surreal landscape. Glowing white gypsum dunefields stretch because that miles. As soon as the sunlight is low, that casts shadows that bring out undulating patterns in the sand made by the wind.

We came down on White Sands in ~ 4 pm. The monument closes approximately sunset, so us had around two hours to experience the park. We drove every the means to the backcountry camping trail, i beg your pardon loops for 2 miles v the dunes. Us hiked the whole trail and also had enough time to stop and explore before the park closed in ~ 6.

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Sledding ~ above the dunes at White Sands
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Back in El Paso, we had actually dinner at a small Mexican restaurant near our hotel, and also early the following morning we boarded our flight earlier to Philly.

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Thanks for reading! please comment below if friend have any type of questions or Texas road trip tips.