Adventures in Big Bend (Part 1)

It’s hard to believe our trip to Big Bend National Park was only a week and a half ago. It already feels like so much more time has passed since we we’re off the beaten path and “away from it all.”

I’ve mentioned many times before on this little blog of mine that I absolutely love to go camping. (Fashion blogger and all, I know.) Living in Houston, the nearby camping options aren’t quite what we’re used to, having lived just 30 minutes from the Smokys in Tennessee, we were spoiled.

When Patrick and I realized that Big Bend was only 8 hours from Houston, the wheels in our heads started turning and this trip was planned.  (Yes, 8 hours is quite the drive, but in the grand scheme of things it wasn’t all that bad.)

The travel researcher that I am, I scoured many websites to find the best places to camp in the park while also trying to figure out how to reserve our spot.  Ironically, we planned our trip just ONE day after the peak season ended and reservations were closed. (Since it’s the desert, winter is the best time of year to visit Big Bend. #FunFact.)

Now that summer was starting to approach, campsites were on a first come first serve basis.

And when you’re making an eight-hour trip out of your way to go camping here, that is one scary thing!

As we pulled up to the National Park’s entrance, the park ranger kindly told us that the campsites in the Chisos Basin (where we wanted to stay) were currently full, and suggested several alternative options.  #Panic!

Still a thirty-minute drive through the park ahead of us, we decided to risk it and see for ourselves whether or not the Basin was full.  Our alternative options would have been okay, but they would have been far removed from the mountains, in a more desert type landscape, which wasn’t ideally what we wanted.

As you can see by the photo below *spoiler,* we actually found a campsite! We drove through rows and rows of already taken spots to come across an almost empty one.  The couple who had stayed there the night before was just finishing loading their car to leave. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect.

With the biggest sighs of relief you’ve probably ever heard, Patrick and I set up camp and began our adventure in Big Bend National Park.


The car was unloaded, camp was set up, and it was time to hit the trails. 

We started our hiking adventure with the Lost Mine Trail.  This almost five-mile loop climbs to the peak of one of the Chisos Mountains and offers incredible views along the way.


And also offers a frightening warning for mountain lion presence.

I was ready to grab two sticks and beat them together a la Parent Trap Style.

Because that’s what really wards of mountain lions, right?



The views of the surrounding canyons and mountains were seriously spectacular.  There were many moments where we would just stop, speechless, and stare off into the distance.


Or climb rock precipices to get better views.


Not dangerous at all Mom and Dad!



Once we made it to the peak (above) we pulled out the GoPro and started filming the 360-degree views.

Footage will be included here at a late date. 😉 We’re still working on the whole “editing” thing.


GoPros also come in great handy when you’re on the top of a mountain and can’t find another human anywhere nearby to snap a photo for you.




The two of us sat up at the summit for a while, relaxing from our hike up and soaking in the views.


Hiking the Chisos Mountains, Tom's Canvas Backpack, Tom's Trekker Backpack
Chic & Comfy Camping Gear:



We headed back down the mountain, with my trusty (and aptly named) Tom’s Trekker Backpack in tow. We packed enough food to feed an army for a three hour hike: 3 PB&Js, 2 bananas, 6 granola bars, and a bag of trail mix. In the end, we may have only gotten into 1/4 of all that.  #AlwaysBePrepared!

As soon as we made it back down, we were already ready to hit up another trail.

Trail #2 of the day was the Window Trail.  This one was about 6 miles round-trip and didn’t have too much of an elevation change.

Which was good, because we don’t go hiking all that often and two trails in one day is A LOT!

The Window Trail in Big Bend National Park, Chisos Montains, Window Trail, Big Bend National Park Trails, Big Bend Trail Guide


With views like these, you can’t possibly not get out and explore.


Chisos Basin Campsite, Chisos Basin Big Bend Camping, Camping in the Chisos Basin, Cheese Board and Camping, Camping Appetizers

After a full day of hiking, and the stresses of finding a campsite earlier that morning, wine o’clock couldn’t have come sooner.

Ya’ll, when I plan a camping trip, there is always almost definitely some sort of cheese board involved. 

Having delicious specialty cheeses, italian sausage and prosciutto in the middle of nowhere is clutch!

We paired this fancy appetizer with a classy box of wine. I find it easier to just grab a Bota Box for trips like these. They’re not as heavy as bottles of wine, and just one box equals three bottles. 😉

Not that we went through three bottles in two days or anything! Come on now. 

Relaxing in an ENO Hammock in the Chisos Mountains

Another surprise was to find trees near our campsite. Which was awesome, because our ENO hammock goes everywhere with us! (It packs up small and is incredibly lightweight. Sometimes we just leave it in the car, never knowing when we’ll want to use it.)

There’s nothing quite like swinging in a hammock with good views all around. 🙂

As the sun was starting to set we realized very quick that we had to get dinner ready ASAP.

There’s no electricity (or overhead lighting) when you’re camping!


Chef Patrick sautéed our frozen veggies and seared some steaks, making what was literally the best campsite dinner we have ever had.

This was probably due to the fact that we were borrowing our friend’s outdoor propane stove.  Note to self: get one of these!

Normally we just throw food in foil, set it over the fire, and hope it cooks! 🙂


Dinner was ready just in time to watch the sun set over the “window” at the edge of the Chisos Mountains.
Our first full day of the camping portion of the trip was absolutely perfect. I think that was due in part to all of the pre-planning we did.  Knowing what to pack, what to wear for the crazy unpredictable temperatures and where to hike for the best views certainly helped.  If you’re planning a trip to Big Bend anytime soon, I’d love to chat! Drop me an e-mail at and I’ll give you all our insights I didn’t share here. 🙂
With all of the adventures had and pictures snapped, I couldn’t possibly fit it all into one blog post. Click here for a peek into part two of our trip. 🙂
As always, thanks for stopping by the blog!


  • I am such a planner, and would have panicked a bit with the campsite. I'm glad you were lucky! When we go to my parents in North Carolina, we take a night to camp out, and it really feels like being spoiled when you look at camping options around Houston. Glad you had a good time in Big Bend, can't wait to hear the rest of the story! Might just have to plan a trip ourselves in winter!

  • Beautiful photos! Big Bend looks like such a pretty place. 🙂

  • Looks beautiful… I would love to see a lion 🙂 Texas has so much to offer and so little time

  • Pinned! I've always wanted to go to Big Bend. This solidified it! Except for the lion part. 🙂

  • Beautiful ;photos! Our son is on the western side of Big Bend and never sends enough pictures. I can't wait to visit there soon. We're hoping to visit him in July. I know it's out of season, but he works at a hotel so yay for air conditioning!

  • Great pics! I love Big Bend & I really want to return. It's great hiking. Thanks for posting. Shared.

  • Ahhhh I'm so jealous! It looks beautiful and like so much! We hiked so much when we lived in Charlotte. I miss it!

  • I'm impressed. Two things. 1) Solid parent trap reference. 2) Do you carry some kind of cooler with you for the cheese/meats?