Hike to Big Bend Hot Springs

We walked down a few steps to the hot spring. The other couple were preparing to soak in it, with the lady in her bathing suit. We really didn’t plan on therapeutic bathing after the hike to Big Bend Hot Springs or getting on the river or cross to Mexico side, but we just dipped our hands in it to feel the hot clear still water. It is recorded at 105 degrees all year round, and indeed, it felt warm and good. 😊.


J.O. Langford’s Hot Springs, also known as Boquillas Hot Springs, is a former resort from thousands of years ago to the early 1900’s, in what is now the southeast corner of Big Bend National Park in Texas. The historic bath is tucked away down a 1.5 mile dirt road.

hot springs trail Eastern-Prickly-Pear

Going there:

Distance: 0.6 mile round trip
Hiking Time: ~30 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation Change: ~15 ft.

First Parking Lot.

We started early as planned and drove to see the Hot Springs because we wanted to accomplish our goals for this July day before it would be too hot out. From the main road, we took the gravel road for about 1.0 miles until we saw the warning sign in the parking area that says high clearance 4-wheel drive vehicles are recommended because of the condition of the last ½ mile dirt road. The road was narrow where wide vehicles and RV’s could end up in a ravine. We parked the truck here and decided to do early morning walk along the curvy road. It turns into a very narrow one way gravel road, with a cliff on one side and a drip off on the other side around a couple of relatively sharp turns.

hotsprings desert

At this time, two other couples showed up, actually passed us. Throughout our entire trip, this would happen many times 🙂 They also parked on the first parking lot; not sure if by conscious choice, or because they saw us do it. It was quiet a long walk but the flowering desert plants growing on the edge of rocky hills and running rabbits along the way were very cool to see.


Second Parking Area

We arrived at the second parking area near an outhouse, and saw the ruins of civilization that once graced the community in the early 1900’s. The remains of the post office, hotel/store reminded us of how vibrant with tourists this place was. It was like stepping back in time. I think many park visitors go to this attraction to this day for the same reason the people in its heyday held.


Big Bend Hot Springs Trail

From the second parking lot, we followed the trail down the rock wall on the left (and the Rio Grande on the right) where we saw red pictographs (images painted into rocks) high on the cliff face by prehistoric people. Petroglyphs (images carved or pecked into rocks) were also featured in the area.

ancient pictograph in BBNP

Along the Hike to Big Bend Hot Springs.

Along the trail was a makeshift “souvenir stand” of walking sticks for $10 and Mexican crafts, trinkets, etc., with a jar for ‘honor system’ payment. These crafts are placed by Mexicans by crossing the river, which is an international boundary. The merchandise is considered by the US government as ‘smuggled/contraband’, which carry a fine and or confiscation.


The trail was easy and it did not take long for us to see the still Hot Springs water in stunning contrast to the gushing Rio Grande River just right next to it! It was once a bath house but only the brick foundation walls remained.


We agreed that if we come back, we should be there before sunrise before other people show up for some privacy. We actually saw the sunrise above the canyons on our way in. By the time we were ready to leave, more people were arriving.

to BBNP hotsprings

Around the bath district parking area, we walked up the steps to a ruined building to check it out. There was an “altar” of sorts inside. It felt like all the buildings have those centers in them. Ants roamed around freely and abundantly.

The Hot Springs.

Hot Springs are known to have healing properties and the Hot Springs in Big Bend National Park is no exception. It is admirable of men to utilize and preserve this once a desert health resort.

On our walk back to the first parking lot we saw other vehicles going all the way to the 2nd parking area. One small low clearance car produced a struggling sound in a bumpy and curvy and rocky terrain. But I think he made it just fine. The many passengers it carried were having a remarkable ride. A soak after their hike to Big Bend Hot Springs would be just perfect.

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