Boquillas Canyon Trail

Big Bend National Park

Big Bend + Davis Mountains, Texas

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Boquillas Canyon Trail


  • View over the Rio Grande to Mexico early in the hike.- Boquillas Canyon Trail
  • Roadrunner spotted near the trail.- Boquillas Canyon Trail
  • Looking into Boquillas Canyon.- Boquillas Canyon Trail
  • Souvenirs for sale along the trail.- Boquillas Canyon Trail
  • The trail crosses grassy and sandy dunes at the mouth of the canyon.- Boquillas Canyon Trail
  • Boquillas Canyon of the Rio Grande.- Boquillas Canyon Trail
  • Mesquite blossoms along the river in early spring.- Boquillas Canyon Trail
  • Marshy ground near the river creates unique habitat in the desert.- Boquillas Canyon Trail
  • Nearing the end of the trail along the river.- Boquillas Canyon Trail
  • Pocketed limestone walls of Boquillas Canyon.- Boquillas Canyon Trail
Overview + Weather
International boundary. Unique canyon.
Big Bend + Davis Mountains, TX
Pets allowed: 
Highest point: 
1,900.00 ft (579.12 m)
Year round: 
Parking Pass: 
Park entrance fee
Permit required: 
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
1.40 mi (2.25 km)
Total elevation gain: 
100.00 ft (30.48 m)
Trail type: 
Trailhead Elevation: 
1,800.00 ft (548.64 m)
Typically multi-day: 
Current Local Weather:
Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

Boquillas Canyon is one of two famous gorges of the Rio Grande in Big Bend National Park. As with the other, Santa Elena Canyon, the meandering river suddenly cuts into steep limestone walls where a large mesa rises from the desert landscape. The dramatic geology is almost unbelievable, but information on signs near the trailhead help explain its formation. Also like Santa Elena, the canyon is located half in the United States and half in Mexico, with the middle of the river marking the international boundary. Unique to Big Boquillas, though, is easy access to the river banks on both sides. At Santa Elena Canyon there are steep cliff walls on the Mexico side. The town of Boquillas is just across from Big Boquillas Trailhead, and you can even cross the boundary with a valid passport to explore part of Mexico. Merchants from Mexico cross the river on most days and sell handmade souvenirs along the trail or sing songs for passing hikers. This makes the Big Boquillas hike an interesting cultural experience as well.

You will get nice views into Mexico across the river from a high bluff that the trail climbs over. On top you can also find evidence of ancient inhabitants who lived here. They left holes in the limestone underfoot that may have been used for grinding flour. The trail then descends the other side of the bluff and enters the mouth of the canyon, where there are sandy dunes, soggy wetlands, and shady groves, all beneath the towering stone walls. At less than a mile from the trailhead, the path dead ends where the shoreline runs out, and vertical rock descends to the water. The only way to continue would be by boat, so you must turn around the way you came.

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Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide

Field Guide

Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(1 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(10 within a 30 mile radius)

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Adventure Community

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