Another great way to see the Big Bend up close and personal, and about as authentically as one can, is to book a horseback tour. For one, you’ll see this raw beauty in the way most humans before you have, from the saddle of a good-looking steed that will keep you high above the cactus and the critters. The path you’ll take is, of course, less traveled than ones you’d drive or hike, and your guide will not only keep your horse in line but tell you tales of the cowboys, explorers, and natives of the past as you amble along the dusty trail.
Big Bend & Lajitas Stables are the local outfitters for your horseback dreams. Expect friendly service, knowledgeable and funny guides, and a unique look at the Big Bend ahead. Contact them directly for availability and booking at (800) 887-4331, then saddle up and ride!
Local tip: Don’t forget to tip your tour guide. They pool tips, so give to any of the ones who led you down the trail.
Rio Grande Aviation. One of the most incredible ways to see the Big Bend is from a mile above it. Contact Rio Aviation and talk to our pal Marcos Paredes to book a flight and join the ranks of the Terlingua Flight Club.
Marcos himself is worth the price, and you can expect some of the best stories you’ll hear out here from a man who claims he has “never worked a day in his life.” Breathtaking vistas and views for miles around the Big Bend and way into Mexico await you as you board this charter plane for a flight you’ll never forget. Don’t forget your camera, so you can show off to all of your terrestrial friends back home.
Local tip: Sit in the jump seat in the very back for the best view out of both sides of the plane.
Self-Guided Walking Tour of Terlingua Ghost Town
Treat yourself to the more recent history of the Terlingua Mining District by taking the self-guided tour around the old ghost town. Stop in the Terlingua Trading Company and grab a map by the front door for a $1 donation, then take off on foot, at your own pace, to see what’s left of the mines close by, Saint Agnes Church, Menagerie Press, Terlingua Jail, the Terlingua Cemetery, and more. At its height, this area was home to more than 2,000 people working for the Chisos Mining Company and was the world’s largest producer of cinnabar, the ore that is refined into quicksilver, or mercury as most know it.
Fun fact: A ghost town is designated by being a town that has more people buried in the cemetery than live in the town. While that no longer holds true for Terlingua, there still exists a lot of ghost town to explore.
Local tip: Get your photo taken inside the old Terlingua jail and tell your mom you need bail.
Big Bend Birding Tours with Lee Hoy
The Big Bend is home to a large variety of bird species, many of which are hard to find elsewhere. If birding is your thing, Lee Hoy of Big Bend Birding Tours is the best around. He offers half day and full day excursions, as well as photography workshops. Learn more and book your tour at tourbigbend.com. Need contact info
Big Bend Resorts
Offering custom tours catered to your desires, Big Bend Resorts will set you up with an overland tour, guided hike, and more. Learn more at bigbendresort.com.
Big Bend Boating & Hiking Company
The new kids on the block, twins Erin and Erika have many years of guide experience in the Big Bend but have just created their own guide service. They are outfitting river trips, hiking trips, and day trips to Boquillas and Ojinaga, and Ghost Town tours. Need contact info
Lajitas Golf Resort & Spa 1-877-LAJITAS
Typically serving guests of the resort, but open to anyone, Lajitas Resort offers some great fun like zip lines, horseback tours, shooting lessons, an 18-hole golf course, Jeep rentals, and more. Contact them directly for more information on their offerings.
Local tip: bring your wallet.
Many times, talking to a local is the best way to get either the most accurate information or a bunch of directions that you think you understand but then try to navigate and realize you have no idea how to interpret.
Terlingua is full of friendly people, and they love telling you their favorite spots and stories of the history of this place and their time in it. Don’t be afraid to ask someone if you find yourself lost or confused. Most will be glad to oblige.