Directions to Big Bend National Park

Location: Big Bend National Park, Texas, USA

Location: Big Bend National Park, Texas, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Big Bend National Park is located in southwest Texas, or, otherwise known as “the middle of nowhere”. Now, I know that the isolation of Big Bend National Park is much of the attraction to many of the thousands of visitors who trek to the park each year, it also means that a little careful planning is needed in order to make sure that your trip is as safe and enjoyable as possible. Big Bend National Park is an awfully long way from cities and other transportation hubs (we’re talking hundreds of miles), you can’t catch a bus there or jump on a train.  The two main entrances to the north of Big Bend National Park are more than an hours drive from mainstream towns, and the closest major city to the park is El Paso, 300 miles away. If you run out of gas it’s not merely a minor inconvenience, it could be a disaster.

Okay, didn’t mean to scare you but you’ve gotta’ realize just how “off the beaten track” Big Bend National Park is. Still want to go? I don’t blame you, it’s awesome.

Directions to Big Bend National Park

There are three separate paved roads which lead to Big Bend National Park;

  • US 385 leads to Big Bend National Park from Marathon, 69 miles away.
  • State Route 118 takes you to the west entrance of Big Bend National Park from Alpine, a distance of 103 miles.
  • Ranch Road 170 from Presidio to Study Butte, then State Route 118 to the west entrance is 92 miles.

If you are intent on driving to Big Bend National Park then I really can’t emphasize enough how well organized you gotta’ be. Make sure that you have a good supply of gas, food, oil and water . . . there are four stores in the park but there’s often a limited selection of supplies available.

Let’s make a list of a few more distances from major US towns to Big Bend National Park, just for the helluvit . . . these distances are from the park headquarters at Panther Junction;

  • Amarillo – 481 miles
  • Austin – 474 miles
  • Beaumont – 697 miles
  • Dallas – 559 miles
  • El Paso – 329 miles
  • Fort Worth – 529 miles
  • Galveston – 657 miles
  • Houston – 610 miles
  • San Antonio – 406 miles
  • Wichita Falls – 513 miles

Getting to Big Bend National Park

As you’ve probably gathered, public transportation to the immediate vicinity around Big Bend National Park is non-existent, but you can get transport to cities which are within only one days drive of the park, that’s the closest you can get.

  • Bus Service – there’s a daily Greyhound bus to Alpine, Texas.
  • Trains – again the nearest train station is at Alpine, 100 miles away from the Big Bend National Park.
  • Airports – the closest major airports are at Midland/Odessa in Texas, a mere 235 miles from the park headquarters, or El Paso, Texas, which is 330 miles away. You will be able to hire a rental car at either airport to continue your journey.


Oh, yes please, what a trip.

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