Big Bend Boating and Hiking Company
Come Explore Big Bend National Park &
Big Bend Ranch State Park
Canyon Float Trips
Descend into the many canyons of the Rio Grande by boat. Float through the spectacular scenery of the international boundary on our Big Bend river trips. The Rio Grande has a slight gradient, making for good boating even when the water volumes are low. If you arrive after a summer rain though, experience the big waves in a raft.
Rio Grande River Trips
The water level determines which canyon we float through and whether we will be rafting, kayaking, or canoeing..
Full Day Guided River Trips $125 plus tax
You will be responsible for bringing your lunch, snacks, and beverages. We have coolers that the lunches can be packed into, and ice water to refill your water bottle. Along with the typical river equipment of PFDs (personal flotation devices) and paddles, we will provide you with a dry-bag to put your camera and other valuables into.
Santa Elena Canyon
Hot Springs Canyon
Santa Elena Canyon is one of the best-known features of Big Bend National Park. With canyon walls up to 1500 feet tall it has the tallest cliffs of all the canyons in Big Bend.
Trips can be arranged for one to three days. The water level dictates whether we float from Lajitas and begin in the open desert riparian zone before heading into the canyon or paddle upstream from the mouth of the canyon and then return back downstream, known as the "boomerang" trip.
The Hot Springs Canyon trip begins floating through open desert. Stop for a soak in the hot springs and cool-off in the Rio Grande. Then explore the Historic District developed in 1909 as a resort with a store, post office, and motor-court, Admire early inhabitants pictographs on the limestone cliffs.
Continue downstream floating through the picturesque Hot Springs Canyon that frames the Sierra Del Carmen Mountains in Mexico.
The Upper Canyons of the Rio Grande is in the Big Bend Ranch State Park. This 8 mile stretch floats through classic Chihuahuan Desert scenery with scenic views of expansive volcanic dikes and sill in the surrounding mountains. We also float through several tighter canyons such as Fresno Canyon and Black Rock Canyon.
Small riffles keep you engaged on this fun river journey. It is good for all ages and abilities.
Colorado Canyon is located in Big Bend Ranch State Park. This canyon has the highest average gradient of any stretch of the Rio Grande in Big Bend. This means more rapids. Class II-III rapids make this an exciting run. This canyon is carved from volcanic material, making it a different color than the other canyons carved of limestone.
This full day trip includes driving the "River Road" with stunning vistas through mountainous terrain.
Basic Itinerary for a Day Trip
9:00 a.m. Meet in Terlingua, Texas
10:00 a.m. Arrive at the river and get outfitted for the float
12:00 p.m. Stop along the river and enjoy lunch
3:30-4:00 p.m. Return back to Terlingua
Morning or Afternoon Float
$75 plus tax
Float through Dark Canyon on the Rio Grande. This scenic stretch of river is in Big Bend Ranch State Park. This family friendly adventure is good for age 3 and up. This trip is offered in the morning or afternoon. If you are staying in Lajitas, we can pick you up at the "boardwalk" or Maverick RV office, just let us know.
8:30a.m. or 1:00p.m. Meet in Terlingua, Texas
9:15a.m. or 1:45p.m. Arrive at the river and get outfitted for the float
10:15a.m. or 2:45p.m. Stop along the river for a break
12:15p.m. or 4:45p.m. Return back to Terlingua
Overnight Trips $175/day
*Call for availability on dates not mentioned below
Spending a night on the river allows you to get better acquainted with the Chihuahuan Desert and the Rio Grande. Allow your focus to shift to the sounds and sights of the riparian zone. The luxuries of camping are allowed when all the gear is floating on a boat downriver. We will pack a full kitchen, coolers of fresh food, and enjoy some dutch-oven cooking. We do cater to vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free diets. Chairs and tables will be set by the fire. We have tents, sleeping bags, and sleeping pads available if you do not have any. You will be provided a large dry-bag to pack your essential gear such as extra layers of clothing. Spending several nights on the river is truly a great way to relax and let the every-day worries drift away.
4 Day River Trip
2 Day River Trip
Santa Elena or Temple Canyon
Oct 14-15, 2023
3 Day River Trip
Temple or Santa Elena Canyon
This trip starts at Rio Grande Village and quickly floats by the village of Boquillas, Mexico. This is the longest canyon in Big Bend National Park and requires 4 days to float the 33 miles.
Spend the night under the stars, listening to the river flow by. Wake up to birds chirping and watch the canyon walls change colors in the morning light. Get into the swing of "river life" on this multi-day adventure.
Santa Elena Canyon
There are a variety of options for trips into Santa Elena Canyon. At high water we float on rafts making this 21 mile trip in 2 or 3 days, depending on the exact water level. As the water level drops, we transition into canoeing. At low water we do the "boomerang" trip, where we start at the end of the canyon and paddle upstream to our campspot.
Temple Canyon is the first 11 miles of the Lower Canyons. This remote section of the Rio Grande meanders thru Black Gap Wildlife Management Area. Enjoy a scenic drive through Big Bend National Park on our way to the river. This is a 2 or 3 day trip, depending on water levels.
Gentle rapids make this a perfect family trip. There is plenty of time in camp for playing games, swimming, or just relaxing and reading a book.