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Big Bend Boating & Hiking Company
Big Bend Boating and Hiking Company

53570 HWY 118

Terlingua, TX


(Close to the Alon Gas Station & Chili Pepper Cafe)

Questions & Answers

Where are we located?

We are in Study Butte/ Terlingua, TX. We are 3.5 miles away from the Maverick Entrance Station at Big Bend National Park. 

What should I bring on the river?

A water bottle, and on the boats there will be water to refill it. We supply you with a dry bag for your camera, phone, sunscreen, medications, & snacks. If you are joining us for a full-day trip, then pack a lunch and we have a cooler you can put it in.

Is Santa Elena Canyon the only canyon?

There are multiple other canyons, most are only accessible by going on the river. Santa Elena Canyon is the most famous because you can see it from the road, you can hike into it; it is the most easily accessible.  These other canyons include Colorado Canyon, Dark Canyon, Madera Canyon, Upper Canyons, Mariscal Canyon, San Vicente Canyon, Hot Springs Canyon, Boquillas Canyon, Temple Canyon, & the Lower Canyons.

What is included on an overnight river trip or backpacking trip?

These trips are fully guided. It includes the tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and all other camp equipment. Food is also included, let us know if you have dietary restrictions such as: vegetarian, vegan, or gluten free.

What are some of the risks of going on a trip in the Chihuahuan Desert? 

Outdoor adventure travel is inherently dangerous. Our biggest threats are: Dehydration, cold exposure, thorns from cactus, & slipping on rocks.

What are the common obstacles on the river?

-Cane shots- the river channelizes under the cane

-Wall shots- the river makes a 90 degree turn against a canyon wall

-Potential walking on shallow gravel bars

Which Canyon are we floating through?

Our half-day trips always go to Dark Canyon in Big Bend Ranch State Park. For our full-day trips, it depends on the water level. The water level is either affected by rain, or our biggest tributary- the Rio Conchos flowing North from Mexico. At high water we will raft Santa Elena Canyon or Colorado Canyon. At lower flows we will canoe or kayak Hot Springs Canyon, the Upper Canyons, or do a Santa Elena "boomerang" trip.

What is the minimum age and weight?

The minimum age is 3 years old for our half-day and full-day trips and 5 years old for over overnight trips. We do not have any weight restrictions. We have PFD's (personal flotation devices) for a variety of weight categories.

How strenous are the river trips?

If the water level is high and we are rafting, then a guide is rowing you down the river, you are not required to paddle. At lower water levels, we are kayaking and canoeing. You will be responsible to paddle your own boat. There are a few little rapids to navigate as well as cane shots and wall shots. If doing a Santa Elena Canyon "boomerang" trip, then some walking will be required, as we go upstream, some sections have a current that is too strong to paddle, so we get out on shore, walk and line (pull our boats with a rope while they float on the water) up that section, typically 30-40 ft in length. If someone in your group can not paddle a canoe or kayak, you may request for them to ride with a guide, that can paddle them down the river.  

What class rapids are on the Rio Grande?

Majority of the rapids are class I-II. Rock Slide rapid in Santa Elena Canyon is a class III depending on water level.

What should I wear on the river?

The temperature from day to night can vary up to 30 degrees. You will want to dress in layers, and we supply you with a dry bag to put your jacket in as the day warms up. Wear shoes you do not mind getting wet, such as sandals or tennis shoes.

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