Best Time to Visit - 9 min read

Best Time to Visit Big Bend National Park (Most Amazing Nature Hikes!)

Town and Tourist

Town and Tourist, Updated October 19, 2022

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People are drawn to Big Bend National Park because of the varied landscape, flourishing wildlife, and impeccable stargazing opportunities. This Texas National Park encompasses a large area with limitless possibilities for adventure. Between sweltering heat and heavy rain seasons, determining the right time to visit Big Bend can be difficult.

The best time to visit Big Bend National Park for good weather is between September and March when the weather averages in the 70s. The cheapest flights and accommodations can be found in January. For activities, fall and spring offer the best weather with the best chance for outdoor hiking, climbing, and wildlife.  

Although travel to Big Bend National Park in the summer months has its perks, like limited crowds, sustaining the sweltering summer heat can be challenging. Temperatures in the desert areas often exceed 100°F, with frequent and intense storms. However, visiting the park during the peak of summer gives water enthusiasts some of the best rapids and waterways to enjoy high-quality rafting adventures.

When Should You Not Go to Big Bend National Park?

Though crowds might be thinner, avoid going to Big Bend National Park in the peak of summer during June, July, and August. During these months, the average high temperature is well above 90°F, and the evening air does little to cool the temperature. Plus, June, July, and August are at the peak of the rainy season, so storms and high humidity are typical.

High temperatures and rain can make outdoor activities like hiking and climbing difficult. The challenging weather conditions help drive away the crowds, making the summer the least popular time to visit the park. If you insist on seeing the National Park during the summer, try to stick to water activities to stay cool and hydrated.

Cheapest Month To Go To Big Bend National Park

Consider traveling to Big Bend National Park in January for the best deals. Airfare will be the cheapest in January, and you can score significant discounts on hotel stays. While a hotel might cost $190 per night during peak season, January rates often dip to around $60 per night.

If you are searching for even more discounts, keep an eye out for National Park camping offers with free admissions. Big Bend National park typically offers five days every year when access to campgrounds is free. Usually, these days are provided in the off-peak season, like January, when the crowds at the park are at their lowest.

What Time of the Year is the Best Weather in Big Bend National Park?

Between wet rainy seasons and sweltering heat, Big Bend National Park experiences various weather conditions throughout the year. To visit attractions and stay comfortable hiking and adventuring, it is essential to plan your trip to Big Bend National Park appropriately, to avoid challenging weather conditions.

January: Best Time for Low Airfare

While the weather can be hot and humid in Big Bend National Park, January brings some of the most pleasant weather to the park. Expect the average high temperature to be around 60°F, with the average low rarely dropping below 38°F. January also sees minimal precipitation, at just 0.7 inches, making this quite an enjoyable month to experience the National Park. January also sees some of the best travel deals and lowest airfares of the year.

  • Regular Ranger Presentations at Chisos Basin Visitor Center.

February: Bike Fest

Texas Park and Wildlife / Flickr

The weather is usually sunny in February, albeit a little colder than usual. The average high in February is around 68°F, with the average low hovering around 42°F. While snow is not frequent in Big Bend National Park, it is possible.

Expect the temperature at night to drop below freezing. Due to the nicer weather, February ushers in the start of the busy season for this park.

  • Chihuahuan Desert Bike Fest

March: Wildflower Season

The busiest month for Big Bend National Park is March. Not only does March coincide with many Texas Spring Break schedules, but it also brings some of the most excellent weather to the park.

Average high temperatures are around 75°F, with average lows around 48°F. March is also the best time to see the stunning wildflowers that span all corners of the park.

  • Best Time for Wildflowers
  • Texas Spring Break (Big Crowds)

April

Credit: Shutterstock

April is considered a shoulder month for Big Bend National Park as the area starts to reach its peak summer temperatures. The average high temperature for April is 84°F, while the average low is a balmy 56°F.

April is also one of the driest months, with minimal precipitation. While most wildflowers begin to bloom around March, the beautiful Blue Bonnet flowers reach their peak bloom during April. Due to the pleasant weather and minimal rain, April is still a popular month for visitors to Big Bend National Park.

  • Best Time for Wildflowers
  • Blue Bonnets Peak Bloom

May: Best Time For Firefly Shows

Temperatures start to rise as May approaches, with the average high reaching 89°F. The average low temperature also remains high, rarely dipping below 60°F.

May also signifies the start of the rainy season, with intense storms possible throughout the area. With the higher temperatures and frequent rain, it is no surprise that the park starts to clear out during May, with the monthly number of visitors decreasing compared to the cooler spring months.

  • Fireflies Start to Appear

June: Camping Season

With intense heat and humidity, the weather can be oppressive in June. The average high hovers around 95°F, with the low only dipping to 70°F at night. This month also sees significant rain, with monthly precipitation averaging about 1.6 inches.

Although the temperatures in June are stifling, it is usually about 10 degrees cooler in the mountainous areas of the park. Setting up camp at night to observe fireflies is a popular summer activity with four different species of fireflies in Big Bend.

  • Best time for camping

July: Peak Rafting Season

July’s temperatures remain high, with the average daytime temperature around 93°F. During this month, there is also 1.9 inches of rainfall on average. It is no surprise that July is also the slowest time for the park, with minimal people braving the challenging conditions.

Water activities on the Rio Grande provide a fantastic alternative to hiking or climbing if you want a way to cool off. July is the peak rafting season when the increased rainfall creates excellent flow and rapids.

  • Peak Rafting Season
  • Viva Big Bend Festival

August: Best Time to See Milky Way

The summer heat persists through August at Big Bend National Park, with the average daytime temperature reaching 93°F. Luckily, with heavy rainfall throughout the month, the park’s waterways still flow at optimal levels, making rafting a favorite activity for park visitors.

Stargazing is a fun activity that can be enjoyed at night when the temperatures dip to around 71 degrees. It is possible to see the Milky Way from Big Bend National Park in August.

  • Peak Rafting Season
  • Milky Way Is Visible in Late August

September: Perfect Weather

Temperatures start to dip again in September, making this month pleasant to enjoy outdoor activities. This shoulder month is a great time to travel because of the limited crowds and average high temperature of 86°F.

September is still considered part of the rainy season, but the sparse crowds and comfortable temperatures make this a great month to see wildlife at Big Bend National Park.

October: Fall Foliage

For those interested in seeing the leaves change colors, October is the peak fall foliage season in the Chisos Mountains. The cool temperatures, with a high of 81°F and a low of 50°F, draw more crowds to the park, but not as much as the spring.

Prime stargazing conditions begin in October and last through March. October also has a drastic drop in precipitation compared to the summer months, making this a dry and comfortable month to visit.

  • Peak Fall Foliage in the Chisos Mountains
  • Optimum Stargazing Conditions Begin

November: Best Time To Hike

The busy season starts to pick up again in November with the comfortable temperatures and fall foliage. A relaxing high of 71°F and a low of 47°F make November weather wonderful.

Travelers will enjoy hiking the various trails to get some of the best viewpoints in the country to spot the changing leaves. There is minimal precipitation in November, with the monthly average rainfall under one inch.

  • Peak Fall Foliage in the Chisos Mountains

December: Best Time to Stargaze

December weather is cool and comfortable, with the high temperature rarely exceeding 70°F. Although snow is rare, cool fronts can make for chilly days in Big Bend National Park

. With minimal rainfall and lower temperatures, crowds increase again in December as people vacation at the park. Stargazing opportunities reach their peak in December, pending you have clear weather.

  • Stargazing at its peak

When is the Best Time to Visit Big Bend National Park with Family?

Planning a trip to Big Bend National Park with the entire family is a great way to adventure and explore. The best time to visit the park with family is during the shoulder months, mainly January and September. These months will offer the best amenities and benefits for visiting families.

Large families can take advantage of cheaper accommodations and airfare by visiting the park in January. Further, optimum temperatures and limited crowds will make navigating the park with a family much more accessible.

Traveling to Big Bend National Park in September also brings minimal crowds and optimum temperatures. September is the best time to see wildlife as the year shifts to winter.

When Is The Best Time To Avoid Crowds in Big Bend National Park?

Visiting the National Park during the shoulder months is the best time to avoid crowds. Usually, June through September is the least busy time for Big Bend National Park. This summer also coincides with high temperatures and frequent and sometimes intense thunderstorms. Be sure if you are visiting the park during these summer months, you plan accordingly for the high, sweltering heat.

If you want a combination of cool weather and minimal crowds, consider visiting during the shoulder months. Both January and September have the perfect mix of cool weather without crowds of people to navigate. By all means, avoid visiting Big Bend National Park in March if you want to avoid crowds. March is the busiest month for visitors.

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