Big Bend National Park vs. New River Gorge National Park and Preserve

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If you’re planning a vacation and would like a quick comparison of Big Bend National Park and New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, we’ve got you covered.

We’ll take a look at what they have to offer in terms of hiking and wildlife, plus what the best time of year to visit might be.

Let’s get started with an overview of Big Bend National Park.

Big Bend National Park Overview

Big Bend National Park is a breathtaking natural wonder located in southwest Texas. At over 800,000 acres, Big Bend is the largest protected area of land in the state and one of the largest protected areas in all of the United States. The park is home to countless stunning landscapes, from high desert plains and craggy canyons, to winding waterways and wildly rocky peaks. Big Bend offers something for everyone, whether you’re an avid hiker or simply looking for a peaceful place to relax and unwind. Whether you spend a day exploring Big Bend’s most popular features or set off on an extended backpacking trip, you will be captivated by its unique landscapes and unparalleled natural splendor. So if you are looking for an inspiring getaway that offers both adventure and relaxation, look no further than Big Bend National Park!

New River Gorge National Park and Preserve Overview

New River Gorge National Park and Preserve is a beautiful and diverse destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Located in West Virginia, this expansive park spans more than 1,700 square miles and features rugged mountain scenery, winding rivers, picturesque waterfalls, steep canyons, lush forests, and abundant wildlife. With so much to see and do, New River Gorge is the perfect choice for anyone looking to get outside and explore the great outdoors. Whether you’re interested in hiking or biking along scenic trails or rafting or kayaking down rushing rivers, New River Gorge has something to offer everyone. So why not plan your next trip today? Whether you’re looking for adventure or simply a relaxing respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, New River Gorge is the perfect place to reconnect with nature. Get outside and discover what New River Gorge has to offer!

Hiking At National Parks

Most national parks have some of the best hiking trails you’ll find anywhere in the US.

If you’re planning to take along your furry friend, double-check the rules before you go – as many of the parks have different rules about bringing animals along with you.

Big Bend National Park Hiking Trails

Big Bend National Park offers a wide variety of hiking trails to suit every level of fitness and ability. For those looking for an easy hike, the Window View Trail is a great option. This short, paved trail leads to an overlook with stunning views of the Chisos Mountains. For a more challenging hike, the South Rim Trail is a popular choice. This 8.8-mile trail takes hikers along the edge of a sheer cliff, providing sweeping views of the desert below. Big Bend is also home to the Emory Peak Trail, which at 8.5 miles is the longest trail in the park. This strenuous hike climbs nearly 3,000 feet to the summit of Emory Peak, the highest point in Big Bend. No matter what your hiking goals are, Big Bend National Park has a trail that’s perfect for you.

Best Hikes At Big Bend National Park

The ratings below are based on user-submitted data at AllTrails.com

Hike Name Elevation Gain Difficulty Rating Type Average Rating
Pine Canyon Trail 304.8 3 out and back 4
Ernst Tinaja Trail 39.9288 1 out and back 4.5
Cattail Falls 208.788 3 out and back 4.5
Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive 525.78 1 point to point 4.5
Basin Loop Trail 131.9784 1 loop 4
Lower Burro Mesa Pouroff Trail 43.8912 1 out and back 4
Marufo Vega Trail 810.768 5 loop 4.5
Black Gap OHV Trail 284.988 3 out and back 4.5
Tuff Canyon Trail 29.8704 1 out and back 4
Chimneys Trail 110.9472 3 out and back 4

Hiking Overview at New River Gorge National Park and Preserve

New River Gorge National Park is home to some of the best hiking trails in the country. The park, which is located in southern West Virginia, features more than 50 miles of trails that wind through a variety of terrains. While all of the trails offer stunning views of the New River Gorge, each one has its own unique challenges.

For those looking for an easy hike, the Fayetteville Trail is a great option. This two-mile trail winds through a forest and offers gentle elevation changes. The trail can be accessed from the Fayetteville Visitors Center and is perfect for families or those who are new to hiking.

For those looking for a more challenging hike, the New River Gorge Trail is the longest and most difficult trail in the park. This 31-mile trail follows the New River from one end of the gorge to the other. Along the way, hikers will need to navigate steep cliffs, narrow ledges, and deep ravines. The New River Gorge Trail is only recommended for experienced hikers who are properly prepared for a multi-day adventure.

Top 10 Hiking Trails at New River Gorge National Park and Preserve

Hike Name Elevation Gain Difficulty Rating Type Average Rating
Upper Sand Creek Lake Trail 598.932 7 out and back 4.5
Medano Lake Trail 697.992 3 out and back 4
Montville Nature Trail 26.8224 1 loop 4
Dunes Overlook Sand Ramp Trail 80.772 3 out and back 3.5
Little Medano Creek Trail to Medano Lake 1079.9064 3 out and back 4
Wellington Ditch Trail 47.8536 1 out and back 4
Dunes Overlook Trail 143.8656 3 out and back 4
Pinion Flats Campground Trail 26.8224 1 loop 4
High Dune Trail 191.7192 5 out and back 5
High and Star Dune Loop 403.86 3 loop 4.5

Wildlife at Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including many species of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians. The park is also home to a variety of plants, including cacti, yucca plants, and mesquite trees. Visitors to the park can expect to see many of these animals and plants in their natural habitat. Big Bend National Park is an excellent place to see wildlife in its natural setting and to learn about the importance of conservation.

Wildlife at New River Gorge National Park and Preserve

At New River Gorge National Park, you can expect to see a wide range of beautiful wildlife. Whether you’re gazing at towering trees or trekking through muddy marshes, you are sure to encounter an array of animals and plants along the way. Some of the most common species include deer, foxes, squirrels, turkeys, wild turkeys, salamanders, snakes, lizards, hawks, eagles, crows and blue jays. Additionally, New River Gorge is home to many different types of flora including ferns, mosses, conifers and deciduous trees. Whether you’re exploring on your own or partaking in one of the park’s many guided tours and hikes, New River Gorge has something to offer for all nature-lovers and wildlife enthusiasts alike!

What’s the best time to visit?

A lot of times, weather can dictate when it makes the most sense to visit a particular national park.

Plus, depending on the types of activities you’re hoping to take part in, seasonality will be a huge factor in whether those things are even available.

Big Bend National Park Weather Considerations

Big Bend National Park is a nature lover’s paradise, offering hikers the opportunity to explore canyons, mountains, and desert terrain. The park is also home to a diverse array of plants and animals, making it a popular destination for birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts. With so much to see and do, it’s no wonder that Big Bend is one of the most popular national parks in the country. But when is the best time to visit? The answer depends on what you’re looking for. For example, if you’re interested in seeing the wildflowers in bloom, the best time to visit is spring. Big Bend is also a great place to escape the heat of the summer, as temperatures are cooler at higher elevations. However, winter can be a tough time to visit Big Bend, as roads may be closed due to snow and ice. So if you’re planning a trip to Big Bend National Park, be sure to check the weather forecast in advance. That way, you can make sure you visit during the best time of year for your particular interests.

New River Gorge National Park and Preserve Weather Considerations

New River Gorge National Park is a great place to visit any time of year, but the best time to go depends on what you’re looking for. For example, if you’re interested in hiking, the spring and fall are ideal because the temperatures are moderate and there’s less chance of rain. However, if you’re looking to whitewater raft, the summer is the best time to visit since that’s when the water level is at its highest. On the other hand, winter can be a magical time at New River Gorge National Park, especially if you’re hoping to see some snow. So whether you’re looking for adventure or peace and quiet, be sure to check the New River Gorge National Park weather forecast before planning your trip.