top of page

Terlingua, TX : Camp Elena, Big Bend + Lajitas

Camp Elena Octotillo Tent #1

This weekend we went back to Big Bend after over a year. We had the amazing opportunity to check out Camp Elena, a new glamping facility in Terlingua. The "campsite" consists of 4 glamping canvas tents - but when I say "tent", do not be misled! These tents are equipped with a kitchen, gas cooktop, full bathroom and spacious main living quarters. The unit also has a balcony with a small seating area and propane grill.

Camp Elena recently changed its policy on occupancy. Previously it was an adults only environment; they now allow 2 adults and 1 child or 1 adult and 2 children. The units all have king beds, so we brought our camping cot for our daughter. The tent had plenty of room to set this up at the end of the bed - and I know that the owners are working on developing additional sleeping accommodations.

We had the entire grounds to ourselves Friday night, and wow, was it peaceful. The site provides views of both the Christmas and Chisos Mountains. On the way to Terlingua, we stopped at the Sul Ross Meat Market. Although their communication is greatly lacking (didn't answer an email from the day before or a phone call the day of to confirm hours), the steaks were superb. We grilled out and took in the views until it was too dark to see. We also tried out the s'mores kit, which was a hit.

Honestly, you could spend a whole weekend just at Camp Elena if you're looking to relax and unplug (no TV, but WiFi). But me...relax!?

Other things to do:

Hoodoos Trail at Big Bend Ranch State Park

Terlingua is situated perfectly in between Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park. Since I just renewed my annual Texas State Park pass, we opted for the state park side. We had a relaxing morning and then drove to the Hoodoos Trailhead. From the campsite it almost took an hour to get there, of which the entire drive was scenic!

I had the impression this would be a fairly strenuous hike for a toddler, but the trail is wide open and you can see the reward, the hoodoos, from the parking lot. It's a great hike if you have kids or people who are not into hiking with you. The Rio Grande is also accessible and fun to take a dip in before you hike back up.

21701 FM 170

Lajitas, TX

Views from every hole at Black Jack's Crossing

Whenever we head south, we always try to find a way to visit Lajitas. Long story short, it's one of the top public courses in Texas year after year. If you're a golfer, it's a must do! Just be prepared for an almost $300 green fee. I think it's worth it every so often...

102 NW 1st St. HWY 90W

Marathon, TX

Love the patio at Brick Vault Brewery + BBQ

This trip, our schedule was fairly tight, so we packed most of our food in and brought home pizza after golf at Lajitas. But, if you're headed back through Marathon, you can't miss Brick Vault for their BBQ and beer. My favorite this trip was a hazy blood orange IPA, which surprised me because I usually don't like IPAs...

To date, Camp Elena has been my favorite stay in the Big Bend region. We did Basecamp Terlingua's bubble, and although it was a unique experience, the accommodations (especially the bathroom) at Camp Elena were much nicer. Camp Elena also offers some great add on's to enhance your stay such as bundles of firewood, s'more kits, and a park essentials pack that provides all you need for an adventure - including a Yeti cooler, water bottles, ice packs, backpack and binoculars.

Rent the Park Essentials pack if you need a backpack!

That last thing that won me over is Camp Elena's commitment to sustainability. Units run on solar power, are dark sky compliant, and recycle water from your shower for the landscaping. They also donate a portion of profit to the Big Bend Conservancy. I love that they uphold a respect for their resources but yet still maintain a level of luxury. Definitely stay here if you're headed to Big Bend!


bottom of page