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Hot Springs Professional Review and Guide
"J. O. Langford and his family homesteaded here at the confluence of Tornillo Creek and the Rio Grande in 1909 and built a small health spa using hot spring waters. He also hoped to regain his health after suffering from malaria growing up in Mississippi. With the help of a stonemason, he built a large stone bathhouse over the main hot spring. In 1913 unrest and civil war in Mexico caused the Langfords to leave the border area. In 1927 they returned and built a combined post office, trading post, and motel for guests. The Langfords finally left permanently in 1942 after selling their land to the government for inclusion in the new national park. Maggy Smith operated the resort for several more years as a park concession before it finally closed for good."
--Laurence Parent, Hiking Big Bend National Park (Falcon Guides).
The trail itself is not exactly why we did this trail--more for the Hot Springs at the end. It is pretty cool though. Very short easy hike. I believe you can do a longer hike if you come from the other side of the springs.
An easy hike either from the road or the campground. Nothing fancy but remnants of what must have been a grand place at one time. We had the tub to ourselves at dusk and watched owls take bats out of the air just after sunset. Nice spot.
Our experience was different in that heavy rains had closed the access road. We were able to hike in via Tornillo creek starting at the River Road, a muddy but able alternative route. The hot springs were harder to find among the river bank vegetation than I would have thought. Unfortunately, the recent rains must have overwhelmed the spring - for there was not even warm in the hot spring area. The humongous Palms, petroglyghs and ghost resort buildings made up for it, however.
The hot springs can be really great or really lousy depending on the crowd. I've been fortunate. The first time I visited them was around 11:00 on a cool evening under a full moon. The pool was clean and clear, and several park employees were taking the waters 'clothing optional'. We eased in to the piping hot water and had a great time discussing the day's hikes, scenery, politics... very relaxing and very laid back.
A quick and easy hike that affords you many valuable experiences you might not otherwise have. While we are used to long, rugged hikes instead, this hike was still well worth the time. It''s a fascinating place; from the Native American pictographs & petroglyphs to the animal scat and tracks in the mud along the Rio Grande''s banks, not to mention the soothing waters of the Hot Spring itself(right at the river''s edge). We were fortunate enough to get a history lesson from one of the locals. The trail is plenty wide in most areas and very easy to follow. A variance to the trail takes you up and over to look down at the hot spring and view the river from above. This trail will circle you back into the parking area. It is worth an hour of your time.
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