After setting up our tent at our riverside campsite, we headed over to the historic Hot Springs in the park.

The land was developed by J.O. Langford in the early 1900s, through the Homestead Act. Right along the Rio Grande existed a natural hot spring, always at a consistent temperature of 105 degrees.

Langford built a resort surrounding the spring, and this area became the first tourist destination of the Big Bend area.

The resort no longer operates, but the structures still remain. Due to frequent flooding, the structures are warped and aged, but still standing.

A mural on the inside of a cabin. 

It’s a tough drive to reach the springs – bumpy gravel roads and tight turns – but luckily we were on the bike! Once we reached the small parking lot, it was a short walk to the actual springs.

The Langfords had developed the spring into a spa-like structure, some of which still remains. Steps and seating are available, though fallen far into disrepair.

Our fellow hot spring-goers were an eclectic and widespread bunch. We met a young couple from New York who were vacationing in Texas, a man from Montreal who spends 3 months each year road-tripping across the United States in an old van camper, and several British ex-pats who have taken up residence in Texas.

Bathing on the border

The best line of the day:

“Don’t you know you’re in Texas? Carry a gun.” – One of the British men said this to our Montreal companion, as he told a story about having his van broken into while he was inside!

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