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Rio Grande: Big Bend Nat’l Park Canoe Trip

Spend the week exploring Big Bend National park by foot and boat!

What’re we doing?

For the second year in a row, UTOP is heading to the far southwest corner of Texas for a multi-day canoe trip through the Boquillas Canyon section of the Rio Grande Wild and Scenic river. We’ll live life on the river for 4 days, 3 nights, bringing many of the comforts of sleeping next to a car into the backcountry, via our canoes.

The day before getting on the river we’ll spend hiking in the Chisos Mountains, the centerpiece of Big bend National Park, for a little surf-n-turf combination.


Getting There

This year, we’ll have everyone fly into Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport to meet us on the first morning of the trip (3/11). UTOP staff will leave the day before in a van loaded with all our (and your) gear, and meet everyone at the airport. From there, we’ll load up and finish the remaining ten hours of the drive to Big Bend.

On the last day, we’ll drop everyone off back at Dallas/Ft Worth International Airport for your departing flight, then continue to drive all of our gear back to Knoxville.


What does your $$ get you?

Included in the cost of this trip:

  • All food from Breakfast on 3/12 –  Breakfast 3/17, excluding dinner on the night of 3/12. We’ll stop for fast food between airport pickup and our arrival in Big Bend, and between leaving Big Bend and arriving back at the airport for departure.
    • We can accommodate most any dietary restriction with ease. Really.
  • All the camping and paddling gear you’ll need.
  • Transportation for your stuff to and from Knoxville. No need to check bags at the airport.
  • Transportation from the time we pick you up at Dallas International Airport to  the time you depart back for Knoxville from Dallas International after our adventure.
  • Experienced trip staff to lead your expedition.
  • camping fees, permit fees, entry fee to the park.


Information meeting

We will have an informational meeting for the trip on January 31, from 6-7pm in the Outdoor center, located on the lower level of TRECS.

Add meting to Google Calendar


Pretrip meeting

We’ll host a mandatory pre trip meeting for all participants on 3/2, from 6-7pm in the Outdoor Center to discuss logistics, get you any gear you might need, etc.


Flight Info

You can fly out of wherever you choose. Nashville has cheaper rates than Knoxville, but you would need to arrange your own transportation to Nashville. You do not need to check any bags, as we’ll transport them for you in our van.

You’ll need to arrive at DFW by 11am on 3/11.

We will be at DFW no earlier than 3pm on 3/17 for your returning flight. Allow time to pass through security when booking your return flight.

Below are a few flight combinations that fit our timeline.

Flight Combo 1

Flight Combo 2

Flight Combo 3 (from Nashville)



Register Here

Registration will open January 18th, and close March 2 at 5pm.



  • 3/11
    • Arrive at Dallas/Ft. Worth by 11 am central time.
    • Drive to basecamp in Terlingua Texas. Arrive by 9pm.
  • 3/12
    • Moderate (5-8 mile) Hike in the Chisos Mountains, the centerpiece of Big Bend National Park.
    • Eat some authentic Mexican food in Terlingua
    • Back to basecamp for some sleep.
  • 3/13
    • Pack up basecamp and head to the river.
    • Pack boats, learn paddle strokes, and hit the river!
  • 3/13-3/16
    • Paddle the 34 miles through Boquillas canyon. Camping and side hikes all within the canyon during this time, making our way downriver each day.
  • 3/16.
    • Arrive at La Linda takeout.
    • Camp on the beach at takeout for our final night together.
  • 3/17
    • Depart EARLY for Dallas/Ft. Worth.
    • Arrive at Dallas FT. Worth Intentional airport by 3pm central time.