off road driving
Named for the Bend of the Rio Grande along the USA Mexico, this park has part of the Chihuahuan Desert, ancient fossils, and cultural artifacts of Native Americans.
Just did this trail this weekend. Went up Laguna Meadows, stayed 1 night there, then continued to South Rim and did a night there. Continued on to the Northeast trail, Boot Canyon trail, and finally down Pinnacles back to the basin. My honest assessment is mixed. I had done Pinnacles up to Emory Peak last April. I kind of liked going UP Pinnacles steep switch-backs for the short time better than going up the long gradual elevation of Laguna Meadows trail to South Rim. I highly suggest doing NE rim trail if you do South Rim. Might as well. You're there, and it hits Boot Canyon trail anyhow. Views are insane! Also, take a good filter, there is water that pools behind the SE camps in the canyon. Lifesaver because that is the last water you find if you do NE trail.
This is a moderately difficult hike, not too tough overall. The rise is something like 1000 feet so it's a challenge if you aren't used to this type of thing. Really awesome views. We did this one the first day we got to the park after setting up camp. So you can do it in a few hours as an evening hike. We completed right as the sun was setting and the view out The Window was amazing. If you don't have a lot of time to spend in Chisos Basin, this is a good hike to consider as it's not all day, it's challenging, and the views are great. It is however very popular and there will be a lot of people out there. If you have a whole day or more to spend up in the basin, the South Rim is the best trail. It is however an all day hike and much more difficult. I'd prioritize South Rim way above Lost Mine if you don't have time for both.
TL;DR = if you have time and stamina, skip this trail and do South Rim. If you have less time or want easier hike Lost Mine is still great but usually crowded.
The water level was very high when we visited and the trail into the canyon was very hard to access. Terlingua Creek was mostly flooded and you need to get across it to get in. Most of the other visitors were just turning back but we were determined. It took some work but we managed to find a path in that kept us mostly dry. It is seriously worth getting a little wet here. If you turn back and don't go into the canyon you are basically missing the whole thing. The view inside is just spectacular. It's very humbling. The stone walls are utterly enormous. If the water is high when you visit, at least make an attempt to find a way in. It's worth it.
This was the highlight of Big Bend for me. It's definitely a strenuous trail but it's so worth the effort. The views are really nice all the way up. But once you get up to the south rim it is just incredible. I just can't even describe it. You have to see it for yourself. Make sure you pack food and water. The loop took us most of the day at a pretty easy going pace.
This was a very fun and slightly difficult off road drive. It could be difficult and scary for the inexperienced in parts. I had no problem driving it in a stock JK Wrangler. Four wheel drive low was required in a couple spots to get over some steep inclines and boulders.
It took 6 hours to complete this trail from the moment we entered the park to the moment we left. It was a nice easy off road drive. It was fun to see how desolate that part of the park is and how much open space there is.
The trail was very easy in a stock JK Wrangler. There was no need for four wheel drive, definitely need high clearance, though. The Black Gap Road is another story though. Very fun alternate route once you get about half way through River Road. It could be pretty difficult and scary for the inexperienced. I needed to use four wheel low once or twice to make it over some steep inclines and boulders.
It is a MUST see! We went in labor day. The water level just went down to the warning line so 1/3 of me is under the water. The ground under the water is quite muddy and was hard to walk firmly. These huge rock mountains are really GRANDE that it looks like some action movie scene.