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.
My Microsoft band II showed this was @7 miles from the store, not 5.2. We left around 10:00am. It took about 1 hr 15 minutes all downhill. It gets a little tricky/slippery for the last 1/10th of a mile. Trip back up was hard. It was all up and about 90 degrees with little shade. Took about 1&1/2 hrs up. Take lots of water. Saw a tarantula. Got bitten by flies several times. Still itching two days later.
It says it is a five mile round trip but my GPS device logged it in at 6.7 from the store at Chisos Mountain Lodge. I did this hike on 8 September 2016. The park ranger recommended I do the hike in the morning and I second that. I started down the trail (virtually all downhill) around 8:20 am and climbed back out around 12:30 pm. The trail is well maintained and the scenery is spectacular. In the morning, you get protection from the sun and it can be brutal on your way out in the afternoon. Wildflowers were abundant and there were plenty of birds. The park provides benches in shade along the way.
Take plenty of water and I recommend a walking stick. The park also recommends long pants and shirt to provide a cooling mechanism as you sweat. I did and appreciated it when cool breezes blew up from the Windows.
Keep going until you get to the Windows. However, check the forecast for possibility of rainstorms because the area is susceptible to flash floods. The view is breath taking. You overlook the desert floor below. On my hike, water was flowing over the 200 foot drop. Be careful, the rock is extremely smooth and slippery when wet.
The park warns of puma and bear and I saw very fresh bear scat going down. The walk back up is difficult to strenuous, depending on you age. I am currently 66 and I made it but the last 0.6 mile almost did me in.
This is one of the best hikes I've done.
Great trail with rewarding views. The first 8/10 of a mile is pretty uneventful with not much to see other than forest but right around the 1mile mark it opens to a beautiful vista. Round trip hike is about 4.79 miles based on my track, last 1/2 mile up the mountain is the toughest part of the hike with about 7 switchbacks. Worth the hike and time, I'm a photographer so I took my time, it took me about 4.5 hours to complete up and back, that included 90 minutes of time not moving. Take a snack and recharge at the top while you enjoy the views.
Great trail with a rewarding view at the end! Excellent beginners trail although the last 1/4 mile would be rated as moderate in my opinion, as others have said... if you have bad knees the last 1/4 mile will be brutal.
An early morning hike will allow you to catch the sun rising when reaching the balanced rock. Great little trail, ample opportunity for wildlife viewing depending on season and time of day.
Yes, 4x4 is a must. Yes, high clearance is a must. If you lack either of these, be sure to pack a satellite phone and absurd amount of money to get towed out.
The full 26.6 mile trail took about 2 1/2 hours with a few stops along the way for picture taking, however, it took all of 2 hours to actually drive the Old Ore Road so be advised if you are on some type of schedule or it is nearing dusk or pending heavy storms as you will be asking for it.
Worth the journey if you know what your getting into.
This trail is located at the far Southeastern edge of the park and is lightly trafficked. The trail is extremely short, roughly 3,000 FT round trip with about a 100 FT elevation change throughout the journey. Honestly, you could stop at half way to get the best views of the Rio Grande, there isn't anything of note or reason really to continue to down to rivers edge. Overall, it's worth the journey only if you've already hit every other trail and happen to be in that side of the park.
Note: Trinkets and Hiking Poles were for sale at two locations on this short hike, no one was guarding the items with only a bucket for offerings, however, there was likely a Mexican national close by given the proximity and easy river crossing. No bother to me, just noting so if you attempt this trail you aren't shocked by running across someone on the trail.
(We only did the four-mile round trip to Mule Ears Spring and back.)
If you've ever driven through the desert without taking the time to actually get out and walk the desert floor, then try this one. It was wide open with almost zero shade. You must bring plenty of water and you MUST take hats and sunblock! I enjoyed being out on this hike only because there were no other people on it. They probably knew better, or someone told them at least, to avoid this one on a hot morning.
The spring at the turnaround point is pretty cool, though tiny. We sat on a rock in the midst of reeds and cattails and had dragonflies zooming around us constantly, while a frog sat in the middle of the spring below us waiting for prey to present itself.
I don't recommend this hike for people inclined to complain about the heat.