Closed Canyon Trail is a 1.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Lajitas, TX that features a river. The trail is rated as moderate and primarily used for hiking. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
Descend into Closed Canyon's slot for a 1.8-mile round-trip trek from Big Bend's scenic River Road toward the Mexican border and the raging Rio Grande. The trail takes you into the mouth of the canyon as it winds it way back and forth deeper into the canyon. There are some points where you have to climb down past some boulders or drop-offs to continue. The rock floor is slippery, especially since it is covered with loose dirt, so be sure to watch your footing. Near the end of the trail, there is a fairly high drop-off (maybe 12 feet). Jumping down to continue will be a lot easier than climbing back up and out, so use your judgment so you don't get yourself stranded. If you have some rope and climbing shoes, it would be very helpful. Some climber has driven in a metal stake to tie off a rope to and there are some foot holds and places to grab/stand.
Really fun trail to walk especially if you're looking for a trail in the big bend area that is dog friendly. Lots of scrambling and climbing to make up for the short distance. Also provides a lot of shade in a scorching hot part of the country.
I didn't make it very far into the slot canyon. It rained the night before, and the potholes were all full, and I didn't want to get wet. It is a great experience to even go into the canyon just a few hundred feet!
Surreal topography. Great walls 100 ft high. Short trail. We had hoped to make it all the way to rio grande but we got stymied. Drop offs became water holes. We got soaked. Worse we went down so e rocks and almost could not get back up.
Inside the canyon, the path is easy to follow; you'll hike across smooth rock with bars of small gravel around occasional puddles. As you continue south, the walls narrow and there are deep depressions created by rapidly flowing water. Depending on recent rains the depressions, known locally as tinajas (the Spanish word for jar), may contain fairly deep water and the pools could make scrambling or wading necessary to continue.
After the second tinaja, the canyon begins dropping steeply toward the Rio Grande with larger and larger steps (10, 12, 25, then 50 feet in height) that require rappelling gear to descend. Without the extra gear, plan to turn around about 0.75 miles from the road.
Caution: Check weather forecasts before tackling the hike, steep canyon walls leave no escape routes and flash floods are possible.
We've done this trail twice now and love it. Some of the pour offs close to the end are pretty high and we had to help each other get down and then back up but even the 8 year old with us loved it. It is one of two trails in Big Bend Ranch State Park that you can take a dog on.
This hike is easy but so so beautiful! We saw no one. We were unable to complete the canyon because of impassable water in the trail. We definitely plan on going back.
I hiked this trail in April '12. It is pretty easy and, while short in duration, it is very impressive. Feels like 10 ft wide with 200 ft high walls though not quite that narrow. I was not able to make it all the way through due to water in the middle which reminded me that this is not a place to get caught in a flash flood. If you are in the area though definitely stop and check it out.