Explore Big Bend - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Big Bend Map
2 days ago

This is a phenomenal trail. The view at the top and along the way is awesome. Parking is limited so go in the morning. Also there's almost no shade so go early to avoid overheating.

3 days ago

I was nervous before doing this and reading all reviews. I am a 30 year old that is a smoker and overweight and haven’t worked out in months. I did this trail had to stop a few times but other than that an overweight smoker can definitely do it! Totally worth it! Lots of stopping points to enjoy views. The best one is definitely from the top!

View is definitely worth the hike.

The views along this trail are spectacular. That being said, this is a longer hike than advertised. We walked for 1 ½ hours and did not reach the end. Our children ages 8, 10, 11 were exhausted and we had a mutiny on our hands. The entire hike back is uphill and will take well over an hour. Like I said, absolutely gorgeous, just know you are committing to 3 hours, the second half of which is entirely uphill.

We are new to the hiking game and a little out of shape in our late 40’s so it was hard on the legs trying to keep up with the teens. That said the views were stunning!

on Pine Canyon Trail

5 days ago

Lovely canyon. Green oasis in the desert. Few visitors. Bear present.

6 days ago

Great family hike. On the trail at 8:30am. 8-10 year olds all made it without complaints. 3 hours round trip. Big fun!!!

This trail was absolutely gorgeous! A short hike, but absolutely beautiful.

Enjoyable enough..a little too crowded for my taste, but worth enjoying the hot spring :)

off road driving
8 days ago


Loved this off-road trail. Very pretty in February.

off road driving
8 days ago

Such a blast. Easier than I expected for me and my stock Jeep Wrangler. Very scenic, beautiful trail. Only a couple of spots where actual 4wd was necessary. Look for the spot with the old grave sites on the hill! No signs but looks very historic. Overall, my favorite off-road trail at big bend.

10 days ago

Slightly challenging, awesome views at the top. Worth every second.

off road driving
11 days ago

2012 non lifted 2 Dr with front Aussie locker. Piece of cake nice drive 2.5 hours with short stops for pics. Go to park before May as the temps will be high. May want to bring water and fuel. Had a great spring break 2018! We went North to South.

17 days ago

This trail is NOT moderate, and is extremely difficult and can be very dangerous for the inexperienced or anybody does not go in the Nov-Mar timeframe. Very high failure rate due to the challenging terrain, heavy water carry, and elevation changes.

I think the route that includes the Chisos Basin may be more common, look for the other trail that says "includes pinnacles".

Strongly recommend you don't do this without including the South Rim which is the best view in the area.

trail running
17 days ago

25 minutes to get down the trail and 30 minutes to get back up. The end of this trail is incredible. Like a dry rock waterfall in a canyon at the end. Well worth the hike. BE Careful if you plan to trail run, there are mountain lions in the desert here. Recommend not running solo.

21 days ago

The views from the top are incredible.

interesting place to see..

love this hike ...short with so much to see

great hike with large rocks!

off road driving
25 days ago

Great scenery during the drive. Didn't stop at any sites on the way, but did stop for some amazing photos. Would definitely do again if I had more time.

25 days ago

Gotta love a hike that starts with a descent and ends with you climbing back up! Portion your water appropriately - we saw a few people needing to ask others for refills on the way back. Little to no shade so if you ignite like a vampire when the sun touches you like me, pack lots of sunblock, or better yet, wear UV blocking clothing and a huge hat. Totally worth it for that view at the end. Lots of wasps during this time of year, for those of you that are bee-phobic.

OK let me say first off, I have never backpacked before so this was pretty tough for me and my buddy with me.

We got started at about 11, and got to Colima campsite at about 6. Going up Pinnacles with a 25lb pack was brutal, I wouldn't have tried Emory Peak had there not been a bear box to store my pack. Laguna Meadows Trail going down was pretty easy. All trails are easy to follow and all campsites and splits have signs. All in all awesome hike, with great views. Only saw one piece of trash the entire hike, and I picked up.

We stopped short of The Hot Springs to enjoy the Rio Grande on our own. Even in February it was warm. As with all trails in this region you need plenty of water. Take a day pack with river shoes and a swim suit.

Nice evening trail

1 month ago

Beautiful view!

Great spot to sit and soak in the Rio Grande. Cool history. Pretty sunsets.

My family hiked this trail in early February. It was great for hiking with a nine month old in the backpack and a five year old. I love how it goes along the cool Rio Grande and the cliffs that have sand dunes at the base that can be explored. Just beautiful.

There are a few sites along the path that Mexicans have crossed the river and set up sales of art pieces (bead figures, walking sticks, and this year “No Wall” koozies). My five year old enjoyed being able to see the horses and men across the river who readily waved back. A couple of road runners who seemed to be well fed by hikers let us see them for more than the usual run across the road.

We took a snack and tested by the river for a few minutes, played in the sand and the hiked back.

Great family hike.

1 month ago

The loop is 35 miles long, not 25. Unless you do a shortened version not listed by the park or elsewhere. And to call it moderate could kill people, as that trail has. I hiked the AT starting in Maine, and it was not nearly as difficult as the Outer Mountain Loop.

1 month ago

I had hiked Chisos Mtn several times in my 20's and returned 25 years later with my son, Cullen, to do the OML! Not in the best shape, I found our 4+ day, 38 mile trip extremely challenging! I proved what I always tell my high school soccer players, the mind can push the body far past its limits when it tries to convince you it's done! Cullen planed our trip and downloaded the map - a must. In early January, temps ranged from upper 20s on the mountain to 80 on the Dodson. The trails are rarely calm and groomed. Surfaces include loose, rocky scree, large rocks, steps, and beds of deep, crushed river rock . There's also plenty of scratchy pokey plants lining narrow trails, so poles were invaluable. Not just for climbing and descending but also to push thorns out of the way. Day 1, Chisos Basin to SE rim. Cost us an extra 3 miles, but seeing the sunrise from the rim was too beautiful to describe! Day 2, back to Juniper Canyon Tr, some climbing and lots of descending on rocky stuff - enjoy using your downhill muscles! Picked up our water cache at the junction of Juniper Canyon and Dodson (needed a 4x4 to cache there). 1.5 gallons each. Camped about a mile up the Dodson from there, real nice Zone camp site off the trail. Day 3 was a butt kicker! Warm for January, in and out of the sun. Filtered about 2-3 liters of water out of the Fresno creek. Enjoyed about .5 miles of easy, groomed trail out of camp, but the last 10 miles was all up/down, up/down. Gorgeous scenery, though, through endless canyons! Picked up our 2nd cache (3 gals.) of water at Homer Wilson Ranch (bear box, near a paved road .5 miles off the trail). Zone camp was within sight of the ranch buildings. We didn't see many suitable zone campsites around the ranch. Day 4 sounded easier - Blue Creek Tr, 2.500 foot climb over six miles, but my legs were rubber. Spent 3-4 miles slogging uphill in the creek beds, then some steep climbs to Laguna Meadows, were we camped at 6700' at site LM4. The compost toilet there was a welcome experience (if you know what I mean)! The night was really cold and windy, glad I had warm socks and a light down coat. Most hikers go from the ranch back to Chisos in one day, but we decided to break it up. The last leg down Laguna Medows Tr to Chisos was an easy downhill cruise - finally some smooth, non-technical trails. At the end, just a quick, steep climb to our truck as if the trail was saying, "Remember who's boss, and get in shape before you come back!" Summary:
Permits: get your free back country hiking permit and any mountain tent sites ($6) at Panther Junction. Campground tent sites at Chisos Basin or Rio Grande Village are FCFS and $14.
Water: averaged 4 liters per day each. Highly recommend caching at both points. Don't count on streams.
Food: Cliff bars, tuna, rice, beef jerky, nuts and dried fruit did well. Brought a little too much
Pack Weight: go light as possible. Big mistake bringing items like survival knife, cribbage board and cards (too tired each night to play), binocs (never used), brick cell phone chargers (only needed one), etc. Bring more toilet paper than you think you'll need. Once home, we weighed all the stuff we didn't use - 5 lbs!!
Clothing: wicking long sleeves, wide-brim hats, shorts, sunscrean, warm items for cold nights
Trail markers - only an issue on the Dodson and Blue Creek. Spot the cairns, and you're fine
Fitness - this trail is for the lean and fit! If you're not, prepare to suffer. On steep climbs, I often had to rest every 35-100 steps or so, but I finished with my pack, and it motivated me to get back in the gym. Luckily I had my son - he had zero pity for me, mind you - but he did carry most of our water saving me 5-8 pound over a lot of the trek! He also paced me up some climbs when looking at his heals was healthier for my minds then looking up!
Overall, it was a fantastic experience! This park has incredible views, changing ecology, variety of bird life, and animals (saw plenty of white-tail, but not much else. Havelinas, coyotes, cougars, black bears are out there, but no sightings.
Other attractions: we made a beeline for the Hot Spring next to the Rio after we finished the loop! Boquillas Canyon was also breathtaking! We made a new friend there, too - Jesus, the singing Mexican cowboy!

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