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

grand canyon road trip

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spectacular off-road journey, you'll find yourself once you lose yourself....

Did this a number of years ago and am planning on returning with my kids. An excellent hike if you like the desert and relative peace and solitude. Recommend going in the autumn: winters are cold and summers are too hot. Water it up, pack for the season, and bring your binoculars. You won't regret this one.

A fun hike that's deceptively longer than it appears. Bring water. The old saying is 'One hour there, three hours back', and it's sort of true, especially with kids. Last time I was there, there was a good deal of bear activity, so consider spray. There are other trails uphill of the Window that encircle the Basin, so the Window can become a great place to stop, take a break, and enjoy the breeze before continuing on.

Late post from March 2018. My wife and I backpacked and camped in Laguna Meadows night 1 and TM1(Toll Mountain) for night 2. Glorious hike and views. At this point in my life, I'm very out of shape, and I was fairly exhausted; however I would do it again. 45lb pack with 2.5l of water, and plenty of food.
****Definitely make the drive to the HOT SPRINGS in Big Bend right afterwards. Surprisingly had absolutely zero soreness the next few days.

The South Rim is incredibly beautiful. It’s a good 2 night camping adventure. Designated primitive sites SE 3, SE 4, SW 1 are some of the best backcountry camping I’ve ever done. Go in the winter, bring cold weather gear, plenty of water. Then go drink beers at the chisos basin lodge.

1 month ago

Did this loop, including Emory Peak in one day. I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone else. This hike is very strenuous, but the views! The view from the south rim is one of the most breath taking views I’ve ever seen. Especially in Texas! For me, it was worth it. But make this a 2 day hike and camp along the way.

Great hike extremely strenuous. If i were to do it again i would camp at the halfway point the first day and then the 2nd i would go to the top. I’m not terribly out of shape and in my 30s and this trail was very hard for me. Someone that was with me in their 20s who is in very good shape also said this trail was very hard for them. I’m not sure what’s going on with these reviews that say it’s not strenuous. They must be Olympian’s or hike every day. Took us 7 hours and we were rushing to get back before dark.My advice is to start at 7am and to take your time.

easy and fun trail only a few spots of exitement. mostly awesome views of BBNP!!

VERY HARD trail. The view at the top is beautiful, but the rest is just ok. Not worth how hard the hike is. Bring lots and lots of water and snacks. Do not hike in the heat. This trail almost did me in. Not recommended unless you are in GREAT shape and an experienced hiker.

2 months ago

Easy hike that starts at the chiso Basin. Starting at the campgrounds will save you 0.6 miles. The initial hike is enjoyable as you're hiking downhill. Near the last mile, you start hiking in the riverbed that leads to the window view. The view is awesome and the canyon walls provide nice shade and cool breeze. Be aware of the season you're going in and the time of day. As we were hiking out around 11 at the end of may, the beginning of the trail isn't shaded and temps got up already into the high 90s.

We started the trail from the Chisos Basin campground. I think it shaved off about .4 miles. The trail is basically downhill the whole way. You are exposed the first .5 miles and then you get more tree cover as you go. It is a gorgeous trail! The view from the window is spectacular. So worth it. We were feeling the heat as we were coming back around 3:00. I recommend leaving earlier or starting after 5pm.

2 months ago

This was a great hike! The downhill decent provides lots of views and just keeps getting better as you go. The terrain gets a little harder as you get closer to the window but some magnificent views are to come. Watch your timing as the heat and the return hike with an uphill stretch at the end can be though in the heat of the day. The ice cream from the store was the perfect end to this trail.

Spectacular is an understatement. Unexpected dead end to the trail, mostly shaded, with lots of smooth rocks. While on this trail hiking junkie Mia Viccinelli once said “I wanna touch where no man has touched.” While on the hike I sold my sole to the Chisos Mountains and completed the last mile of the hike without the sole of my shoe. Worth it.

3 months ago

Pine Canyon Trail head is at the end of a 6 mile primitive road. The park recommends 4X4 drive, however we made the trek in Desmond out Honda CRV without noticeable damage. The trial is a easy-moderate 4 mile in and out. The first 1.6 miles are in the sun. Beware of flies, their presence is overwhelming at times. This is where you encounter first of many ecosystems. Next the trail come to a moderately wooded area, and slowly becomes more dense. This is where we encountered two black bear cubs, and momma bear. We never made it to the waterfall due to the presence of the bears. Despite the bears, the changing of ecosystems were exhilarating. Great hike!

The end is slightly technical and the views are beautiful. The rest is a leisurely walk. It is downhill from the Chisos lodge area and then uphill on the way back. I prefer up-and-down trails, but overall a good hike. Some of my family struggled with the uphill portion at the end of the hike.

scenic driving
3 months ago

This is a great scenic road from Panther Junction. It's got lots of great hikes. A seasonal Visitor Center, a campground & store. The only crossing into Mexico in the park is here.
Saw roadrunners, coyote, rabbits & javelina!!

3 months ago

Great hike with a beautiful descent into the basin. First half is a decline and pretty easy, but the final climb into the window might be tough if you have balance or mobility issues. The way back is all incline so take lots of water and try to go early so you don't get trapped on the steep switchbacks in the midday sun.

4 months ago

The view is spectacular!

The road was smooth, the scenery great, and I got way too excited driving through the tunnel.

Hot/exposed at first but leads into a wooded area with lots of shade!

Window Trail can be moderate or difficult but that depends a lot on the time of day. Parts of the trail are shaded but others are exposed, especially at the beginning (and end) of the trail. We left at around 2pm from the Chisos Basin campground and returned around 5pm after a snack at the pour-off. After 3pm, it started to get very hot and that made the climb out of the canyon grueling. If I had to do it again, I’d try to make sure to get it done in the morning. I wouldn’t want to be on the slick rocks of the pour-off in the evening.

Long and strenuous, the South Rim Trail took us a little over 7 hours to finish with a few breaks and a 15-minute lunch on the rim. We took Pinnacles to Boot Canyon and climbed down the Laguna Meadows Trail. We left from the Chisos Basin at 8am, but didn’t start climbing down Laguna Meadows until 1pm and the heat started taking a real toll on us. Even though there are three toilets along the way, we really had to go during the last four miles and tried to hustle our way down. People don’t often talk about the after effects of doing hard hikes but our bodies felt overheated and in shock the rest of the day. We felt much better the next day.

Wonderful trail not too hard. Good cross section of the Chisos Basin.

Went counterclockwise since we did Emory Peak last spring break, so wanted a new experience. Started at 8am and didn't see any people the first 90 mins, but did come across deer 3 miles in. Had a nice long lunch on south rim. 7.5 hours including lunch and several breaks for photos. Great day hike and not too strenuous. Enjoy!!!

Great hike to the window. It is beautiful. But, definitely a tough uphill climb back. Our kids (ages 6 and 9) struggled to get to the end. Luckily there is ice cream in the general store at the top!

This is the trail to do if you come to Big Bend. We did Emory Peak along the way. Started at 7 am, took 3 hours to Emory Peak. Trail gets rough near the peak, but it's there. 2 more hours to the Rim from there, then approximately 3 more hours back to the trailhead. Including stops and lunch, about 9 hours to complete the 15 miles.

As far as preparation, we did bring toilet paper as there are bathrooms along the trail. 25L of water between 5 people was way more than we needed. Probably 2.5-3L per person would have been right. Admittedly it was cool and cloudy when we hiked, so warmer weather should warrant more than that.

The views are all there, just come prepared and it'll be a great hike!

5 months ago

Started this hike from the Chisos Campground trailhead which made it about 3.6 miles and 500 feet of elevation change. This shortened route wasn't difficult, and we enjoyed the views leading up to the window. The Window at the end is incredible, but very windy. Careful climbing to the edge, as the rock is worn smooth and there is little traction. This trail is perfect if you're trying to do 3-4 short hikes in a day.

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.

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