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Amazing trail! Definitely a decent workout if you keep your pace up. There is a ton of stairs as the others have mentioned, but I really enjoyed them. My Garmin said I did 170 flights of stairs today!
I started around 9AM on a Sunday and there was a fair amount of people, but not as much as I thought there would have been. I would on the way up that I would come across others every 15-20 minutes, but on the way down it was probably every 5 minutes, if that.
Pups loved getting a bit muddy and then crossing the streams.

hiking
20 hours ago

this was hard. the over 2000 steps really gets to you. the trail is well kep, clean and with plenty of signs. i was left gasping on a few ocasions. there are many water ponds and small falls along the creek. all beautiful. i only completed it one way this time, will try back and forth the next time.

Well marked trail with easy road access. Great hiking in the Slot Canyon...not to hard but fun.

Fantastic.
This is like 3 separate hikes in 1.
The first mile or so is an easy walk through the slot. Great rock formations and an easy walk for any age. One person in another group did get claustrophobic and turned back.
The next 1/4 mile of so is a climb. Some trail, some stairs some switchbacks. It is a little bit of a challenge. Some smaller kids were having trouble and it is steep. The trail can be narrow with areas to pull over and let oncoming hikers pass. There was ice on the trail when we were there but it didn't cause too much problem.
The last part is on top of the mountain. Fairly flat trail with long views of the valley and other mountains. Again- beautiful.
I highly recommend this hike. The rock formations and the slot are amazing.

hiking
6 days ago

Amazing hike, took 2 hours because it was leisurely. I loved going in between and on top. Stunning panoramic view at the top. Really truly breathtaking.

Our favorite trail in Austin. No sounds of traffic, creeks, trees, beautiful. Lots of stairs though and therefore pretty tough. Take some water and food with you!

hiking
11 days ago

Pretty good pull to the top and then 1.5 miles out the trail which is very much the same kind of terrain. Rock wall scramble isn’t bad at all. Just keep you mind on what you are doing and put one hand and foot in front of another. Views are great but it can get a little crowded up top.

Great hike in November. Natural setting, and had perfect weather. Week of Thanksgiving so quite a few people out on trail, but not too crowded to enjoy. All the stairs provide some good exercise. Good place to do some warming up in Austin if prepping for a more serious hike.

Did this as a day trip in December. Just want to point out it is quite doable as a day trip given it is done in the winter and you’re used to doing 25-30 mile hikes. Started with Dodson trail, which is actually fairly mild and undulating. Up juniper canyon in he heat of the day tough but doable. Smooth sailing down the blue creek canyon into the sunset. Awesome hike, right among my top hiking experiences.

hiking
13 days ago

My mom and I did this trek early in the morning on our way to Santa Fe. It’s more easy than moderate other than some elevation gain, but the tent rocks themselves are amazing to see.

Tough hike. Lots of stairs up . Local resident gave us a great tip when we arrived at the top of Canyon Trail. He suggested we walk back down the highway to the little fern trail instead of coming back down the trail in the same direction. Saved us more exhausting stairs and little fern is nice trail.

hiking
16 days ago

I'm a relatively inexperienced backpacker, having done maybe a dozen 2-3 night camping trips and this was definitely one of the more challenging ones I've done, mostly bc of the elements (heat and lack of water).

Route: Clockwise from Chisos Basin Visitor Center + Southwest Rim (~35 miles)
Day 1: Visitor Center up the Pinnacles, down Juniper Canyon to the Dodson Trail. I wish I had made it to Fresno Creek so I could have binged on water, but I ran out of daylight.
Day 2: Stopped at Fresno Creek for coffee, then to Home Ranch for lunch and up Blue Creek to the South Rim. I camped at SW4, which was close to this great overlook on the Rim, made for some great pics.
Day 3: Out of food and low on water, I couldn't sleep and hiked out at 4AM. I bypassed the full South Rim trail and went straight to Boot Canyon so I could refill at Boot Spring. Then on the Colima Trail to Laguna Meadows Trail.

Would not recommend the early departure for two reasons. One, the South Rim has epic views, and sunrise there looks incredible. Boot Canyon is also worth seeing, and though it was nice to observe it by moonlight, I knew I was missing out. Second reason, I saw a mountain lion on the trail and those things terrify me. Should have just waited until sunrise.

Stupidly, I only brought capacity to carry 3L of water. This made for a light pack, which was nice going up the Pinnacles on Day 1 and up the Blue Creek Trail switchbacks on Day 3, but I was pretty dehydrated by the end of it. I should have brought another 2L empty bladder with me and filled it at Boot Spring.

It's definitely worth reading through Big Bend Chat forum on water sources and caching at Home Wilson Ranch. Just be familiar with what you're looking for. I got water at Boot Spring (which is marked with a sign) about five miles into Day 1, and Fresno Creek early on Day 2. Thankfully there were some extra gallons at Home Wilson, too, that I binged on and took 3L with me to camp up on South Rim, then refilled again at Boot Spring early on Day 3 and hiked out. In hindsight, this was stupid bc Boot Spring could have run dry (Dodson Spring had gone dry just a day before I got there) and it would have been a tough dry Day 3 hike.

General Thoughts:
- Top three hike of my life
- November is a terrific time to do it. Highs around 80, lows in the mid-40's, decent amount of water on the trail (though you obviously can't bank on this).
- Glad I camped on South Rim, the sunset views were absolutely stunning.
- All of the trails up around Chisos Basin, Emory Peak, South Rim, etc. are extremely well defined and well-marked. It's out in the zoned camping areas where you have to be careful (Juniper, Dodson, Blue Creek)
- The rangers were super helpful; the only thing they gave me a hard time on was that I didn't cache water. She "strongly encouraged" me to cache water at Home Wilson; I didn't, but she was right.
- Should have brought sun block, long sleeve shirt and a sun hat for Dodson Trail and Blue Creek. There is very very little shade out there.
- The caution about losing the trail is not entirely overreaction. There are cairns, but some get knocked out from flash floods, or are pretty far apart. I lost the trail on Dodson a couple times, but backtracked easily enough and found it. I could have saved twelve bucks on the Nat Geo map and just printed one out from Big Bend Chat.
- Do it in November! High of 80, low in the mid-40's and some water already out there (though it's tough to bank on this). This would have been much more challenging in the summer, and miserable to carry all that water. I probably would have cut out the South Rim and done it on a long day hike based from Chisos or something.
- You could start/finish from Homer Ranch and cut out the Chisos Basin, but I'm glad I didn't. The Chisos was pretty nice, and the long early morning walk down Laguna Meadow after camping on South Rim on night 2, so relaxing and great way to wind down the trip. Plus, you can then binge on ice cream at the camp store.

hiking
17 days ago

This hike is simply a must if you’re in Big Bend. Pinnacle trail on the way up is a real bruiser with its elevation gain, however the trail up to the peak is moderate. Some folks won’t want to climb up the rocks to summit the peak but it’s really not too bad and very well worth it. If you do, look to the west and enjoy the sun illuminating the north wall of Santa Elena canyon on the park’s western border. Stunning views.

This was much more challenging than I expected, but a great hike and an even better workout. The trail constantly takes hikers up and down inclines. Bring more water than you think you'll need. Most of the trail is shaded, but in the summer, it's still hot and there are plenty of stretches where you'll be exposed to direct sunlight. The views are decent, but the roller coaster-like terrain is what makes this one unique.

hiking
19 days ago

I expected more out of this one. I hiked this trail in July while visiting Austin. The old homestead buildings were interesting. but the falls were underwhelming. They were nearly dry when I visited, and there was litter everywhere, especially around the swimming hole. I'm sad to say that the human footprint kind of ruined this experience for me.

Great workout

Great for short strenuous workout hike and training. Several elevations changes. Nature stairs.

Beautiful just very busy

Excellent canyon trail for day hikes and overnight backpacking. Very Narrow canyon in places with many water crossings. Be aware of weather conditions as a flash flood could be disastrous if caught in the narrows. We did a 2 nighter in late October 2018 and there was plenty of water for the first 4 miles we hiked. Seemed alot longer because of all the river crossings. Some great camps along the way and old mining ruins to explore too. Saw deer walking up the river, bear scat along the way and had a mountain lion make itself heard very near our camp on the first night. Great backpacking trip.

hiking
1 month ago

What a great hike! Definitely do the slot canyon, and if you want to avoid any crowds go early morning weekdays. There was practically no one there.

Lots of steps. Narrow path so lots of stopping to let people pass

Dogs not allowed on trail

hiking
1 month ago

Second time to hike this trail. Love seeing and visiting with people from all over the U.S. and other countries. Took more time to enjoy the views and survey the slot for the best light. Moral of this story is slow down and enjoy!

Super beautiful geology!
Be aware, hiking on a hot summer day is overwhelming, due to all the bright quartz sand, you can literally feel like you’re being cooked in the oven.
Bring water and shelter tree to tree from the sun.
just making sure you hike this in cooler weather, or plan for the extreme heat and sun.
The formations are definitely were this hike I have done it several times.

Cool place with great views. Main trails are very wide and easy, but there are spots where the trail crosses wide swaths of granite where the trail isn't well marked. Due to recent flooding, we were unable to hike one segment of the loop, and had to take a trail through a canyon. This trail was quite rocky and rough.

backpacking
1 month ago

Go away! Best 'hard' hike in Austin. If you include panther hollow trail (Big View entrance) it is 3 mi each direction. 1700+ altitude change with 2736+ stairsteps through a shaded ravine following a creek along lower area. Do your share by carrying out a bit more trash than you came with a smile.

hiking
1 month ago

Great easy hike. A couple of places to shuffle up some rocks, but nothing my pregnant wife (2nd trimester at the time) couldn’t manage. Beautiful rock formations along the way, and fantastic views at the top. Watch out for snakes in the warm months.

Beautiful scenery and pretty easy to navigate. Highly recommended.
You will not be disappointed.

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