Explore the most popular forest trails in Big Bend National Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
1 day 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.

hiking
3 days 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.

Did this with my entire family, ranging in age from 24 to 64. Great hike, manageable with beautiful views at the end. Plan to finish by 4 pm as it can get foggy or rainy and obscure the views.

hiking
16 days ago

My favorite trail at Big Bend. If you can only go a mile - do it! Great views. Get there early - the too small parking lot fills up fast.

hiking
25 days 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.

hiking
25 days ago

Stunning views from the top! Steady climb up but plenty of rest points with benches to take a water break and enjoy the different view points.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful views all the way up as the sun rises through the early morning. The views from the top offer long distance vistas as well as much closer interesting geological shapes. The volume of trees growing in the shaded canyon to the east of the very top trail was an interesting surprise.

on Lost Mine Trail

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful trail with open, unobstructed views. Trail well maintained even with heavy foot traffic .

hiking
1 month ago

Start before sunrise for amazing views.

hiking
1 month ago

The view is spectacular!

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

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing trail, stunning views, superb camping spots. Hiked desert part in one day, mountain part in one long day, so did Junniper - Wilson - Rim - Junniper. Initial plan was to do 3 days but the rangers ruined that (see below).

Expect some serious shade from the scare-mongering rangers if you tell them you want to do this trail. They told us :
- the desert part has no trail markers you'll get lost.
- it's going to be 105F tomorrow you're going to suffer and give up
- there is absolutely no shade in the desert part (Dodson trail)
- you saw that trail on the internet you have no idea what you're doing
- 1.5 gallons of water per person per day
- go do the South rim hike instead, you can make it the same length

The truth was :
- there are cairns everywhere on the desert part, you cannot get lost.
- the next day was cloudy and temperatures were around 80F. I was cold, always backpack with a sweat-shirt.
- there is indeed very little shade on Dodson trail
- 1.5 gal pp per day was accurate for us
- South Rim hike is way shorter. We hiked that one in a day and a half then grabbed our permit to do the OML in two days rather than 3.

The advice I would have liked :
- hike it in March, flower season for cactii
- avoiding Chisos is a good idea, keeps all the nice views and makes it a 2 long days hike.
- the road to Junniper canyon trailhead is really shit, even with a 4 wheel drive (SUV not a jeep) it took me 90 minutes to do it one way.
- consider carrying more water and not caching at Junniper to avoid that drive
- get a hiking umbrella, weights very little and provides great shade on desert part.

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.

It’s a great hike great views!

hiking
1 month ago

This trail was very well maintained and marked. The views were very nice especially about a third of the way up. But the best view was at the top. We were in no rush to come down.

backpacking
1 month ago

Just joined alltrails but have done the Outer Mountain Loop twice now in the late October and mid November the past two years. As others have observed, a very challenging hike with tough, long climbs, very little water. Lots of exposure on the Dodson Trail and downright dangerous if it's hot. High dropout rate, but if you have good legs this trail is a real experience to not forget.

Don't do this hike without consulting the very, very well written OML Hike FAQ on the equally impressive and helpful site Big Bend Chat (I belong). Lots of up to date water reports, advice, warnings, etc. There are three main water sources and if you take the time to learn where they are this can be done without hauling too much to wear you out. Here it is: http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/big-bend-national-park-outer-mountain-loop/the-outer-mountain-loop-faq-and-planning-tips/

Like many on the forum there, I recommend doing the hike starting at Homer Wilson Ranch and avoiding the Basin altogether. I've done both. The first few miles out of the basin in either direction are the least inspiring of the total hike by a long shot--my opinion and that of plenty of others. Last late October went counter-clockwise starting from HWR with a stay on the South Rim the second day. Unparalleled beauty and views there.

Truly one of the best hikes of my long hiking career.

backpacking
1 month ago

We took the LMT to get to our camp site SW4. To us and some of the Park Rangers it seemed to be more fitting to get to the South Rim than the other routes. It was a slow incline but def still an incline. We took plenty of breaks as well. We had our packs for overnight and two days of water, so the weight added to the experience. Most of the trail was in the shade which made it much more enjoyable and less stressful to our bodies. We had done Lost Mine Trail two days prior and got torn up by the sun, it made the trail more miserable than it should’ve been. Neither of us trained, I’m in good shape but it didn’t matter on the trail! Well it didn’t seem like it did. The LMT was about 4.8 miles not the 8 like it says. After the 4.8 we crossed over to the South Rim trail for 2.5 to our destination for the most AMAZING views I’ve ever seen. Like I said we had a whole day, so we took our time and rested as much as possible. It took us a total of 5 hours to get to the top. 9am-2pm. I would recommend this trail to anyone that has time. It can def be done! The way down was much faster totally three hours. We did use walking sticks which helped the accent and decent tremendously! We’ve backpacked before without any and it was much more miserable! Either way, we loved the trail and views! Happy hiking!

hiking
1 month ago

Best moderate trail in Big Bend National Park. Great views from the top. Limited parking at TH. In peak season, lot fills up early (an hour after sunrise). We did the hike on 3/24/18.

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

Fantastic trail with great views!

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!

hiking
2 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.

hiking
2 months 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.

hiking
2 months 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

2 months ago

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

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