Explore the most popular historic site 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.

scenic driving
14 days ago

Our favorite scenic drive in the park! Loved it!

hiking
14 days ago

Perfect hike for families with small children. Shady & short. Lots of birds.

Beautiful drive to make when you first enter the park.

Completed the OML 3-13-18 to 3-15-18 three days two nights during spring break week. I would not recommend attempting this hike during spring break for those planning ahead next year it was a zoo. If you must do it during spring break then go towards the end of the week it was much less crowded no line to get into the basin.

Would also recommend bigbendchat.com to learn more about the trail and get excellent advice and updates on water locations that can be found on the trail. I was able to filter 4 L of water from a spring on the trail that I learned about from this website.

Overall it is a gorgeous, but tough hike so be sure to pack as light as possible since you’ll be carrying a lot of water with you. Additionally, stay the night at the lodge or perhaps in Alpine Texas and get to the panther junction station early next day so that you can get desirable campsite locations. We did not get to panther Junction until around 1:30 PM so were stuck with zone camping in Juniper Canyon first night and blue Creek zone camping the second night making day two a long 15.5 mile day.

Lastly, as other reviewer‘s have mentioned this trail is hard and not for the beginner backpacker. Unfortunately, we ran into a group of young men in their late teens early 20s who were ill prepared for this trail. They had started on the Dodson trail. One person had a day pack and was carrying his sleeping bag in his arms. I don’t know if the group made it past the basin, but he did not look like he was having a good time when we caught up to them midway on the Dodson trail.

Best advice for the OML is to plan ahead and have the right gear.

Fantastic hike!

Toughest Hike I have ever done.... YOU MUST PREPARE! Recommend bigbendchat.com and read everything.

Extremely demanding loop with a very high failure rate, and not for the inexperienced. Couple of thoughts/lessons.

1. This trail is no joke, water is a big issue, and I can see this trail flat out being very very dangerous for inexperienced or unprepared backpackers.
2. I can't imagine doing this trail much past mid-march, the Dodson was pretty brutal in the afternoon already
3. I wore shorts which was stupid, although I enjoyed the coolness, zipper pants for flexibility in the desert would have been better
4. We added both Emory Peak and the South Rim (at SW3) to the trip (total mileage ended up being 43 miles due to some side trial action. Unless you have been or plan to return I cannot imagine doing the OML without adding the South Rim, it was far and away the best part of the whole trip.
5. The trail is rough, very very rocky, and suggest you put a lot of time in prep into your shoe/sock/feet/knee plan as I think those issues are most likely to cause a stoppage.
6. I carried a 4.5L water capacity and drank at least 2 litrer before every fill up (beginning, upper juniper, and Homer Wilson). That was enough, although I wish I had probably 1 more liter on the Dodson and going up Blue Creek in the afternoon.
7. Make sure you have a plan for lots of electrolytes, I think that is a game changer vs. just plain water.
8. Pack light! My pack was 10-15 lbs lighter than my buddies and I think was the difference in finishing/not finishing. I also cowboy camped with only a groundsheet and emergency tarp (that I needed one night) which saved a good amount of weight.

Excellent hike. Very demanding. Can be done in two days, but recommend three. Well marked. No water, have to cache. Primitive campsites few and far between. Zone camping allowed once past the main trails in the park, but the terrain is very rugged, so plan carefully.

backpacking
4 months ago

The trail is less scenic than many in Big Bend. Has demanding elevation changes. Homer ranch homestead a nice stop.

hiking
4 months ago

Short trail to an old abandoned ranch. Old cement water trough and fences nearby

backpacking
4 months ago

trail in a very dry area with many elevation changes. Deceptively grueling

scenic driving
4 months ago

Nice scenic route on a paved road that takes you past several old abandoned ranches

backpacking
4 months ago

A varied hike through the desert floor, over a mountain , through a dry river bed or drainage and ending at a historic ranch.

hiking
4 months ago

Rated 4 stars for the history. Simple hike down to the valley floor to an old homestead. Always fascinating to get a glimpse of pioneer life. In this case, not that long ago. The hike will be harder for some because of the steep climb back out, but really doable by most.

scenic driving
4 months ago

The paved route takes you through the core of Big Bend NP to numerous trailheads and scenic overlooks. It is a must do to get a good taste of the area.

hiking
4 months ago

Trails kind of tight. Nice small hike into an oasis where an old home and farm stood. Great teaching point for my 4 year old. Shaded hike if hot out. Nice quick stop along your drive.

hiking
4 months ago

Minor hike. Doable my most any. Shows a snapshot of pioneer life.

walking
4 months ago

Short easy hike to a couple old wells and the remains of an old Adobe house

What a great loop backpack trip with a lot a changes in elevation. Great views with lots of variety of habitats. According to my mapping software the total climbing elevation was 11,324 feet. At least 1 water cache is required by the NPS. It's a very demanding multi day backpacking trip. Give yourselves plenty of time to complete each day. There were groups that didn't complete the first day until 10:30 at night ran out of water halfway through the second day.

Ruins at the end of the trail give some interesting shots for photos. Super easy trail.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Excellent drive. My dogs were pretty tired of the car by the time we got home.

hiking
Friday, March 17, 2017

Great family hike.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Nice historic site! Working windmill and pecans

hiking
Saturday, November 28, 2015

Great glimpse of the past here. Found pecans from the non-native trees planted by the Nails - tasty.

hiking
Saturday, October 10, 2015

This hike is easy, and if you're in the Castolon - Santa Elena area, I recommend it. The trail starts right off Ross Maxwell Drive, and goes to several ruins. The last two are on the mesa above the flood plain.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Nice drive ending at Santa Elana Canyon. Recommend stopping at all the turnoffs along the way as there are many terrific photo opportunities.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Pretty

hiking
Friday, November 07, 2014

This trail is part of the Blue creek trail, and the Dodson trail. It goes now a hill to an old ranch house that can be seen from the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive. If you are short on time, and don't want the do the Blue Creek or the Dobson trails. The hill you descend is not bad as you ascend on the return trip.

scenic driving
Monday, June 30, 2014

There are a few trails along this road. The views are always more amazing after every turn!

hiking
Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Historic site with a windmill and pump still in operation. It includes some old remnants of an adobe house and a few shaded areas. A great place to take youngsters.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

I really enjoyed stopping and exploring all the stops along the trail. Interesting history!

hiking
Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A good example of life in the Big Bend back in the 1920's Sam Nail built his home with little outside help. The trail is only about 1/4 mile, and is very easy.

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