Explore the most popular River 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.

Just down to the river and back

muddy
off trail
rocky
scramble
3 days ago

The trail itself is beautiful and definitely worth the troubles to get to the trailhead. the views from up top are gorgeous and walking through the reeds of the Rio Grande is surreal after being surrounded by desert moments before. Like many others have said, if it has rained recently the entrance is either flooded or knee-deep muddy. Some people choose to traverse the mud, and I even saw one girl doing the hike barefoot with muddy feet since the hike after that point is truly that easy. There is a non-muddy option that requires a lot of climbing up and down very vertical slopes with unsteady shale as the only thing to grab onto. My buddy and I decided to do this option both up and back, but there were some scary moments where we could have easily fallen all the way down to the creek below. The amount of time you save trekking the mud is actually wasted on washing your feet after. Keep that in mind. With that said it was worth it and I'd do that climb again to hike the trail.

Pretty good

hiking
7 days ago

We stopped here after a morning hike. Didn’t do the whole trail, just walked to the river. So pretty!

0.75 from the rv parking lot. Easy hike.

hiking
scramble
15 days ago

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
17 days ago

I did this trail for the first time in early May 2018 and wrote a review and my experience about it then. I was not properly prepared then for the heat and ended up being dehydrated and with painful muscle crumps. But I made it back and learned from the experience. Since then, I did the trail again in January 2019 and a third time two do days ago. Although true, this can be a dangerous trail, it can be done safely if one prepares for it. And the views are certainly worth it! So, as others also said before, bring at least a gallon of water in winter and more in late spring. If possible, avoid doing it in the summer. And in any case, do not do it alone. And start early (at sunrise) as it gets hit even in winter with no shade and the sun beating down on you. The trail starts easy enough but turns right (East) in a quarter mile steep climb about 1.5 miles into the it. It gets easier for a while and you reach a split at about 3.6 miles. We took the south fork which had us going down a steep incline toward the river for about 3/4 of a mile. This is one of a couple tougher parts of the trail and one needing caution as it is easy to slip on the loose gravel. Here you will have beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and the river. At about the sixth mile you reach another split where you can go right all the way to the river or continue left for 2 miles to connect to the north fork. If you choose to go to the river, this would add another mile to the distance and make the total trail distance 15 miles(AllTrails is wrong to list the trail as 13.5 miles). When you turn left you will go about 2 miles, much of it parallel to the river, after which you turn left, and navigate through a canyon going steadily up. This is another tough part of the trail you should take care with and look for the cairns to keep you on the trail. Once you get back to the split, you reverse the route you took earlier for 3.6 miles to the trail head.

hiking
scramble
21 days ago

Epic hike! I would think a morning hike would be even better for pix. Stay away from Old Maverick Road (unless you can off-road)

hiking
flooded
off trail
scramble
22 days ago

It rained the day before, so we had to go around the creek and up a pretty difficult scramble, which made the whole trail a lot longer, but it was still really cool!

hiking
flooded
off trail
rocky
scramble
22 days ago

Did this as a recovery walk after Marufo Vega. Pretty easy with a few short areas of incline. Nice views, but absolutely packed with people. Not a relaxing quiet hike - if you do this hike, expect tons of people that aren’t very keen on hiker etiquette.

hiking
22 days ago

Really nice primitive trek. Only saw one other group the whole time. I did south fork first, which I highly recommend. I did a short first day, camping up top on the south rim prior to descending into the canyon. The rangers mentioned that the sites down by the river can be a little dangerous, so I opted to camp there instead. Loved my spot, had a great sunset view over Mexico! You’ll notice a large flat area right on the trail just prior to descending into the canyon, and there are a few pre-established tent plots around there. The north fork on day 2 is much more challenging, but very beautiful. Pay attention to carins, as I can see how it would be easy to get turned around. I didn’t have any trouble, but if I hadn’t been paying close attention I would’ve gotten turned around pretty frequently. Significant climb to get out of the canyon, definitely a challenging day 2! Felt longer than 8.5 miles on day 2. No shade on the south fork, so plan accordingly. Also no places to filter water, so pack it all in!

Trail has different route when water is higher, more difficult than expected. Cool to see this part of the park but after hiking the Windows trail and the South Rim trail this was less impressive than the views in the Chisos Mountains. Took us 80 minutes and we traveled 3.6 miles.

23 days ago

It was alright. Wish we could get into canyon but climbing on the boulders and to the cave are cool. Could do without the "questionable" homemade trinkets.

23 days ago

More of a path than a hiking trail.

hiking
bridge out
23 days ago

I love this trail despite the fact that there’s no shade on the way and the hot spring was not amusing in my opinion. However, I enjoyed the view along the hike. It started out with beautiful moutain view then you can see an overlook of beautiful Rio Grande river. Highly recommend for a sunny 60F day.

hiking
23 days ago

This trail is set up for the masses, and for good reason. It is stunning! A word of caution though, for those looking for an easy, effortless hike. If the river is up, which it was when we went (January 3 after a night of rain), the crossing at Terlingua Creek may be too deep. The alternate route is upstream just a couple hundred yards but it is a tricky scramble on lose rock after an easy crossing. No big deal for most people but we watched some older folks, young kids and very inexperienced hikers really struggling to make their way back to the main trail. I heard no one complain but it clearly wasn’t what people were expecting. The rest of the trail is suitable for anyone who can walk up a few flights of stairs. Don’t do it for solitude! It’s a popular trail. Do it because it is a uniquely awe inspiring canyon and a must see.

Like others were saying, the river is high so you have to take a very steep detour. The trail isn’t always intuitive, a lot of people were turning around. Once past that section, the trail was easy. Once into the canyon the views were incredible.

hiking
off trail
over grown
rocky
24 days ago

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