Help keep our trails and parks open during COVID-19 by committing to social distancing. Some trails or park services may be closed this weekend so check with local authorities before heading out.
Learn more

Cattail Falls is a 5.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Big Bend National Park, Texas that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and nature trips.

Length 5.7 mi Elevation gain 685 ft Route type Out & Back
Hiking Nature trips Walking Views Waterfall Wildlife Rocky No dogs
Description
Waypoints (0)
Contact
Tips
Getting There

Users have reported that there is a gate at the trailhead that is sometimes closed.

Big Bend National Park PO Box 129 Big Bend National Park, TX 79834-0129 Phone:(432) 477-2251

Falls are best during the rainy season of September-October

From the Panther Junction Visitor Center, head west on Panther Junction Road for 12.8 miles. Turn left (south) onto Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive for 3.3 miles. If you have a low-clearance vehicle, park here and continue on by foot. Turn left (east) onto Oak Spring Road. This is really easy to miss as it’s not marked, so be sure to check your odometer and note how far you’ve driven on Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive. Drive for 1.2 miles to reach the parking lot at the end of the road. At the parking lot, you should see a metal trail marker sign and the rest of your journey to Cattail Falls will be on foot from here.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (70)
Photos (149)
Recordings (51)
Completed (127)
View user's profile page
Loura Proske
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 15, 2020
HikingGreat!

4 stars just because the trek down the gravel road in no shade at the beginning and end is so awful haha but the hike up to the mountains and then down to the falls is very beautiful, and often there are few if any other hikers. Local tip: Summer is monsoon season in big bend. The falls usually have the most water in late summer and early fall.

View user's profile page
Kasey O'Hara
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 7, 2020
Hiking

Little water but still beautiful. We were the only ones on the trail

View user's profile page
Randy K
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 26, 2020
Hiking

The waterfall payoff makes The long hike down gated road through desert worth every step. One of my favorite spots in big bend. Be sure to scramble up the rocks to face of waterfall.

View user's profile page
Carson Zaragoza
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 15, 2020
Hiking

Sick nasty. The falls were pretty low as of mid January. But it was still a cool hike with sick views.

View Carson's Recording
View user's profile page
Tori L
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 13, 2019
Hiking

12/12/19 The waterfall is flowing lightly as of today. Had this trail mostly to myself on this beautiful morning. I ran into only 4 people on my way back down from the waterfall. I’m not sure who said this trail isn’t beautiful until the last bit, but I disagree. The trail itself follows the road which isn’t very exciting (but makes it easier for young kids), but the entire hike in you have expansive views of the mountains as you near them. I started the trail at 9am, so there was still dew on the ground, fog over the mountains, and a serene quiet to the trail. I absolutely loved this trail. 10/10 would recommend. The trail from start to finish took me 2.5 hours at a medium pace (I hike a lot, but have asthma, so take that as you may). As someone else mentioned, but courteous as this is the water source for the nearby towns. The app mentions that if you have a 4WD with high clearance you can take the dirt road to shorten the hike, but that is not true. The dirt road is closed except to “authorized vehicles”. You park at the trail head for Sam Nail Ranch; there’s not a ton of parking, so it definitely benefits to arrive early. I was the first car parked there at 9am on a Thursday. This trail does not require high clearance or 4WD to access, but if it has rained a lot recently, the roads may flood. Check with NPS for road conditions.

View user's profile page
Austin Sanders
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarNovember 21, 2019
Hiking

I have some mixed feelings on this hike. In my opinion, 95% of this hike is the most boring hike I went on all week. the last 5% was without question the best spot we saw all week. the water fall was flowing a little and there were these pools that were trickling down into each other. So peaceful and so many good pictured to take. the hike is not very difficult its mostly flat walking through the open desert. Everyone should be able to do this hike just pace yourself.

View user's profile page
Daniel Medvec
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarNovember 20, 2019
Hiking

No waterfall #sad

View Daniel's Recording
View user's profile page
ken lynch
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 13, 2019
Hiking

Gate at entrance from main road was close. Pretty easy trail, only issue is the last mile up to the falls had a lot of loose rocks. If you have mobility/stability issues this may be a problem. There’s also a couple rocks to climb over to get to the pool. Well worth the hike. The water was beautiful and peaceful.

View ken's Recording
View user's profile page
Helmut Albrecht
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 18, 2019
Hiking

Just to add to my review: this is one of the main water sources for Chisos Basin. In your behavior on the trail and at the fall always keep in mind not to spoil the water that you might drink at the lodge or at the Basin campground.

View user's profile page
Helmut Albrecht
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 17, 2019
Hiking

Excellent trail and off the beaten path. Wonderful views and very quiet and picturesque at the fall. Some hiking along a dirt road in the beginning but the fall incentives for it.

View user's profile page
Don Baucham
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 12, 2019
Hiking

Good hike as all have mentioned here, was cloudy and cool. Fall had a good stream, as it had rained a couple of days earlier. DB.

View user's profile page
Kim Pham
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMarch 27, 2019
Hiking

Don’t bother at this time of year when heavy rains have subsided. Super rocky, 4ish-mile roundtrip trail (starting from the main road) to end up at a trickle of a waterfall. It was disappointing, but thank you to the park ranger who helped us find our way to this site.

View user's profile page
Chloe Cook
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 18, 2019
Hiking

Not on the official maps anymore since apparently it started to get too crowded, but a few people who were locals told us about it. Most of the path is pretty rocky which slows you down a little, but overall not too difficult. The waterfall didn’t have a very heavy flow but was still a hidden gem, especially in the middle of so much desert. We hiked it at sunset which made it even more beautiful and magical. Definitely recommend as a relatively quick but very rewarding day hike!

View user's profile page
Stephanie Druktenis
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 30, 2018
Hiking

I had to walk in from the Scenic park road as all gates were secured. The walk is around a mile to the trailhead. Nothing is difficult about this hike aside from the really uneven rocky ground. (Watch your ankles) I hiked 12-29-18. No snow. The waterfall was AMAZING.

View user's profile page
Becky Adams
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 28, 2018
Hiking

We have hiked about 10 of the trails at BB. This is one of the better hikes. It is easy, with one area of steep incline. The rest is a gradual incline. It took us 2.2 hours, with a 15 minute break at the falls (it was still flowing). AllTrails quit working so we just followed the rock trail. Super easy. If you have weak ankles, wear your boots, it saved my ankle a couple of times.

View user's profile page
JoannLarry Pratka
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 23, 2018

One of my favorite trails. If you’re not sure how to get there, ask someone at the visitor’s center. It’s not on the map. It’s a short hike with a big payoff! He waterfall is still flowing good!

View user's profile page
Valerie Gordon
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 8, 2018

Wonderful hike in from the road. gate closed. round trip 7.78 mile hike. well worth the time!

View user's profile page
June Harding
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 30, 2018

Beautiful place that is polluted. Trail is pretty easy. Very sad that the water is so polluted. We were there after the big storm last week. Water was super sudsy. Awful feeling that people have been abusing this place by wading in it. Picked up trash we found and left. Should be be an oasis for all to view. Please obey the signs and stay out of the water

View user's profile page
Angie Hager
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 30, 2018

Fantastic, not heavily trafficked trail. Good mix of sights, elevation changes, and then the big payoff: spectacular waterfall.

View user's profile page
Hilery Hill
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 27, 2018
Hiking

Hidden gem in Big Bend! So worth the hike in the sun. Water was clear and cold. Spectacular waterfall with the recent rains.

View user's profile page
Janae' Denman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 4, 2018

We hikes this trail last weekend and loved the amazing waterfall view. There was a large rainstorm the night before and a local said it was the waterfall was the fullest he had ever seen in twenty years. That being said, I can’t speak for this trail on an average day but I can imagine any water in the desert would be well worth it. Also, the road is permanently closed so you can expect to hike closer to 5-6 miles rather than three

View user's profile page
David Taylor
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 19, 2018

what a beautiful trail. longer than usual as the gate from Ross Maxwell scenic drive was closed. rest in the lush green Oasis prior to the final hike up to the falls was sublime. caught sight of a golden eagle soaring in the warm air uplift in the cliffs. kids 7 and 9 enjoyed every step. quiet trail when the gate is closed.

View user's profile page
Emily Cloninger
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarApril 19, 2018
Hiking

Beautiful hike, however watch out for the African honey bees who have made the arroyos their home! There were so many buzzing above us that we couldn’t go to the end of the trail. Better safe than sorry with those aggressive bees!

View user's profile page
Todd Fitzgerald
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 28, 2018
Hiking

Always my favorite trail at the Bend.

View user's profile page
Conley Vicki
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 2, 2018

lovely even though the waterfall was flowing slowly. very green and lush. quite a surprise after the desert hike.

View user's profile page
Pink Lynx
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarDecember 16, 2017
Hiking
First to Review

Fun trail, interesting views of different landscapes. I didn't see any wildlife but I was very glad to have my bear bells jingling on my pack- especially where the vegetation is very dense and lush nearer to the falls. The dirt road is now gated so we parked and started from the main road.

View user's profile page
Rita Frost
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMarch 19, 2020
Hiking
View Rita's Recording
View user's profile page
Shane Hall
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 11, 2020
Hiking
View Shane's Recording
View user's profile page
Martin Gonzalez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 11, 2020
Hiking
View Martin's Recording
View user's profile page
Liz Johnson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 29, 2020
Hiking
View Liz's Recording
Showing results 1 - 30 of 70