Mule Ears - Smoky Creek Trail

MODERATE 21 reviews
#31 of 68 trails in

Mule Ears - Smoky Creek Trail is a 7 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Terlingua, Texas that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, birding, and horses and is accessible year-round. Horses are also able to use this trail.

7.0 miles
951 feet
Out & Back



horseback riding

nature trips




wild flowers



no dogs

Mule ears hike leads through the foothills of the Chisos Mountains, skirts Trap Mountain, and crosses several arroyos. Near the spring is an old rock corral. The spring itself is overgrown with shrubs, but ferns and cattails also grow there.

8 months ago

Even in the winter, it can be hot. We started out and the temperature was right around 45 degrees, but the time we connected with Smoky Creek Trail on the back side of Mule Ears, it was pushing 80+ degrees. The view of Mule Ears from where the trail drops down to meet Smoky Creek trail is well worth the hike.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Lots of desert.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Awesome looking terrain, very mars like due to the volcanics. Start early as it gets hot! Encountered a lot of flys in the spring

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Lots of down and up crossing washes. Typical desert flora. Nothing too interesting, besides the mule ears.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

(We only did the four-mile round trip to Mule Ears Spring and back.)

If you've ever driven through the desert without taking the time to actually get out and walk the desert floor, then try this one. It was wide open with almost zero shade. You must bring plenty of water and you MUST take hats and sunblock! I enjoyed being out on this hike only because there were no other people on it. They probably knew better, or someone told them at least, to avoid this one on a hot morning.

The spring at the turnaround point is pretty cool, though tiny. We sat on a rock in the midst of reeds and cattails and had dragonflies zooming around us constantly, while a frog sat in the middle of the spring below us waiting for prey to present itself.

I don't recommend this hike for people inclined to complain about the heat.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

We hiked this to try to get closer to the Mule Ears but it does not get much closer than the viewing spot by car. Desert hike with not a lot of variation in scenery.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Moderate hike across the desert floor, but ends at a tiny, beautiful oasis. Very cool hike.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Enjoyable hike, to see the ears up close. Like just about every hike in Big Bend, great views and great desert energy.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Mule Ears Spring is right at 2 miles down the trail. Beyond this, the trail leads to some scenic camping spots and eventually connects with the Smoky Creek trail. This is listed as a moderate hike, but it does not contain any technical climbs. A must do for first time Big Benders!

8 months ago

9 months ago

11 months ago

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Monday, December 14, 2015

Monday, March 23, 2015

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Sunday, November 13, 2011