Explore the most popular walking trails near 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
11 days ago

The best thing you can say about it - it's accessible. Very short walk through a garden of cacti.

scenic driving
11 days ago

The road is graded gravel & we saw 3 cars coming out of it, so we took a chance. Besides some birds, we saw no other wildlife. Just the cacti. It was interesting to be among the cacti & be a part of the desert (if you can do that in a car).
After about 5 miles the road got really bad - huge washouts & potholes. A car pulling an RPOD passed us going out. We think they were actually camping back there! The campgrounds were full the night before.

hiking
11 days ago

Completely useless trail. There is NO view of the Rio Grande. The view is only ok. Put it last on your list.

A short walk in the desert. I hesitate to recommend it to families however, because there's a lot of cacti surrounding the trail. If you take your kids beware. This hike is at Dugout Wells picnic area & it's a neat place. We walked the paths in the oasis as well.

The trail is very short, but your kids will like it. The fossil display is great! Very well done.

Not one of my favorites, but an ok trail. Good for families. You can't get into the canyon like the Santa Elena canyon trail. Also, you have to fend off a persistent Jesus "the singing Mexican".

A ranger told my husband this was his favorite trail. Very easy to find. Just drive through the campground to site 18. park on the side of the road. I liked the small wetland you walk through & the hike around the hill was great too. Views of the Rio Grande & Mexico. Great family hike.
This was a popular place at sunset. Everyone camping there walks up the hill for a great view.

hiking
12 days ago

Paved & accessible, this is just a .3 loop to see the window. Has a bench & lots of information boards. Nice to see if you don't have the time or inclination to take the longer trail.

Easy trail. There's some historical buildings & some pictographs up on the side of a cliff. The hot spring is ...well not my cuppa. It had about 8 guys drinking beer in it. Just......no. Enjoyed the trail. It's good for families with small children. Just don't let them near that cesspool - oops - hot spring!
The drive there is nerve racking. The road is gravel & halfway there splits. You're driving on a narrow gravel one way road through a ravine until it comes together again. The parking lot is generous, but was full when we went on a late Sun afternoon in April.

awesome trail to hike... bring lots of water, it gets hot

hiking
1 month ago

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!

1 month ago

More of a walk than a hike, but beautiful views particularly at sunset.

Hiked with a couple friends and we enjoyed being alongside the river.

Really well designed building at the fossil exhibit.

Starts at the hot springs and leads to rio grand “village” which is actually just a picnic area. Can also be done in reverse but we wanted to finish and take a dip in the hot spring which was a treat. Be sure to bring a lot of water! There is no shade on this trail whatsoever. Great views of the river and canyon and across the river to Mexico!

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.

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.

This was a fun hike for the kids. Lots of big rocks to climb over. Started to get a little warm in the afternoon sun but that is to be expected

Nice walk to introduce you to the plant life you will see around Big Bend.

Not really a hike. Just a walk to a sign where you can’t really even see the river. The landscape is beautiful but was hoping to see the river.

This was a great hike and our kids (6 and 9 years old) loved running through the canyon. We decided to hike up and out of the canyon at the end rather than backtrack. The rock was a little loose but we all made it up to the road without incident.

on Pine Canyon Trail

2 months ago

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

Enjoyable enough..a little too crowded for my taste, but worth enjoying the hot spring :)

hiking
2 months ago

Easy trail. Perfect for those with mobility difficulties. Location near restaurant and store make it a great pre-or post-meal walk. View at sunset unbeatable.

Loved this off-road trail. Very pretty in February.

hiking
2 months ago

This trail is NOT moderate, and is extremely difficult and can be very dangerous for the inexperienced or anybody does not go in the Nov-Mar timeframe. Very high failure rate due to the challenging terrain, heavy water carry, and elevation changes.

I think the route that includes the Chisos Basin may be more common, look for the other trail that says "includes pinnacles".

Strongly recommend you don't do this without including the South Rim which is the best view in the area.

interesting place to see..

We stopped short of The Hot Springs to enjoy the Rio Grande on our own. Even in February it was warm. As with all trails in this region you need plenty of water. Take a day pack with river shoes and a swim suit.

Great spot to sit and soak in the Rio Grande. Cool history. Pretty sunsets.

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