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Big Views on Desert Hikes!

ChihuahuanDesert Hiking

There are many miles of trails and paths in the Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park.  We will customize the trip to your desires of easy walking to challenging hikes. Listed below are some of our favorite trails, but we will be glad to guide you on many other trails.       

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Basic Itinerary for a Day Hike

  • 9:00 a.m. Meet in Terlingua, Texas

  • 9:30 a.m. Arrive at trail head

  • 12:00 p.m. Enjoy lunch at a scenic overlook

  • 3:00-5:00 p.m. Finish hike and return to Terlingua, TX

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Lost Mine Trail

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This classic Big Bend hike is 4.8 miles round trip and  gains 1300' in elevation to the top of Lost Mine peak in the Chisos Mountains. This trail offers outstanding views while meandering though oak, juniper, and pinyon pine forests. 

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South Rim and Laguna Meadows

This trail climbs steadily  with amazing views of the Chisos Basin and the Window until it reaches the grassy flats of Laguna Meadows. Return back or continue on to the South Rim. From the rim enjoy impressive views into Mexico. This 7-13 mile hike is rated as challenging due to 1,600 foot elevation gain.  

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Hot Springs - Hike and Soak

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This trail passes an old general store and motor court dating back to the 1910’s when J.O Langford homesteaded this land. Several pictographs and petroglyphs line the rock cliff walls beyond the homestead.   This is a  6 mile hike rated as moderate, due to little shade and uneven terrain. 

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Backpacking   Adventures

So here is a short list of our favorite hikes in the Big Bend.  All mileage is round trip. My favorites are at the beginning!

*Lost Mine- 4.8 miles, goes to the top of a mountain with sweeping views into Mexico.
*Santa Elena Canyon- 1.8 miles, goes about a half a mile back into the canyon.
*Boquillas Canyon- 1.6 miles, on this trail Mexicans from Boquillas, Mexico, across the border will have souvenirs for sale.  You can also stop at the Boquillas village overlook on the way to the trailhead.
Consider hiking the Rio Grande Village Nature Loop- 1 mile, if you are hiking Boquillas Canyon. It goes through a spring fed laguna with amazing bird watching.
*Window- 3.6 miles if you start at the campground or 5.8 if you start at the visitor center.  This trail descends to the bottom of the window into a small slot canyon at the end. It is all uphill on the way home.
*Lower Burro Mesa Pouroff- 1 mile down an arroyo that has pretty colorful banded rock walls to a dry waterfall.
*Mule Ear Springs- 4 miles, througn volcanic rock to a little seeping spring.

For higher mileage:
*South Rim- 11.5 out and back or 12.5 if you make the Laguna Meadows and Pinnacles trail loop.  This trail takes you to the edge of a cliff with phenomenal views. 
*Emory Peak- 10.6 miles to the top of the tallest mountain in the Big Bend.  Great views but know there is a rock scramble to get on top of the mountain. 

Big Bend Ranch State Park:
*Closed Canyon- 2 miles into a narrow slot canyon. (This trail is close to the Hoodoos.)
*Hoodoos- 1.8 miles loop trail to big mushroom shaped balanced rocks down by the river.
*Fresno Divide Trail- varying lengths as you can make a loop (8 miles) and connect with other trails. Open mountainous views.

We could go on and on..... don't see a trail here that you want to know more about? Give us a call or send us an email and we will be glad to tell you what we think!

A great way to truly immerse yourself in the wild landscapes of the Big Bend is to travel by foot. Get off the grid and into the wild on an overnight backpacking trip.

There are several famous backpacking loops in the Big Bend: South Rim, Rancherias Loop, Mesa de Anguilla, and the Outer Mountain Loop. Numerous other options are imaginable.

Custom trips to suit your specific desires and physical conditions. We will supply all the gear needed, including food. $175/ day/ person

Most of our overnight trips take place in the Chisos Mountains in Big Bend National Park.  Our favorite trip is a 3 day adventure called the South Rim Loop. The first day we hike 5 miles to camp near Boot Spring, the only reliable spring.  In the Chisos, we stay at designated (and reserved) backcountry campsites.  This hike is up the Laguna Meadows trail that has beautiful views down into the Chisos Basin and out the Window with an elevation gain of around 1,300 feet.  On day 2 we hike the Colima, South Rim, and East Rim trail to make a 6 mile loop.  If time and desires warrant more hiking, then we go down the Juniper Canyon trail as well.  This is a stunning loop as the South Rim boasts spanning views across the Chihuahuan Desert into Mexico with no man made objects in sight.  Some say it is the best view in Texas and we would agree.  This night we have the option of camping in the same campsite and could have left our tents, etc. there or we can change campsites but will be in the same area next to the spring.  On day 3 we hike the Boot Canyon trail to the Emory Peak Spur trail.  We hike Emory Peak, the tallest mountain in the Chisos, and then head down the Pinnacles trail for a total of 7 miles. This trip can be completed in 2 days by just omitting day 2, we call it the High Mountain Loop. 

Another great option is the Marufa Vega loop trail, 14 miles, 2 day trip. This hike starts on the desert floor, climbs to the Rim of Boquillas Canyon, then descends, steeply in a few sections, to the Rio Grande in the canyon where we camp alongside the river.

For higher mileage, we love to backpack to the entrance of Santa Elena Canyon, 16 miles, 2 days. This trail starts in the low desert, follows the Mesa de Anguilla trail to the rim of Santa Elena Canyon, then descends to the Rio Grande, where we camp riverside. This trail is longer than the Marufa Vega, but easier hiking. 

You will be travelling with a local expert with many stories to be told along the way.  If you have any of your own equipment, you are more than welcome to bring and use it.  Just let us know so we don't double pack the gear.  Also if you have any dietary preferences, we can accommodate you with advanced notice.

 

The price of the trip is $175 per day per person.

 

There is something about hitting the trail with nothing more than life's necessities on your back. To determine what you need to bring on the trip is largely due to what the weather forecast has in store. Some last minute adjustments may be needed.

 

Items that we will provide are:

  • Navigation: map, compass, personal locator beacon, satellite phone

  • First aid, Water Filter and Collapsible water container, Whistle

  • Stove and Fuel, Lighter/Matches, Camp Dishes including utensils and cup, Biodegradable Soap

  • Food, including snacks, let us know of dietary request

  • Backpack with Rain Cover, Tent, Sleeping Bag, Sleeping Pad (if you have your own and prefer to use them, that is great) 

Items for you to bring:

  • Water Bottles or Bladder to carry 1 gallon of water (water sources are scare in the Chihuahuan Desert) I often use Gatorade Bottles as a lightweight option

  • Headlamp or Flashlight

  • Sun Protection: Sunglasses, Hat, Sunscreen

  • Clothes: Moisture-wicking underwear, moisture-wicking T-shirt, Quick drying pants/shorts, Long-sleeve shirt, Lightweight fleece or jacket, socks (synthetic or wool) including a spare set of socks, and an extra layer of long underwear to wear at night  If you do not have a stuff sack for clothing, a pillow case works great, and can serve as your pillow.

  • Additional items for rainy/ and or cold weather: Rain Jacket or Poncho, Rain Pants, Long Underwear, Warm insulated jacket or vest, Fleece pants, Gloves or Mittens, Warm Hat 

  • Personal Hygiene: Toothpaste, Toothbrush, Floss, Hand Sanitizer, Toilet paper with a Ziploc bag to carry the used squares out (TP does not decompose in the desert)

  • Medications

  • Optional Items: Hiking Poles, Book or Magazine, Camp Shoes, Blow-up Pillow or just use some clothes rolled up, Powdered Drink Mix, Flask, Baby Wipes, Camera, Bandana 

Some items can be shared among the group, such as toothpaste, so make sure to work out the details with your hiking partners so you can lighten your load.