#24 of 61 national parks in United States of America

Best Trails in Big Bend National Park

13,844 Reviews
Want to find the best trails in Big Bend National Park for an adventurous hike or a family trip? AllTrails has 78 great hiking trails, biking trails, running trails and more. Enjoy hand-curated trail maps, along with reviews and photos from nature lovers like you. Ready for your next hike or bike ride? Explore one of 32 easy hiking trails in Big Bend National Park that are great for the whole family. Looking for a more strenuous hike? We've got you covered, with trails ranging from 0 to 2,458 meters in elevation gain. Whatever you have planned for the day, you can find the perfect trail for your next trip to Big Bend National Park.
Description

Named for the Bend of the Rio Grande along the USA Mexico, this park has part of the Chihuahuan Desert, ancient fossils, and cultural artifacts of Native Americans. The park encompasses canyons, rivers, desert, and forest. Entrance Passes All federal lands passes are issued and accepted at Big Bend National Park. Passes are non-transferable. Vehicle: $30 Admits one private, non-commercial vehicle (15 passenger capacity or less); valid for 7 days. Motorcycle: $25 Admits one non-commercial motorcycle; valid for 7 days. Individuals: $15 Admits one individual. Typically used for bicyclists and pedestrians; valid for 7 days. Big Bend Annual Pass: $55 (good for one year from purchase date) Covers entrance fees to Big Bend National Park. Pass is available at Big Bend National Park entrance stations or any Visitor Center. Pass is non-transferable. Non-commercial groups: Organized groups such as Scouts, youth groups, churches, reunions, clubs, etc. that do not qualify for an academic fee waiver are charged as follows: $30 per non-commercial vehicle with a capacity of 15 or less. $15 per person traveling in a non-commercial vehicle with a capacity of 16 or more. Fees will not exceed the commercial rate for the same sized vehicle. Youth 15 and younger are free. Individuals or families with a valid annual or lifetime pass may use their pass for themselves and up to 3 others. Commercial Groups: Companies conducting business in the park are required to obtain a commercial use authorization. The only exception is companies travelling in a 26 person capacity or greater vehicle; such vehicles are charged a flat fee of $200 (commercial use authorization not required). Educational Groups: Groups entering the park for education purposed are encouraged to check the academic fee waiver for application and qualification information. CAMPING FEES Developed Campgrounds The National Park Service operates three developed frontcountry campgrounds; Rio Grande Village Campground, Chisos Basin Campground, and Cottonwood Campground. The cost is $16 per night per site ($8 per night with Senior or Access pass). Campground Reservations Approximately 2/3 of the campsites at Rio Grande Village and Chisos Basin campgrounds are reservable up to 6 months in advance. Reservations may be made at www.recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777. Big Bend National Park cannot make reservations. More information about reserving campsites. Backcountry Campsites Backcountry campsites require a $10 per night backcountry use permit ($5 with a Senior or Access pass), which must be acquired in person at either the Panther Junction or Chisos Basin visitor centers during normal business hours. Learn more about Backcountry Camping. Park Entrances Park entrances are open 24 hours daily, all year. Entrance fee stations have variable seasons and hours. Arriving After Hours Park entrances are always open and you can arrive at any hour, but entrance fee stations and visitor centers may be closed after normal business hours. The three main park campgrounds are always open (pending site availability); self register at the campground entrance. Lodge guests should contact the lodge if arriving after business hours. Visitor Centers: Panther Junction Open daily, 8:30 am–5:00 pm. Reduced hours on Christmas day. (open 8:30 am - 1:00 pm) Chisos Basin Open daily, 8:30 am–4:00 pm. Closed for lunch. Reduced hours on Christmas day. (open 8:30 am - 1:00 pm) Persimmon Gap Open seasonally, November 1 - April 30, 10:00 am-4:00 pm. Closed for lunch. Castolon Open seasonally, November 1 - April 30, 10:00 am-4:00 pm. Closed for lunch. Rio Grande Village Open seasonally, November 1 - April 30, 9:00 am–4:30 pm. Closed for lunch. Accessibility: For accessible trails and facilities information for those with disabilities or using equipment such as strollers, please visit: https://www.nps.gov/bibe/planyourvisit/accessibility.htm

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Map of trails in Big Bend National Park
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Park information
Area:
324,219 hectares
Contact
432-477-2251
Top trails (78)
Lost Mine Trail
#1 - Lost Mine Trail
Big Bend National Park
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow Star(2128)
Length: 7.7 km • Est. 2h 42m
The Lost Mine trail serves as an outstanding introduction to the flora and fauna of the Chisos Mountains, only 1 mile into the hike there is a saddle offering great views of Casa Grande, Juniper Canyon, and the greater Chisos basin. The remainder of the trail climbs steeply from the parking lot going in and out of juniper, oak, and pine forest. The trail abruptly levels out at the ridge with superb views of Pine Canyon and the Sierra del Carmen in Mexico. At just under 5 miles round trip, this has to be one of the best short day hikes in Big Bend. Be sure to bring water and snacks and arrive early as the parking fills up quickly here.Show more
The Window Trail
#2 - The Window Trail
Big Bend National Park
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(1918)
Length: 8.4 km • Est. 2h 44m
The Window Trail begins near the Chisos Basin Lodge, descending 800 feet over about two miles through rolling hills and vertical rock walls to a narrow pour-off, which overlooks the surrounding Chihuahuan Desert. The trail is usually dry, but the pour-off area is very dangerous during flash floods.Show more
Santa Elena Canyon Trail
#3 - Santa Elena Canyon Trail
Big Bend National Park
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(1357)
Length: 2.3 km • Est. 39m
This trail begins at the end of the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive at a paved parkng area. Although a short trail, it is one of the grandest spectacles in the park. After crossing Terlingua Creek, the trail climbs several short switchbacks and then gradually descends along the banks of the Rio Grande. Hikers are surrounded by lush riparian vegetation and 1,500-foot towering vertical cliffs of solid limestone. The trail ends where canyon walls meet the river. Take a lunch and enjoy the scene. The average time to completion is 1 hour. Following rains, flash floods, or periods of high water, Terlingua creek can be impassable, effectively closing the trail.Show more
Emory Peak via South Rim Trail and Boot Springs Trail
#4 - Emory Peak via South Rim Trail and Boot Springs Trail
Big Bend National Park
hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow Star(909)
Length: 24.5 km • Est. 8h 16m
This hike features stunning 360-degree views on top of Emory Peak! Choose to go either clockwise or counterclockwise- If going clockwise, the elevation gain and hardest parts will be at the beginning. If going counterclockwise, you will climb Emory Peak trail after 10 miles under your feet but will have more seclusion in the beginning section. The rock scramble up to the top will put you at the highest point in the canyon, and the views of the Chisos Mountains are note-worthy. The viewpoint on the south rim trail is absolutely stunning and some even suggest better than Emory Peak itself! The last push up to the peak can be steep and you may have to scramble- it is highly recommended to bring hiking poles for this section. This is one of the best hikes in Big Bend National Park if you wish to view wildlife, namely black bears, and like the “exposed” feeling of being up on the rocky summit. Show more
Emory Peak Trail
#5 - Emory Peak Trail
Big Bend National Park
hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow Star(889)
Length: 16.7 km • Est. 5h 54m
This is challenging and technical a roundtrip hike to the highest point in Big Bend National Park (7,832'). The last 25 feet require a scramble up a sheer rock wall, but your reward is the ultimate panoramic view! From the Basin Trailhead take the Pinnacles trail for 3.5 miles. At this point, the one mile trail to the summit cuts off and heads upward. For fantastic views and solitude, this trail is hard to beat! Most hikers require approximately 5-6 hours for the roundtrip journey.Show more
Balanced Rock via Grapevine Hills Trail
#6 - Balanced Rock via Grapevine Hills Trail
Big Bend National Park
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(865)
Length: 3.2 km • Est. 58m
The trail leads to a group of balanced rocks in the heart of Grapevine Hills. This is a great hike for families with kids. Initially, the trail follows a gravel wash, then climbs steeply for the last quarter mile into the boulders. The last section requires crossing steep, rough bedrock, and negotiating a challenging landscape of boulders. Stay on the trail, and watch carefully for the directional arrows that point the way to the balanced rock. Use extreme caution, especially coming back down. Grapevine Hills is an exposed laccolith, with many giant rounded boulders. These boulders are tempting to climb, but it is important to watch out for snakes who like to hang out in their protective shade. Please take extra caution on the climb back down, as the rocks are covered with a loose layer of sand and gravel that makes for a slippery descent. Park rangers regularly respond to foot/leg/ankle injuries on this trail. There is no shade anywhere along this desert trail. A dirt parking lot at the trailhead provides parking for about ten vehicles. Hike Smart Bring plenty of water! Show more
Boquillas Canyon Trail
#7 - Boquillas Canyon Trail
Big Bend National Park
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(587)
Length: 1.9 km • Est. 38m
A beautiful canyon on the Rio Grande. The trail starts in a parking area at the end of the Boquillas Canyon spur road, and climbs over a low hill and drops down to the river. You can spot fossils in the rock from when this area when under an ocean. The sunsets are fantastic for photography. In the summertime, the temps can get to 110 degrees F so it is best to hike in the early morning or late afternoons. The average time to completion for this trail is 1 hour. No pets are allowed. Show more
Window View Trail
#8 - Window View Trail
Big Bend National Park
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(278)
Length: 0.6 km • Est. 10m
This is a short, nearly level paved trail with a great view of "The Window" formation and the Chisos Mountains. The average time to completion is 30 minutes. Pets are not allowed. Accessibility: There are at least 9 designated accessible spaces in the paved parking lot off of Basin Junction at the east end of the trail. All of them are van-accessible with striped access aisles. The trail surface is paved concrete and smooth. It is typically at least 5 feet wide. The majority of the trail is estimated to be in the flat (1% or less) grade category. At the end of the trail is a gentle downward slope. This trail will likely be navigable for most wheelchairs/mobility equipment or stroller users. There are benches along the route for resting. According to the park website, this trail is wheelchair-accessible. Show more
Big Bend Hot Springs Trail
#9 - Big Bend Hot Springs Trail
Big Bend National Park
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(184)
Length: 1.9 km • Est. 35m
This trail offers an opportunity to step back in time and experience Big Bend before it became a national park. A short distance from the trailhead are the historic remains of J.O. Langford's Hot Springs resort which include a picturesque building that was the store and post office, as well as a motor court that accommodated overnight guests. A quarter mile further down the trail is the actual hot spring, contained within the stone walls of what was Langford’s bath house. Between the motor court and the spring, one can view ancient pictographs that were drawn by people who lived here thousands of years ago. At this point you can either retrace your steps to the parking lot, or complete the loop by following the trail for another 0.25 mile to a marked junction. Turn left and climb the rise to the of the hill for a great view before dropping back down to the parking lot.Show more
Laguna Meadow Trail
#10 - Laguna Meadow Trail
Big Bend National Park
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(280)
Length: 12.6 km • Est. 4h 20m
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