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[Map] 5 Best Big Bend Hiking Trails

Big Bend National Park located in southwest Texas features the entire Chisos Mountain Range and the Chihuahuan Desert. Home to unique desert wildlife and stunning geological history, the mountain and river landscape offers miles of year-round hiking opportunities. With bare rocky ground and the largest expanse of road-free public lands in Texas, Big Bend is a desert hiker’s paradise. These are the best hiking trails for expert level hikers looking for a challenging day hike.


Marufo Vega Loop Trail


This strenuous hike rewards hikers with spectacular views as you descend into Boquillas Canyon from the Marufo Vega trailhead. Be prepared for little shade, no water and a trail that is not always clearly defined. Temperatures can exceed 100 degrees. This trail is not recommended for inexperienced hikers, especially in late spring and summer.

Emory Peak 10.5 miles


Hike to Emory Peak from the Chisos Basin Trailhead. Take the Pinnacles Trail for about 3.5 miles until you reach the junction for Emory Peak Trail. As you hike to the peak, you’ll experience beautiful vistas and rocky terrain before elevation begins to climb and the trail gets steep. Not up for rock climbing? Then you probably won’t make it to the top of Emory Peak. But it’s worth conquering your fears if you want to witness the views from the highest point in the Chisos Mountains.


South Rim 12.5 miles


Getting to the top of the South Rim requires challenging switchbacks and a 2,000-foot elevation climb if you follow the Laguna Meadows Trail. As you slowly make your way up, don’t forget to look back at the view. Reward your hard work with stunning views at the Blue Creek Lookout down the canyon.

Hot Springs Canyon Trail 5.5 miles


You’ll know you’ve reached the hot spring when you see a pool of water enclosed in a brick border. It’s only about a half-mile from the trailhead. If you decide to keep following the trail, you’ll hike close to the Rio Grande along a plateau with beautiful views of the Chisos Mountains. The unusual hot springs experience and Native American carvings along the way make this one of the best hikes in Big Bend.


Santa Elena Canyon Trail 1.7 miles


One of the most popular hikes in Big Bend, this hike is shorter in miles but comes with big stunning views. After crossing the creek, make your way up to the vista by way of switchbacks. Then descend into the canyon and follow the riverbank. At the end of the trail, you might spot some canoers paddling their way further into the canyon.

Discover the beauty and pride of Texas with a trip to Big Bend Resort and Adventures, located in Terlingua Texas, just three miles from Big Bend National Park. With lodging and activities, you’ll find everything you need to reconnect with nature. Book your room today!


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