West Texas Trail Walkers
HIKE WITH AN ALTITUDE
BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK
BIG BEND RANCH STATE PARK
October 5-10, 2021
Register at the Big Bend Resort and Adventures Motel
The meeting room is open 8 am to noon, October 5-8 and 8 am to noon, October 9 at The Party Barn. You can hike any of the sanctioned walks on any day at anytime as long as it is between dawn and dusk. Stamp your books when you register.
At time of publication, Big Bend National Park is under COVID-19 restrictions and limiting groups to no more than 12 people.
The Window Trail BBNP
Tom Spencer Memorial Walk*
Trail Start: Chisos Basin parking lot
Walk Director: Susan Medlin
Distance/Rating: 5k,10k - 2B
Highlights: Lovely canyon walk on well groomed trail. Stone stairs sequence after 4k leading you to The Window. Awesome view from The Window.
Trail Description: Primarily packed dirt trail, stone steps when you approach the window. The initial descent into the canyon means you will have to climb back up to finish your walk.
Restrooms: Restrooms at the lodge.
* In memory of Tom Spencer, the founder of WTTW who passed away in 2020.
Blue Creek Trail BBNP
Jerry Stovall Memorial Walk*
Trail Start: Option one, start at Homer Wilson Ranch Overlook for 5/10k out and back. Option two, start on Laguna Meadows trail in the Chisos Basin for the 15k one-way hike. The Laguna Meadows trail connects
with the Blue Creek Trail. A shuttle vehicle staged at Homer Wilson Ranch Overlook is necessary for this option.
Walk Director: Dianne Duke
Distance/Rating: 5k - 1C (430 ft elev. gain); 10k - 2C (1115 ft gain); 15k - 4C (1885 ft gain)
Highlights: Red rock, canyon views of Chisos Mountain and Santa Elena Canyon
Trail Description: The Blue Creek traverses several plant zones: dry desert grasslands, oak-covered canyon bottom, sotol grasslands and high woodlands. About a mile from the Homer Wilson Ranch Overlook, all hikers will pass through some of the most colorful red rock formations in the park. The trail is very steep for the 15k distance. If the trail gets too steep, please turn around.
Restrooms: Sotol Vista (1/4 mile beyond the overlook)
* In memory of Jerry Stovall, long-time member and director who passed away in 2020.
Mule Ears Trail BBNP
Trail Start: Mule Ears Trailhead
Walk Directors: Berdelle Johnson
Distance/Rating: 6k,10k - 2C with 566 ft elev. gain
Highlights: Stunning views of Mule Ears peak. Lush springs.
Trail Description: The Mule Ears trail skirts the south slope of Trap Mountain winding through dry washes and across rolling desert terrain. The 6k turn-around is near ranch ruins and the lush Mule Ears Springs. The 10k continues toward Smokey Creek and along the backside of Mule Ears. The turn- around is at a high point where you can see Smokey Creek. Both distances provide stunning views of the Mule Ears Peak.
Restrooms: Stop at Sotol Vista
Fresno Canyon Area Trail Big Bend Ranch SP
Trail Start: West Contrabando Trailhead
Walk Director: Helen Hull
Distance/Rating: 6k, 10k, 14k - 3C
Highlights: Follow the Fresno Creek through desert scrub lands with stunning views of the Bofecillos Mountains and the Contrabando Dome. Vegetation along the trail is typical of the Chihuahuan Desert.
Trail Description: 5k and 10k trails are out-and-back while the 14k will follow the West Main Trail, Dome Trail, and return via the Fresno Divide Trail forming a loop. Trail gradually climbs a total of 725 feet passing ruins of several ranches and mines.
Restrooms: Porta-potty available at trailhead.
Spectacular Shorties - Big Bend Area
Start Point: Big Bend Resort Motel
Walk Director: Susan Noonan
Distance/Rating: 22k combined - Range from 1B to 2B. Easier walks on packed dirt trails. Download Directions here
Indian Head Trail (3k), BBNP: A lesser known trail but well worth your time. The trail start is less than 2 miles from motel at the edge of BBNP. Explore the rock boulders and Indian petroglyphs.
Closed Canyon (3k) and Hoodoos (2k), BBRSP: Along the Rio Grande river on FM 170. The scenic drive on FM 170 is considered one of the most beautiful drives in America and should not be missed. Closed Canyon is a slot canyon. Turn around when the canyon becomes too narrow or difficult. Explore the rock formations and the Rio Grand riverbank on the Hoodoo trail.
Terlingua Ghost Town Walk (3k): Once home to 2000 people, Terlingua was a thriving mercury mining town. Abandoned in the 40's, to be repopulated in the 70's. Now it is an active community of artists, musicians, and free thinkers.
Santa Elena Canyon(3k), Dorgan-Sublett Trail(2k) and Lower Burro Mesa Pour Off (2k): These can be reached off Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive in BBNP. Santa Elena is the more difficult hike but rewards you with stunning views of the canyon and Rio Grande. Dorgan-Sublett features historical ruins while the Bura Mesa Pour Off features the power of water to erode into a geological feature.
Balanced Rock (4k): Off the gravel Grapevine Hills Rd in BBNP. The trail ends with the boulders of the “Balanced Rock.”
Host Hotel: Big Bend Resort & Adventures
Hwy 118 @ Hwy 170, Terlinqua, TX 79852
$109 plus tax for single queen or $119 plus tax for a double queen room. Rate available until September 4, 2021. There are many other lodging options (casitas, condos, homes, camping) available in the Big Bend area. visitbigbend.com.
Friday, October 8 @ 5 pm
Big Bend Resort and Adventures Meeting Room
BYOB and snacks. Open to everyone.
Saturday, October 9 @ 7 pm
Party Barn @ Big Bend Resort & Adventures
Hwy 118 @ 170, Terlingua -- Look for the Windmill
Allow one hour driving time from the Basin.
Cost is $25.
Menu: BBQ brisket, chicken breast, potato salad, mixed green salad, black beans, dinner rolls, cobbler, iced tea or lemonade. BYOB.
Featured presentation from a Bid Bend State Park ranger. Open to Everyone.
Annual Business Meeting
Sunday, October 10 @ 2 pm
Campground, Big Bend Resort and Adventures
Participation is entirely optional. We will be electing a board member and conducting mandatory business. The campground is behind the main building and lobby. Look for the WTTW banner.
In order to obtain a special-use permit from the national park service we have to obey national park regulations and not exchange money in the park. That means you must register by mail. Registrations must be postmarked by September 24, 2021.