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Big Bend area
October 5-10, 2021

Hike the Big Bend Parks in West Texas

Posted March 22, 2021 by Susan Noonan

Hold the dates: October 5-10, 2021. Hike with an “altitude” over the Columbus Day weekend with the West Texas Trail Walkers (WTTW) in Big Bend, Texas. This marks our 40th year as a club hiking in the remote national and state parks in west Texas. The hikes this October are along the “Big Bend” of the Rio Grande River in one of the most isolated and ruggedly beautiful areas of America.  

Both the Big Bend National Park (BBNP) and the Big Bend Ranch State Park (BBRSP) are strictly limiting the size of group hikes due to the COVID 19 pandemic. To comply with these restrictions, WTTW will be offering 5 sanctioned walks that can be hiked any day, any time over the six days from October 5 through October 10. Sign-in one time at the registration tables, get your books stamped and then enjoy the week hiking the sanctioned trails in the national and state parks on your own. Registration hours are from 8:00 am to noon, October 5-9, 2021 at the Big Bend Resort and Adventures Motel meeting room. Saturday, October 10 registration is 8:00 am to noon at the motel's Party Barn. Don’t forget to come back for the Friday night Happy Hour and the Saturday BBQ dinner at the Big Bend Resort and Adventure Motel.

Balanced Rock, Helen Hull, Big Bend


  1. The Window Trail starts in the Chisos Basin, BBNP. It offers a scenic view of the desert flatlands to Mexico and the canyons along the Rio Grande River. The hike is 5k/10k and is moderately difficult.

  2. Blue Creek Trail begins at the Homer Wilson Ranch Overlook, BBNP. Distances are between 5k-20k. The first half of the trail is easy, but it becomes more difficult as you increase altitude. The trail is an out and back up the Blue Creek and winds along amazing geological formations. Another option is to start at the Chisos Basin on the Laguna Meadows trail, hike down this trail and connect with the Blue Creek Trail. A shuttle vehicle is required.

  3. Mule Ears Trail is off the Ross Maxwell Scenic Dr, BBNP. The trail is a moderate hike through rolling desert terrain with views of the majestic Mule Ears Peaks. The trail is 6k/10k out and back.

  4. Fresno Divide Trail begins at the West Contrabando trail head, BBRSP. It features geologic formations and ridges caused by volcanic activity and uplift action. Further erosion caused by wind and rain amplifies the beauty of the trail. A moderately difficult 14k loop or 6k/10k out and back are offered.

  5. Spectacular Shorties are easy to moderate hikes featuring a landmark in the Big Bend area. Participants can walk any or all of the trails for up to 22k in total. Two trails, Closed Canyon (3k) and Hoodoos (2k), are in the Big Bend Ranch State Park along the Rio Grande river on FM 170. The four trails in Big Bend National Park feature spectacular geologic features, historical ruins or scenic river views: Santa Elena Canyon (3k), Dorgan-Sublett Trail (2k), Lower Burro Mesa Pouroff (2k) and Balanced Rock (4k). The other short hikes are the Terlingua Ghost Town Walking Tour (3k) and the Indian Head Trail (3k) at the edge of the national park, near Big Bend Resort and Adventures motel.

Mule Ears, Sheri Logan, Berdelle Johnson

Make your lodging reservations from now to September 4 to secure the special pricing at the Big Bend Resort and Adventures Motel, 53623 TX-118, Terlingua, TX, 432-371-3382. Mention you are with WTTW to secure the $119 rate for a room with two queen beds and $109 for a single queen bed room (plus tax). For other lodging and camping options, please visit website www.visitbigbend.com. The flyer and pre-registrations forms will be available on our website in June 2021. For additional questions contact Susan Noonan, susan.noonan@gmail.com.

Alert! With the uncertainty about the COVID-19 pandemic, these hikes are subject to change or cancellation. Please keep checking our website for updates. Preregistration closes September 24, 2021.