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Big Bend - Basin Loop

Trail (2.86)10
(1.85) (2.45)
1.75 Miles 350 Feet
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$20.00 More Info
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Getting there: The easiest starting point is just a stone's throw from the Chisos Mountain Lodge parking lot. Near the start you'll find a large wooden sign with arrows pointing in various directions towards the trails that start near that point. Go in the direction of Laguna Meadow or South Rim.

A view along the trail. Note the steel sign with punched out letters at the fork in the road. Pardon the less then clear pictures. A smudge on the lens was not discovered until after the trip!
The Hike: With the exception of the Window View Trail the Basin Loop Trail is one of the easiest to be found in the Chisos Basin. This short hike will provide ample opportunity to observe the unique Chisos environment.

The trailhead begins at the waypoint marked "Trailhead". The large wooden sign here points in various directions to the trails that originate from this point. The trail heads to the southwest, mostly following the contour of the land, so the going here is fairly easy. If the moderate elevation gain later in the hike is not to your liking you can always turn back and return via the same route.

The trail will largely consist of gravel and packed dirt with some rocky sections. There are only a few places in which you need to make choices about turns and forks in the trail. One of them is at the first waypoint marked "Y-Left" at the westernmost point in the hike. These intersections typically have metal signs with directions punched out of them. The punched out letters are difficult to deface and fairly rugged when it comes to the weather. There should be little trouble with finding your way along the trail.

The Window is the notch in the rock centered here. The entire Chisos Basin drains through this one spot.
Despite being close to the Chisos Mountain Lodge there are plenty of plants and animals to observe. The year of our visit was a good one for Century Plants and there were plenty of them along the trail, some already fallen after pollinating. Just a couple of days before our hike a Mountain Lion had been spotted near, but not exactly on, this trail.

Vernon Bailey Peak in the distance. The Window is the notch to its left obscured by foliage.
The first noticable elevation gain occurs after the first "Y-Left" waypoint. While fairly mild, the climb fatigued us a bit since we had already hiked a great deal of the day and we were squeezing this hike in before the day was through.

At the second "Y-Left" waypoint a steady descent back to the trailhead begins. There is a steep section in right before the waypoint "Employee Housing". If the slope is too steep there are steps cut into the slope on the left side.

Eventually the trail rejoins the path taken on the trip out and it's a short distance back to the trailhead and the Chisos Mountain Lodge.


Trailhead This is the sign at the trailhead. (Photo by Lone_Star) Deer Deer can sometimes be spotted when dusk approaches. (Photo by Lone_Star) Nice Views Classic Big Bend. (Photo by Lone_Star)

Log Entries

Easy Hike - Nice view of The Window
By gbarto on 3/3/2016
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 1.75 Miles Duration: 40 minutes

Nice quick hike as you wait to view the sunset through The Window. My wife and I saw some deer in the trail and saw some different types of droppings so obviously some wildlife in the area. Pretty good view of The Window and some nice shade from good size trees.

nice short hike
By jimmy peace on 5/29/2015
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 2.00 Miles Duration: N/A

hiked this on saturday of last week 

By mtuncap1955 on 3/23/2015
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 2.00 Miles Duration: N/A

Easy 2 miles completed after hiking the Windows trail and lunch.

Nice short loop
By texaskdog on 7/17/2009
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 2.00 Miles Duration: 40 minutes
A Nice, Short Nature Trail
By Lone_Star on 3/9/2008
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 1.50 Miles Duration: 30 minutes

If you want a short, but beautiful hike that will give you a taste of the Chisos Mts without spending a lot of time or energy hiking the longer trails, then this is the trail for you.  Good for kids, elderly and non-hikers that want a breath of nature.

Consider it as an appetizer.  If you like this trail, then consider going for the longer trails later.

Interesting but not a do-over
By riverrat on 1/2/2008
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 1.75 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Had a few nice views of the surrounding mountains. Interesting changes in plants. No wildlife seen but ddefinitely heard something in a canyon area. Kept walking since it sounded big! Most traffic was hikers either going on up or coming back down from Emory. Admired their stamina to go the pace they were going with the loads they were carrying.

Nice evening or early morning stroll
By SA68AG on 4/17/2004
Rating: N/A Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 1.75 Miles Duration: N/A
Not a destination hike but if you're staying in the Chiso Mountains lodge it's a nice place to take a stroll after dinner. Or if you are a non-hiker it's a way to get a feel for the area without leaving sight of civilization
Easy hike around the basin.
By texas trekker on 4/16/2003
Rating: N/A Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 1.75 Miles Duration: N/A
Easy hike with great views of the basin area.
Nice evening walk in the basin
By yeiyel on 9/4/2000
Rating: N/A Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 1.75 Miles Duration: N/A
Nice little walk in the immediate vicinity of the lodge. Check out the area.
A quiet stroll
By Joefirefighter on 9/17/1995
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 1.60 Miles Duration: 1 hour

This was not so much a hike as a stroll.  The best thing about this hike was being there with the woman who would become my wife. 

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The scenic wonders of the undeveloped Chihuahuan Desert beckon hikers with seemingly endless miles of trails in Big Bend National Park. The park is the largest tract of public land in Texas, with more than 1,200 square miles sprawled across West Texas along the Rio Grande. Hiking trails wander through deep canyons to spring-fed oases and to the tops of the forested Chisos Mountains. Written with assistance from Big Bend National Park staff, Hiking Big Bend National Park is the only comprehensive hiking guide to the many trials in this unique national park and will guide you to little-known places as well as the popular areas. Three trails in nearby Big Bend Ranch State Park also are featured. This guide includes safety descriptions, elevation charts, black-and-white photos, and up-to-date maps and reference information. Hiking Big Bend National Park is an invaluable resource for planning your next hiking trip in Texas's Big Bend Country.