Big Bend - Telephone Canyon Trail

More Info
The trail follows (or is supposed to follow) an arroyo through a network of canyons. (Photo by Lone_Star)
In many places, the trail disappears and you are forced to hike cross country in the remote wilderness. (Photo by Lone_Star)
I saw this awesome arachnid specimen along the trail. (Photo by Lone_Star)
This was the type of terrain I was forced to navigate for miles. The arroyo was overgrown with cactus and thorny vegetation and/or blocked by rocks/boulders, but hiking outside of the arroyo wasn't much easier either. (Photo by Lone_Star)
There were times I had to climb up the canyon walls in an attempt to determine my location. These cliffs were steep, high and difficult to go up and down without getting hurt. (Photo by Lone_Star)
A couple miles away from Old Ore Road, I came across this old rock/cement dam. At this point, I also found rock cairns and the trail to Old ore Road became easier to follow. (Photo by Lone_Star)
This is the Telephone Canyon trailhead near Old ore Road. It should be noted that the 10.4 miles I hiked from Strawhouse Trail took me all day (10 hours). (Photo by Lone_Star)
Log Entries
Quiet as a mouse. Dry as a bone
By rodavenport on 4/13/2014
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: 6.00 Miles Duration: N/A

I only went out 3 miles then looped back. I was not prepared and it is the wrong time of the year to be trying to bite off a big chunk of this trail. Besides my legs were pretty wore out from the 16 miles in the mountains the day before. A lot of up and down through small canyons and arroyos the most interesting thing I saw was a lot of desert flowers. Especially on the cactus.

Part Of A Longer 4-Day Backcountry Hike
By Lone_Star on 11/19/2013
Rating: Difficulty: Solitude:
Distance: N/A Duration: N/A

I hiked the Telephone Canyon Trail as part of a 4 day backpacking expedition through the backcountry trails of Big Bend National Park.  The hike occurred on the 3rd & 4th days in the backcountry.  You can read my log of that extended hike here.

I hiked the western section of the Telephone Canyon Trail from the Strawhouse Trail to Old Ore Road. This trail was unmaintained and extremely difficult to follow. In some sections, there were rock cairns, but for most of the trail they were non-existent.  They had either washed away, been knocked down by animals, or simply become overgrown by vegetation.  I was forced to hike using my map, GPS and land navigation skills I learned in the military.

The trail appears to follow an arroyo through various canyons, but the arroyo is filled with rocks, boulders, cacti, and thorn bushes, making it virtually impenetrable.  The arroyo is also filled with thick gravel, making it a hard surface to walk on.  I expended a lot of energy and there was a lot of slippage.  I had to stop periodically to inspect my feet and administer foot care.


Traversing this trail was slow going.  At times, I was only going 1/3rd to 1/2 mph, but I was expending a lot of energy and drinking a lot of water.  I also had to stop every couple of miles to try and figure out where I was and which way to go.

I do NOT recommend anyone hike this trail. It is very easy to become lost and you could potentially die. When I returned from my hike, I told the rangers that this trail should either be maintained or removed from the map.  In its current condition, it is a death trap, even for the most experienced hikers.

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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.