Hike the Outer Mountain Loop



32 miles

Elevation Gain

5000 ft

Route Type


Added by Tim Holland

The Outer Mountain Loop is a 3 day hike in Big Bend National Park. The loop is Big Bend's signature multi-day backpacking trip and includes a wide variety of habitats and scenery including, the piñon/juniper/oak woodlands of the Chisos, and stark, rugged desert in one of the most wild and remote corners of the United States.

The Outer Mountain Loop is a 3-day hike in Big Bend National Park. It traditionally starts at the trailhead in the Chisos Basin, leaving the Lodge area by way of the Pinnacles Trail. You then follow the Boot Canyon Trail to the Juniper Canyon Trail, which leads out of the Chisos Mountains to the southeast. This trail deposits you at the eastern end of the Dodson Trail and your first night's camping spot. On the second day you traverse the Dodson Trail and end up at it's western terminus, the Homer Wilson Ranch. This is near the Maxwell Scenic Drive and there is a metal box where you can stash the third day's water in advance. You can camp a little way up the Blue Creek Canyon and prepare for the last day of hiking. That third day starts with a 5.5 mile hike up the Blue Creek Canyon Trail, which takes you back into the Chisos Mountains. At the junction with the Laguna Meadows trail you have about 3.5 miles of mostly downhill hiking back to the Basin. The total distance covered is about 32 miles.

Head to the nps.gov website for key updates and to get your backcountry permits. 

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