Chisos Basin

Big Bend National Park Travel Blog

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at the start of our hike to oak spring trail, yikes!

The chisos basin was by far my favorite place in the park, absolutly gorgeous scenery!  This is the area where the lodge is located and it was so pretty next time we go, we are so staying there!  From this area you also get the best shots of the window.  The chisos basin also has the most hiking trail options.  One such trail is the lost mine trail; this trail takes you about a 1000 ft. up the mountain, it is 6 miles round trip, and according to the brochure it's about a 6 hour hike.  Which is precisely why we did not go on it :(  By the time we arrived to the mountains we had approximatly 1&1/2 hours of daylight left so, we would have been hiking in the dark.  This area is big time mountain lion country and they like to hunt at night so, for the sake of us or our kids not getting eaten we decided against this hike!  Just one more reason to come back anyways!  None the less you really don't need to hike here to appreciate it's beauty.  

I can't even begin to tell you how often we pulled over for pictures just driving up the mountain!  There are plenty of stopping points along the road (we din't just stop in the middle of the road) and I think we took advantage of every single one!  The road however, is not recommended for trailers longer than 20 feet or RVs over 24 feet because of the sharp curves and steep grades (just FYI.) 

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the window (low point) oak springs trail

This trail you will not find on a Big Bend map for sure!  As a matter a fact when I inquired about this trail at the ranger office they tried to downplay it like it was not that amazing.  They told us vaguely how to reach it we actually had to hunt for it but, the reason is that it's such a fragile environment the park service is really trying to protect it as much as they can.  By limiting the number of visitors they do just that.  So I'll do my part and not give such precise directions (not that any of my other directions were that precise!)  The oak springs trail is about .5 miles long basically all this is is a a trail that leads to an oak tree by a small little spring, great photo ops here I took tons of pics of my girls on the tree, climbing the tree, by the tree, etc.

Cat Tail falls trail
, etc. you get the picture.  Anyways, at this point the trail divides into two separate trails one leads to the low aspect of the window, the other leads to the cat tail falls.  We followed the cat tail trail which is 2 miles round trip, making this entire hike 3 miles round trip all in all.  Now some may think 3 miles is nothing and for some of you I'm sure it really is nothing but, for me this was the hardest hike by far mainly because I carried the baby on this one some (very little actually).  Secondly, because cat tails trail is almost strictly up hill with just the very end of it back down into the mountain to reach the fall.  The last part of it is also the narrowest point of it where you are literally walking along side the mountain and just a few feet off to your side is a drop off!  Also, just before you reach the falls you literally start climbing rock and going thru narrow rock crevices!  It took us about 3+ hours to complete the trail you simply cannot be out of shape to do this hike but it is an amazing hike with absolutly spectacular views!  Don't forget to carry plenty of water if you ever go on this trail as well!

Cat tail falls always has water year round but, depending on the season sometimes it's more abundant.

the window @ chisos basin
  We unfotunatly went during dry season so we just saw a trickle of water pouring down; none the less it was beautiful, peaceful, and lush with plants.  Careful though, one of the species of plants that thrives well in this area is poison ivy and oak (wear jeans!)  My husband and I have made plans to visit Big Bend in the spring again with hopes of seeing the waterfall at it's fullest!  By the way, I had not mentioned this before so I will now you want to visit Big Bend in either the fall or spring.  Keep in mind this is the desert so summertime it is extremly hot with temps reaching well over a 100 F and in the winter the mountains can be extremly cold.  That being said, I'll just let my pics do the talking now.  Not claiming to be a great photographer in any way but, this place is so pretty you really can't get bad shots!

at the start of our hike to oak sp…
at the start of our hike to oak s…
the window (low point) oak springs…
the window (low point) oak spring…
Cat Tail falls trail
Cat Tail falls trail
the window @ chisos basin
the window @ chisos basin
we had to duck to go thru this cre…
we had to duck to go thru this cr…
part of the hike Cat Tail falls
part of the hike Cat Tail falls
Cat Tail falls
Cat Tail falls
more of the the waterfall
more of the the waterfall
baby already rock climbing, we tea…
baby already rock climbing, we te…
daddy and baby
daddy and baby
look how clear the water is
look how clear the water is
rocks reflection on water cat tail…
rocks reflection on water cat tai…
cat tail falls trail on the way ba…
cat tail falls trail on the way b…
chisos basin road
chisos basin road
@ chisos basin
@ chisos basin
on chisos basin road
on chisos basin road
road to mountains
road to mountains
Big Bend National Park
photo by: mnico78