I love nature hikes! They are always short and easy hikes loaded with information about the ecosystem around you! The Chihuahuan Desert Nature Trail in Big Bend National Park is no exception to this. The .4 mile trail located at the Dugout Wells area meanders through the desert and points out the abundance of life found living under the scorching desert sun. The hike begins from the small dirt parking lot with vault toilets and a couple picnic tables scattered about.
The trail’s first sign explains the differences between the park’s three types of prickly pear cactus. These cactus (or cacti, maybe cactuses) are found everywhere in the park and this little sign gives you a chance to impress nearby hikers by being able to tell them they are looking at a blind prickly pear.
A few more signs throughout the hike show the ocotillo that sprout out like tentacles from the sand and different snakes and rabbits (I’ve never not seen a rabbit hiding under a cactus on this trail). All while you are learning of the flora, fauna, and history of this specific spot’s past as a pioneer homestead, the Chisos Mountain Range stands strongly in the distance.
The Chisos are very uniquely Big Bend to me and their cliffs are special and are unlike any other place I’ve been. Any angle you see these mountains from it looks completely different but still like it belongs in Big Bend (in case you didn’t notice I really love Big Bend). Anyways the trail finishes up through a small oasis with a large oak and a couple palm trees that are out of place in this desert but explains why this spot made for a good homestead.
From this trail you can drive south to Boquillas or north to the Chisos but either way there is adventure to be found in the Big Bend desert that you know a little bit more about now thanks to this short trail!
Thanks! – Josh