By Belle Peña-Lancaster
Planning a trip to the Big Bend Region with children in tote can be a bit intimidating. The road wear you incur while traveling just to get to the Brewster County line is unavoidable, however it’s completely worth it. From one family to another let us share our favorite hiking trails for young children in Big Bend National Park.
1. Upper Burro Mesa Pouroff trail located off the Ross Maxwell scenic road is 3.5 miles (roundtrip). Kids ages 3.5-8 enjoyed this hike, especially since it had a rock slide at the end. Our youngest did need to be carried a little bit. *Please be advised that it does have a drop off at the end, which could be dangerous if you let your kids wander too far ahead. This trail is subject to flash flooding.
2. The Hot Springs trail is a hit for children of all ages. It is relatively easy to drive to and only requires a short 1 mile hike. Hovering around 104º F, we recommend young children stay away from the direct spring source located at the right hand corner of the rock enclosure, so that they don’t get overheated.
3. Balanced Rock is on the Grapevine Hills Trail. It’s a short 2.2 mile hike (roundtrip), that kids and adults will love. Big Bend National Park considers this a desert trail, so please try to hike it in the morning or evening when the sun isn’t blazing down on you. Some climbing is required at the end of the trail.
4. Ernst Tinaja is a short, but scenic hike. Big Bend National Park recommends high clearance vehicles with 4-wheel drive because of the conditions of Old Ore Road. We have a high clearance truck that doesn’t have 4-wheel drive and have been there several times, however we drive carefully and slowly. Consult with a park ranger about road conditions especially following heavy rains. Please be advised that rock around the Tinaja is slick and children can easily fall in if they get close to the edge.
5. Tuff Canyon trail isn’t that tough! This is the easiest trail out of all the ones listed above. Children really love this short 1 mile hike. It has some interesting rock formations and is an overall pleasant nature hike. The only cautionary note we can provide is watch for loose rock in the canyon.
Even though our family is located in Big Bend we don’t consider ourselves experts on the area. We simply want to share our experiences, so that they might be helpful for visiting families not familiar with this region.
All images and content belong to Belle Peña-Lancaster PR Manager