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Big Bend National Park 2013

**For more of a story write-up please read this:

Trailgroove is a free online magazine with an abundance of exciting and intriguing content!  Please check it out their previous issues.

Actual trip report:
A four night backpacking adventure in Big Bend National Park including most of the Outer Mountain Loop (OML) and an extension south via the Smoky Creek trail beside Mule Ears,  off trail over Jack's pass and down to the Rio Grande and Mariscal Canyon, north along the Mariscal spine and back to the OML via the Elephant Tusk trail. Approximately: 75+ miles

Day 1: Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive and Laguna Meadow Trail
Day 2: Laguna Meadow to before Jack's Pass
Day 3: Before Jack's Pass to Mariscal Canyon
Day 4: Mariscal Canyon to Elephant Tusk
Day 5: Elephant Tusk to Basin


  1. Hi Eric -

    A friend and I are planning on following your route in Big Bend this November, although we will have 5 1/2 days to do it. I'm stoked! We found your site looking into the Unita Highline and may do that this summer. Do you have any words of advice for us?

    I've enjoyed your blog and will look into it more deeply. I write outdoor columns for our local paper (Cheyenne, WY) and have collected them at You'll see some areas you recognize. Best wishes to you. Thanks for taking the time to post all this good beta and photos!

  2. Hey Roger, thanks for checking out the blog. Excited for your adventure and to read your columns!

    My first recommendation if you haven't already is to contact or at least read through some of the info on Hopefully you can get an idea on the water situation. Big Bend can be very dangerous if not prepared and in some ways I probably wasn't as ready for it as I should have been. It was my first desert backpacking trip.

    With the amount of off-trail hiking, I remember my trail running shoes getting lots sharp stickers in my socks. Maybe some lightweight gaiters or something else would have helped. I also wish I would have had a little more time to camp at the South Rim as I've seen some great pictures from there. Be ready for a variety of temperatures. There were some cold mornings. I haven't checked to see if there have been any changes to the permit system, but you can probably figure that out :) Also, I had a custom map printed from I believe for the part off the Outer Mountain Loop or you could probably use caltopo.

    I stumbled across this similar route a couple years ago:


About Me

I've been born and raised in the great state of Michigan. I recently graduated from physical therapy school. I enjoy being active, playing sports, and running. Backpacking has become a great interest as it is a physical challenge that provides many rewarding views and experiences. I strive to make a difference in the lives of those encounter in every day life, on the trail, or even just on this blog. May God bless each of you. Now go find an adventure! It's only a few feet away!