Lost Mine Trail

A popular hike in Big Bend National Park with endless views of the Chisos Mountains.

Hiking Difficult

Distance
7.3 km
Ascent
340 m
Descent
340 m
Duration
2-3 hrs
Low Point
1.7 km
High Point
2.1 km
Gradient
Lost Mine Trail Map

The NPS describes this hike as "an outstanding introduction to the flora and fauna of the Chisos Mountains." Located near the Chisos Basin Visitor Center, this hike is a perfect opportunity to escape the heat and ascend into the higher elevations.

Description

The hike begins at a trailhead on Basin Junction Road. Be sure to get an early start as the parking area can fill quickly in the spring and fall months.

The trail begins with a steady uphill climb into a saddle, roughly one mile in. From here, you'll have an excellent vantage point to view Casa Grande (elevation 7,100 feet) to the west and Juniper canyon to the south.

Ahead, the trail steepens as it continues to ascend a series of rugged switchbacks. Here, the picturesque forest begins to showcase pine, juniper, and oak trees in addition to a wide array of other plants, including cacti.

The trail ends on the crest of an exposed ridge, offering incredible 360-degree views. Lost Mine Peak can be seen to the northwest and towers above 7,400 feet. Legend has it that early explorers discovered an ore body atop the peak while searching for silver and gold. After years of mining followed by multiple disputes, the entrance was sealed and to this day, it has not been uncovered. According to one of the original printed publications, "legend states, that if a person stands in the chapel door of San Vincente's mission on Easter morn, he can watch the sun's first rays strike Lost Mine Peak at the exact mine entrance."

Sources: https://www.nps.gov/bibe/learn/historyculture/upload/lmt1956.pdf https://www.nps.gov/bibe/planyourvisit/mountainhikes.htm

Difficulty

Difficult

Hiking trails where obstacles such as rocks or roots are prevalent. Some obstacles can require care to step over or around. At times, the trail can be worn and eroded. The grade of the trail is generally quite steep, and can often lead to strenuous hiking.

High Exposure

3 out of 4

Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Features

  • Wildlife
  • Historical
  • Picturesque
  • Summit Hike
  • Wild flowers
  • Family friendly
  • Forestry or heavy vegetation

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area