A rough and rowdy loop through the West Contrabando trails.


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The Dome Loop offers the most challenging and arguably, the most entertaining singletrack mountain biking in Big Bend.

The ride as mapped begins from the West Contrabando trailhead, although you can choose to connect here from the East Contrabando trailhead for some bonus miles. The ride begins on the West Main Trail.

To reach it from the trailhead, drop down the dirt road to the gate, and take a right onto the trail.

The first section of singletrack rolls up and down a series of rocky arroyos running through the Chihuahuan Desert.

Pass the first turn for the Dome Loop—you'll come down this section of trail on the way back.

Carry on to the second turn, and take a left on the Dome Loop. Once on the Dome Loop, the singletrack gets steeper and rougher.

The rock gardens and rock ledges grow in size, and the singletrack climbs up the short, steep ridges to the north.

The work is worth it, though, with entertaining rocky descents and beautiful sections of exposed rock slabs to ride along. After finishing East Dome, you'll have to take a couple of left turns to keep following the Dome Loop.

For this route, you won't be taking Fresno Divide.

However, if you're looking for some bonus miles, you can definitely do a double-loop ride to hit Fresno Divide as well. After taking the turn onto the final section of the Dome Loop, you'll reach the high point of the ride and get ready to rip on down! The short but sweet descent offers fantastic rocky, rowdy desert riding with a particular unmanicured flavor.

While the trail is easy to follow, as you rattle over loose boulders with small slabs of rocks clattering against your tires and flying in all directions, you'll easily tell that these trails don't get very much traffic.

If they did, the trail tread would be much more bedded in, the line more obvious.

As it stands, the Dome Loop provides a delightful challenge as you strive to pick the right line through the chunder on the fly...

sometimes getting it wrong.

It's all a part of the fun! Once done with the Dome Loop descent, take a right turn on the West Main Trail to return to the trailhead.