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, The Hiking Project

Window Trail

The Chisos Mountains contain some of the most rewarding day hikes in Big Bend, and The Window Trail is the most popular hiking route, especially during the long, hot summer months when conditions in the desert lowlands are generally too extreme for extended walks. This hike is rated easy-to-moderate with a distance of 5.6 miles round trip. The trail starts on the floor of Chisos Basin and follows the upper portion of Oak Creek Canyon downstream for 2 miles, to the point where the seasonal creek falls away vertically by 220 feet, at the west edge of the mountains. The gradient is gentle, the route wide, much used, and generally easy, with just a few rockier sections towards the lower end.

The Window Trail may be accessed either by walking further along the road from the overflow parking area to the far side of the group camp or, more usually, along the entrance road to the main campground, to a trailhead near the north edge, besides site #52. The trail approaches the usually dry creekbed. The slopes on either side rise by nearly 2,000 feet The trail climbs gradually through shady stands of Mexican pine, oak, and juniper with many outstanding vistas of the window, and mountains surrounding the basin.

Dense vegetation in the arroyos provides good habitat for animals. It is not uncommon to see tracks and scat of black bears, mountain lions, and gray foxes along Chisos Mountains trails. Carmen Mountain white-tailed deer, rock squirrels, whiptail lizards, Spotted Towhees, Tufted Titmice, and Mexican Jays are also common in these mountains. Also, look for Mexican Jays in the pines, and hummingbirds and Scott's Orioles in the agaves when in bloom.

This trail descends through Oak Creek Canyon to the Window pour-off which frames panoramic desert vistas. During wetter periods Oak Creek may be flowing and must be crossed several times. Use caution on this trail, as the top of the Window pour-off, is a slick rock with no railings, and the return hike is uphill.

, Trip Advisor
, Texas Hill Country

A 52 Weeks of Fun Fascinating Fact about Window Trail

Big Bend is home to about 1,200 plants and 75 different mammal species.

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  • Window Trail
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