Search anywhere for the best places to hike in Texas and time and time again, the Lost Mine Trail in Big Bend National Park will be at the top of the list.
With over 150 miles of trails, Big Bend National Park has trails for every skill level that take you through a variety of terrain and landscapes, but the ratio of stunning views to time invested hiking makes Big Bend’s Lost Mine Trail an enduring favorite.
Lost Mine Trail is a moderate hike that rewards you with the most magnificent 360-degree views of the surrounding Chisos Mountains.
A gradual, doable incline makes this trail more moderate than many other hikes in the Chisos Basin area, but the view at the top is all of the encouragement you need.
Here’s what you need to know before completing the Lost Mine hike in Big Bend National Park!
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Quick Facts about the Lost Mine Trail
Trail Difficulty: Moderate
Total Distance: 4.8 miles round trip
Time to Complete: 4-6 hrs
Elevation Gain: 1,135 ft
Essential Tips for Hiking the Lost Mine Trail in Big Bend
Get started early… very early.
We’ll cover this a bit in another section as well, but it’s important to start here.
Parking at the Lost Mine Trail is extremely limited, and it’s on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The earlier you arrive–say, dawn–the better.
In addition, the Lost Mine Trail is the middle of (the very large) Big Bend National Park–so the driving directions to the park entrance aren’t an accurate reflection of what time you’ll arrive at the Lost Mine Trail.
Calculate your drive time based on visiting the Chisos Basin Mountain Lodge for a more accurate estimate.
Have your entrance fees for Big Bend National Park ready.
To enter Big Bend National Park, you will have to pay a fee in one way or another.
If you plan to visit several national parks (or visit Big Bend several times) within a year, by far the best deal is to purchase an America the Beautiful pass.
For just under $80/year, this popular national parks pass will allow you unlimited entrance to over 2,000 federally managed recreation sites, including every single national park.
If you’d rather not purchase a pass, you can purchase a 7-day entrance to Big Bend National Park for $30/vehicle.
If you don’t want to purchase the National Park pass, you can always simply purchase a day
Buy your national parks pass today!
Bring (lots of) water.
This is the desert–you’ll need more than you think!
Have a backup plan for hiking the Lost Mine Trail.
Bear activity, weather, construction… there are plenty of things that can interrupt your plan to complete the Lost Mine hike.
We recommend checking for any closures on the National Park Service website before heading out and also having a backup plan at the ready.
Luckily, there are plenty of beautiful hikes in Big Bend National Park to choose from!
Watch out for wildlife.
Without fail, you will likely encounter wildlife in one form or another.
You may see a rabbit scurry off into the brush or a deer soaking up the morning temperatures.
Rattlesnakes and mountain lions are also common in this desert area.
More often than not, all of these animals are more scared of you than you are of them.
Keep your eyes peeled, give animals their space, don’t antagonize them, stay on marked trails, and everyone should be good to go.
Pack a lunch.
One way many hikers love to soak up the scenery at the top of the Lost Mine Trail is by packing a lunch to enjoy with panoramic scenery.
You’ll likely meet other hikers who do the same, so make sure you get there early to grab your spot to watch the sunrise and enjoy breakfast or lunch.
Where is the Lost Mine Trailhead in Big Bend National Park?
The Lost Mine Trailhead can be found along Basin Junction, about 1.3 miles before hitting the Chisos Mountain Lodge.
The trailhead is fairly unassuming, with about 20 parking spaces lined up alongside the small road.
Again: in order to find parking, the earlier you get to the trailhead, the better.
What’s it like to hike the Lost Mine Trail in Big Bend NP?
Hiking the Lost Mine Trail is as simple as it is beautiful.
While gaining over 1,000 feet in elevation in under 2.5 miles will no doubt leave you out of breath at points, there’s no special equipment or knowledge required to make the trek.
And, if you do get tired, you’ll have plenty of excuses to take a break!
The Lost Mine Trail is (rightfully) known for having some of the best views in Big Bend National Park for a reason!
In addition to the beautiful mountain views, the Lost Mine Trail is also known for its beautiful cacti and wildflowers.
At 0.8 miles into your hike, you’ll reach a view of the gorgeous Juniper Canyon–if you are looking for a shorter hike, you can even stop here and consider your day a success.
However, it’s well worth it to push on–even through the switchbacks toward the end of the trail–for the final, sweeping view of the Chisos Mountains that makes the Lost Mine Trail famous.
After you reach the top, you will be greeted by panoramic views of Big Bend National Park that will make you want to sit and just soak it all in (and maybe eat a picnic lunch).
While you’re there, make sure to take plenty of time to appreciate the best views along Big Bend’s Lost Mine Trail before descending!
When to Visit Big Bend National Park
While the Chisos Mountains, where the Lost Mine Trail is located, is much cooler than the desert floor (generally 10-20 degrees cooler), hiking in the summer still means contending with the heat!
In addition to heat, summer (May through September) is also the rainy season in Big Bend National Park, and sudden afternoon thunderstorms can be a concern.
Spring and fall are generally the best times to enjoy your Lost Mine hike.
That being said, Big Bend National Park is beautiful year-round, and with the right flexibility and preparedness, you can hike the Lost Mine trail in any season!