Mule Ears Spring Trail, Big Bend National Park

Distance: 3.8 miles round trip
Elevation gain: ~200 feet (net)
Location: Big Bend National Park, Texas
Date: October 20, 2013

View from the start of the trail with the Mule Ears in the distance at left

The Mule Ears Spring Trail is a fairly easy hike through the desert in Big Bend National Park that begins at the Mule Ears viewpoint along Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive. The trail passes through the foothills of the Chisos Mountains before arriving at Mule Ears Spring.

View along the trail between the trailhead and spring

Rock corral just below the spring

The trail to the spring has some small up and down sections as it crosses a few arroyos, but overall it is relatively level and doesn't gain much elevation. You can see where the spring is on your approach by the few cottonwood trees and other vegetation growing in the alcove at the base of a hill. Once at the spring there is the ruins of a rock corral. Much of the spring is overgrown with vegetation, but there are a few places to sit in the shade and access the small amount of water, which was flowing during my visit.

Ferns growing at the spring

After stopping briefly at the spring, I continued eastward on the trail as it gains over 100 feet in elevation over about a quarter mile. From this point I was able to see across the desert to the east, part of the Chisos Mountains in the distance, and one of the Mule Ears. This trail continues on to the Smoky Creek Trail near the Mule Ears themselves, but I didn't follow it any further because storms were beginning to move into the area.

View from where I stopped with Chisos Mountains at left

Mule Ears left of center from where I stopped

© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.


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