The Window Trail

An agave plant grows next to a dirt trail that heads towards a
The trail descends to a pour-off at the Window

NPS/J. Jurado

Quick Facts
Chisos Basin Visitor Center parking lot

Information Kiosk/Bulletin Board, Parking - Auto, Parking - Bus/RV, Picnic Table, Scenic View/Photo Spot, Trailhead

Trail Information

Roundtrip Distance from the Chisos Basin Trailhead: 5.5 miles (8.8 km)
Elevation Change: 900 feet (274 meters)
Average Hiking Time: 2-3 hours

Dogs and other pets are not allowed on any trails in the park.

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: the top of the Window pour-off is slickrock with no railings. Keep in mind that it is an easy downhill walk to the Window, but the return trip is a challenging climb of 900 feet. It is important to start this hike early in the morning to avoid hiking during the heat of the day. Bring more water than you think you will need!


The trailhead begins from a paved walkway near the Chisos Basin Store and quickly transitions to dirt. The first mile of the trail is the steepest, with wooden log steps to break up the descent down the rocky dirt path. The last 0.25 mile of the hike is in a slickrock canyon where footing becomes difficult. The combination of rocky steps and wet, slippery surfaces requires extra care and attention to avoid a fall.

Hike Smart

Bring plenty of water!
Carry 1 liter of water per person per hour that you plan to hike. The importance of carrying enough water in this hot, dry climate cannot be overstated!

Your body needs food for energy and salts and electrolytes to replace what it's losing from perspiration. The dry climate at Big Bend means that sweat often evaporates almost instantly; your body is likely losing lots of moisture and salts without you even realizing it. Eat plenty of salty snacks to keep your body's salt-to-water ratio in balance.

Sun protection
Carry sunscreen and use it liberally. Hats are also strongly recommended. It may seem strange to wear long-sleeved shirts and pants in hot weather, but many hikers choose lightweight, breathable clothing which covers their arms and legs to protect themselves from the sun. 

Don't leave people behind
If you're hiking in a group, make sure the person in the back always has someone to help.

Be aware of wildlife
Keep an eye out for snakes, and remember to maintain a safe distance between yourself and all wildlife. Animals in the park are wild and should never be approached, harassed or fed.

Don't stack rocks
Cairns are stacks of rocks which are sometimes used to mark trails in areas where they are hard to follow. Randomly stacked rocks can lure hikers off the correct trail.

Big Bend National Park

Last updated: April 5, 2021