Trail InformationRoundtrip Distance: 6.0 miles (9.4 km)
Elevation change: 360 feet (110 m)
Average hiking time: 3-4 hours
Dogs and other pets are not allowed on any trails in the park.
The Hot Spring trail follows the Rio Grande to the hot spring and the Hot Springs Historic District. Along the way, you will be rewarded with splendid vistas of Hot Spring canyon, as well as the Chisos and Sierra Del Carmen mountains. Near the end, should you choose, a soak in the hot spring can add a bit of relaxation to your journey. The historic buildings at J.O. Langford's resort and ancient pictographs are located beyond the hot spring.
Be sure to bring good footwear, adequate water for each person, and protection from the sun as there is no shade. It is not recommended to hike this trail in the summer, or any time temperatures exceed 90 degrees.
AccessibilityThe greatest elevation gain on this trail takes place in the first 1/2 mile, as the trail climbs from Daniels Ranch to the rim of the canyon. The first 1.5 miles of the trail is high above the river, meandering in and out of side canyons, with occasional views of the Rio Grande. The trail surface alternates between sections of hard rock and dirt. The second half of the hike parallels the river and eventually drops down to the water about 1/4 mile before the hot spring. The overall elevation gain of this trail is 360 feet, but the actual amount of up and down is more due to the trail crossing several side canyons.
The parking lot at Daniels Ranch will accommodate about 10 vehicles and small RVs.
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.
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.