Upper Burro Mesa Pouroff Trail

The trail follows a sandy wash through steep canyon walls.
The Upper Burro Mesa Pouroff Trail follows a sandy wash through steep canyon walls.


Quick Facts
6.5 miles from the northern end of Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive.

Parking - Auto, Trailhead

Trail Information

Roundtrip Distance: 3.5 miles (5.6 km)
Elevation Change: 500 ft (150 m)
Average Hiking Time: 2 hours

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

This trail descends down a hill to a narrow canyon. After navigating a small pouroff, follow cairns through the boulders. Some boulder-scrambling is required. The first canyon empties into a sandy wash. Follow the wash until you reach a deeper slick-rock pouroff that drops into a grotto-like cavern. Again, moderate bouldering skills are necessary to climb back out of the grotto. If you're sure you can get back out, descend into the grotto. The trail ends at the Burro Mesa Pouroff—a steep chute that funnels water to the drainage below after a heavy rain. 


The trail is rocky in parts and sandy once you reach the wash. Boulder-scrambling is required in several places. 
A paved pullout at the trailhead provides parking for about 6 vehicles.


Do not hike this trail during stormy weather. Flash floods occur frequently in this canyon and the steep walls make climbing to safety impossible.

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: March 30, 2023