Trail InformationRoundtrip Distance: 3.5 miles (5.6 km)
Elevation Change: 500 feet (152 m)
Average Hiking Time: 2 hours
Dogs and other pets are not allowed on any trails in the park.
The Ward Spring Trail is a relatively easy hike through the desert foothills of the Chisos Mountains to a small spring at the base of a volcanic dike. The spring was once part of the Homer Wilson Ranch. Water for livestock was piped to a stock tank located just north of the present parking lot. You may see sections of the old pipe along the trail.
The spring is marked by a dense thicket of willow, walnuts, and sumac. Depending on rainfall, the spring may create shallow pools of water as it flows a short distance across the surface.
AccessibilityThe trail is narrow and rocky with several short, but steep, descents and ascents that take you across drainages. The entire trail is exposed until you come to the spring. Because of the exposure, this hike is best done during the cooler months or very early in the morning during the summer.
A paved pullout at the trailhead provides parking for about 4 vehicles.
Hike SmartBring 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.