Hike Into Fall in Big Bend National Park

In West Texas, autumn is when the hiking really starts to get good.
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Big Bend

Big Bend hits its stride in the fall.

Elsewhere around the country, people are flocking to the backcountry in a last-ditch effort to hang onto hiking season. Not here. In Texas, October means the best hiking of the year is just beginning. But “best” doesn’t mean easy. Backpackers have to brave long, long stretches without water to reap the rewards: empty trails, canyon views that melt into the horizon, and some of the best campsites in the entire park system. Start easy, with the 4.8-mile out-and-back along the Lost Mine Trail to this outcropping facing Big Bend’s South Rim. Let it whet your appetite for a bigger adventure across the way. There, you can kick off the Lone Star State’s backpacking season with a 14.5-mile variation of the South Rim Loop. Link the Pinnacles, Boot Canyon, East Rim, South Rim, Laguna Meadows, and Basin Loop Trails to do it, camping midway on the South Rim, a fortress of crumbly rock that lords 2,000 feet above the canyonlands of the Chisos Mountains. Permit Required for camping ($10); obtain from any visitor center. 

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