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Hike to a spring
BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK
The Rio Grande River comes down out of Colorado, heads south through New Mexico, and passes through El Paso Texas where it now becomes the border between the United States and Mexico. The river flows 1254 miles in a southeast direction toward the Gulf of Mexico, but before getting there, it turns to the North East, creating a momentary bend in the river; this Is Big Bend National Park. The mountains in this park are a continuation of a mountain range in Mexico that will continue into the US through Guadalupe National Park and New Mexico. The highest point in this park is Emory Peak, at 7800 feet. This park is probably one of the remotest parks in the contiguous United States. Despite being in the middle of nowhere, it has a lot to offer in hiking, camping, and general sightseeing.
WARD SPRING TRAIL
Ward Spring Trail Head is about 6 miles along the Ross Maxwell Scenic Road from the main park road. This trail heads up alongside a stream on the West side of the Chisos Mountains. Ward Spring is 1.4 miles in and requires a climb of about 500 feet in elevation. The spring is located at the base of a volcanic dike that cuts through the rock on the side of the Chisos Mountains. The area around the spring is quite dense with vegetation, and at the time we were there in April, there was water in the stream near the spring.
The Ward Spring Trail starts at a signed trailhead along the Ross Maxwell road. There is parking for about a half dozen cars. This short 1.4-mile trail has a bit of elevation gain to it at around 500 feet. This is not a strenuous hike, but you will be disappointed if you are expecting a leisurely walk. Not a real interesting trail, except for a canyon to the north of the trail that you pass at about 0.7 miles in; this canyon looks like it might be worth exploring. You can see the spring's location from many places along the trail, evident by the Cottonwood trees and lush vegetation that stands out from the surrounding areas. As you get closer to the spring, the trail does a rather short but steep climb over a ridge before dropping into the creek of Ward Spring. There are two north-south trending dikes at the spring. Just downstream of Ward Spring, the vegetation gets thick, and the trail is obscured by it. It was raining when we were there, so we did not venture into the creek bed and fight the brush, but there was water in the stream at this point. The larger of the two volcanic dikes crosses over the canyon at this point and is probably why the spring is here. The trail supposedly continues past these dikes for maybe a quarter mile more. On days with better weather, exploring around the Dikes might prove interesting.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
This hike is listed as One-Way.
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