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Window Falls View
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.
OAK SPRING TRAIL
Many have done the Window Trail that starts in the Chisos basin and heads down to the top of the falls at the window, but not too many have done the Oak Spring Trail that starts below the falls and heads up to the top. From this trail, you get the best, if not the only, view of the falls. This route has a 900-foot climb, but the views to the west over cottonwood and Oak Creek are great. The other advantage to this trail is that you can also take the short hike over to Cattail falls when you are done.
From the Ross Maxwell Scenic Road, 3.3 miles from the main park road, there is a dirt road that heads east toward the Chisos Mountains (across from the Nail Ranch Trail). This road used to go all the way to the trailhead of the Oak Spring and Cattail trails. It is now blocked about a quarter-mile in, so the 1.6 miles along this road to the trailhead will have to be walked. The road drops into Oak Creek after 1.6 miles, the Cattail Trail is to the south, and the Oak Spring Trail is a quarter-mile further up this road. There is a sign along this road that marks the Oak Spring Trail.
This trail is in good condition and has a pretty consistent uphill climb to the summit of the trail above Window Canyon. The best views of the falls are from this trail, maybe the only views of the falls. This view is what makes this trail worth it. The 900-foot climb to the top is made easier by some nice switchbacks. Once on the summit and all along the switchbacks are fantastic views to the west over Cottonwood Creek basin. It is 0.3 miles down to the Window trail and another 0.3 to the top of the falls from the summit. On my hike, since I had already been to the top of the falls and have been to the summit on this trail from Window Canyon, I turned around at the summit. The views to the west made this hike worth it. From the window trail to the top of the falls, you have no idea what is out to the west (or a very small viewing window of what’s out west) and no idea how high the falls are; the Oak Spring Trail will answer both those questions.
Check out the Official Route.
This hike is listed as One-Way.
When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.