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Burro Mesa Pour-Off, TX

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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Distance One Way 1.8 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,975 feet
Elevation Gain -445 feet
Avg Time One Way 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 2.54
Interest Seasonal Waterfall & Seasonal Creek
Backpack No
Dogs not allowed
Post the 1st photoset!
Author markthurman53
author avatar Guides 162
Routes 683
Photos 7,885
Trips 532 map ( 4,888 miles )
Age 67 Male Gender
Location Tucson, Arizona
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jan, Dec, Feb, Nov → Any
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  5:54am - 7:55pm
Official Route
0 Alternative

Top of the Falls
by markthurman53


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.


Burro Mesa is on the western side of the Chisos Mountains separated from them by Cottonwood Canyon. The trailhead is along the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive just before the road makes the climb up Burro Mesa. The Pour-Off is where the Javelina Creek drops off Burro Mesa 100 feet to the desert floor below. The Burro Mesa Pour-Off Trail takes you to the top of these falls. There is no access to the lower part of the falls from this trail. Access to the lower part of the falls is further down the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive to the Lower Burro Falls Pour-Off Trail.

The trailhead for the Burro Mesa Pour-Off Trail is about 8 miles down the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive on the west side of the road. This signed trailhead has room for a couple of cars to park. The trail from the road heads down a couple of side creeks before entering Javelina Wash a mile later. The walk along these side canyons is quite interesting as you drop in elevation through narrow rocky canyons. The trail is easy to follow and cairned in places where there might be confusion. Once in Javelina Creek the trail just follows the wash. There is a lot to see along this stretch in the creek, Caves, and windows up on the side of the canyon and the further you go along the creek the higher the sides of the canyon become. The cliffs become steeper and the rocks darker with kind of an eerie look like from another world. The rocks along the creek become very polished from water that occasionally comes roaring down this canyon.

Eventually, you come to a place along Javelina Creek that drops about 30 feet to a sandy area below, you cannot see the pour-off from this point. The sandy area below is just 30 feet above the pour-off that is around a corner in the creek. I could see tracks in the sand below where others have climbed down this 30-foot drop/slope. This looks very doable but at the time I was there the polished rocks were wet and very slippery and I questioned whether I would be able to get back up. I opted to call this good enough although I wanted to see the actual pour-off. At the trailhead, there is a sign warning people not to climb down what they may not be able to climb back up (or something like that).

I visited the Lower Burro Mesa Pour-Off Trail first and recommend that so you can get a better idea of just how high and steep this fall is. This is a great hike but should be done in late fall or early spring. Hot weather is not the time to do it, the dark rock canyons can be very hot. Be aware of what storms are in the area upstream, you do not want to be in the lower end of this creek during a flash flood or you will experience the pour-off from top to bottom.

Check out the Official Route.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2021-05-22 markthurman53

    One-Way Notice
    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.
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Permit $$

    Big Bend National Park
    Big Bend Fees and Registration

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From the West
    Along Interstate 20 at Van Horn, exit south on hwy 90 to Alpine, Texas. Take 118 south to Big Bend National Park entrance. Follow park road to the Ross Maxwell Scenic Road.

    From the East
    Along Interstate 20 at Fort Stockton, take 385 south to Marathon, Texas. Continue south to Big Bend National Park entrance. Follow park road to the Ross Maxwell Scenic Road.
    page created by HAZ_Hikebot on May 22 2021 5:48 am
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
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