5.6 miles round trip | ½ day hike candidate: Yes, if you hike the top
About: As I left Big Bend for the first time, I looked back as we neared the park exit to the north. I saw a hillside that looked like someone took a crooked dagger to it and violently stabbed down its side. This is the Devil’s Den. And I vowed I would be back to see this up close and in person one day. Big Bend kept me coming back every year since this first trip, but it took me 8½ years to keep that vow.
This is not on park maps or hardly any other maps, but they have a hand-out copy of it at Panther Junction Visitor Center. This one felt a little rough because we missed some of the hiking cues. We coupled the hike with Dog Canyon which contains hiking dry creek beds, which my wife hates. But whatever, I can deal.
See trail guide scan from the ranger station
The guide above tells us to traverse the upper part of the canyon, but we didn’t realize how early on we were supposed to exit the creek bed. We left some cairn markings to hopefully help the next folks. Once you are up on the desert floor, it’s easy to hike the top of the den. I do want to go back and hike through the den which supposedly is pretty hardcore and should have a full day dedicated. If you do hike through the Den, do not go alone.
Pros: Ultra secluded, primitive, and is up for as much adventure as you are willing to throw at it. You can hike up over the top of it (recommended) then come out on the opposite site and hike back down through the crag. Multi-person hiking and experience are recommended for that.
Cons: If you ask my wife, creek bed hiking sucks.
Tips: If you want a real adventure, give this its own day and hike over and back through (see the pros for this hike above). Hike up the top side of the entrance then make your way over the hill to the upper mouth, then hike back down through the canyon. I have not done this yet, but I want to.
Rating: There is so much adventure and mystery here, I think it needs a day of its own. ⭐️⭐️⭐️¾ though I am predicting a much higher rating if you hike back through the canyon.