5.6 miles round trip | ½ day hike candidate: Yes, see tips on speeding it up
This hike will always be near and dear to my heart. Long story short, my wife took me to Big Bend when we were still fairly new in our relationship and this was our first hike there. It was really my first real hike ever. What I thought I couldn’t do, I was able to easily do and fell in love with the land. This was my gateway drug. The hike offers amazing views around the basin and the terrain changes throughout the hike. It’s beautiful from start to finish. And the pay-off, at the end, astonishing. This is probably the perfect hike; length, beauty, payoff.
Cons: Can get crowded during the holidays, may have to wait your turn for photos in the window. Return is uphill.
Tips: Park in the campgrounds. Don’t start at Panther Junction, you can knock off over a mile of grueling stairs that really suck on the way back! Start in the Chisos Basin Campground, Loop 3 trailhead.