I’m surprised how many folks have told me, “I haven’t been to the state park.” Even folks who have been coming to Big Bend for decades have told me this. Well, that’s a damn shame, because the state park is pretty amazing. With 311,000 acres, this is a huge park that offers something for everyone:

  • 4×4 only accessible roads and camping
  • Staggering scenic drives
  • Numerous natural springs
  • Intriguing hikes of all levels
  • Mountain biking trails
  • And two trails are pet accessible
Closed Canyon Trail in Big Bend Ranch State Park Entrance
Closed Canyon Trail in Big Bend Ranch State Park Narrow Slot

Closed Canyon is one of the two pet-accessible hikes. It’s a relatively short hike, about a mile-and-a-half round trip so can easily be done in 45 minutes to an hour. You basically hike until the canyon becomes inaccessible. You can make it shorter just by turning around whenever you wish. It’s an easy hike, though there are areas where you have to scramble down rocks and chutes to keep going. If you don’t feel comfortable with this, that’s ok. It’s the narrow slot and tall walls that guide your path that make the hike so fulfilling. I always come to a tinaja of scary water that serves as my turn-around point. The canyon ultimately makes its way to the Rio Grande. I’ve seen the mouth during a stop on a river trip, pic below.

Closed Canyon is a wonderful introduction to the park, not just because of the hike, but driving there. To get to the trailhead, you’ll drive RR 170 which I believe is the most scenic drive in Texas. Most folks enter the park from Lajitas but if you come in from the Presidio side, be sure to keep trucking to Lajitas so you don’t miss some of the park’s most awesome vistas. If you do enter from Lajita, I usually tell folks to use The Hoodoos trailhead as a turnaround point.

closed canyon trail

Peering down into the scary water below.

water in the closed canyon

The scary water and my turn-around point.

closed canyon trail
closed canyon trail entrance

The mouth from the river side.

Closed Canyon Trail Video Tour

Here’s a quick video I threw together going through Closed Canyon. Enjoy. And if you don’t mind, please subscribe to the channel, I’ll be posting more video hiking tours.

Wrapping Up

Regarding our pets, they are permitted on leashes no longer than 6 feet. Please pick up after and properly dispose of your pet’s mess. And don’t forget they need water too.

Remember, our parks are some of the last places on Earth that are set aside for wildlife and our adventuring spirit. We have to respect these parks. Leave nothing you bring behind, if you see an opportunity to improve (pick up litter, etc.) do so. Let’s all have a collective effort to do better as humans and collectively make this world a better place. Gratitude and reciprocity. Show respect to the locals, tip generously, and live in the moment as you visit.

Subscribe to get upcoming posts in this series as we explore hiking trails, Big Bend Ranch, Marfa, Davis Mountains, and much more.

-Adam Brower

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Entrance of Closed Canyon
Closed Canyon Trail in Big Bend Ranch State Park