Summary: The Chimneys trail is fairly uninspiring, with the payoff being some nice views and hidden Indian petroglyphys once you reach the long rock outcrop.,

The Chimneys Trail at Big Bend National Park is a very flat, featureless and exposed hike to a tall and rocky ridge, which is visible in the distance. The trail continues beyond The Chimneys to Old Maverick Road, which runs between Maverick Junction and Santa Elena Canyon, so you could also do this as a one-way walk if you can arrange transportation at both ends.

mg 5871 lr The Chimneys (Big Bend)

It’s one of the less-popular trails in Big Bend National Park – I only saw a couple of people – and it’s not a trail I would recommend if you have limited time.

mg 5854 lr The Chimneys (Big Bend)

This walk is about the destination, more than the journey: The Chimneys has always been an important landmark, and Indian rock art marks the base of one of the high pinnacles. The petroglyphs are on the southern-most pinnacle, with an unmarked but distinct path leading from the main path up to the base of the rock outcrop.

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There’s not much written about the Indian petroglyphs, which vary in age from thousands of years old to some carved in the 1700s and 1800s.

mg 5860 lr The Chimneys (Big Bend)
mg 5857 lr The Chimneys (Big Bend)

While the walk to The Chimneys is rather uninspiring, the landscape once you get there is interesting. Climbing some of the lower outcrops provides a good view over the desert landscape: to the south is Kit Mountain, and beyond that the Chisos Mountains.

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Accommodation in Big Bend National Park

The best place to stay is Chisos Mountains Lodge, which has motel rooms and cabins – but it books out well in advance during peak periods. (There’s also a campground.)

The nearest town is Terlingua, which is about a 45min drive and has a few motels and restaurants. I stayed at Terlingua Ranch Lodge, which is even further away (1:15min drive) – but offers rustic cabins in a rural setting.

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More information on The Chimneys

  • Laurence Parent, Hiking Big Bend National Park (Falcon Guide), p.69. Buy online US / AU
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