To access the start of the Bowl Trail, hike up the Tejas Trail
from the Pine Spring Trailhead (alternatively, you can also access the eastern side of the trail from the Bear Canyon Trail
or the northwestern end from the Juniper Trail
From the junction with the Tejas Trail
, the Bowl Trail heads east with a steady climb that will take you from about 7,800 ft. up to the trail's high point at 8,200 ft. The first part of the trail skirts the ridgeline with denser coniferous forest to the north and rocky peaks and valleys to the south.
Just over 0.5 miles in, hikers will come to the Hunter Peak Trail
, a short spur that branches off to the summit of Hunter Peak. This short excursion is well worth the extra effort for the view from the peak. Guadalupe Peak is particularly striking to the southwest.
After this short side trip, the trail turns more northward and starts descending. This descent will continue steadily for the next 2+ miles. Hikers will pass a junction with the Bear Canyon Trail
on the right and, shortly after this, the Bowl Trail turns to the northwest and heads through a more forested area. This section is fairly easygoing, and the shade is pleasant.
At about the 2-mile mark, the trail reaches its most northern point before making a turn back to the southwest. Shortly after this turnaround, the trail passed the Juniper Trail
on the right. From here, the Bowl Trail continues through the woods with a slight, easy climb to loop back on itself. From the end point, you can retrace your steps back along the ridgeline to get back to where you started.