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The Bowl Loop

Intermediate/Difficult
  4.2 ( 5 ) Favorite

Trail

8.6 mile 13.9 kilometer loop
Intermediate/Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 2,565' 782 m
Descent: -2,564' -782 m
High: 8,252' 2,515 m
Low: 5,744' 1,751 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 11% (6°)
Max Grade: 67% (34°)

Dogs

No Dogs
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Trail shared by Liz

A great but strenuous hike through the varied ecosystems of the park.

Liz

Features Birding · Views · Wildlife

Overview

This hike will take you from the Chihuahuan Desert, up through a canyon, to a treed ridgeline, and back down. The loop allows you experience the variety of environments within the park and offers some great views of the surrounding area. Make sure you're up for it through; the summer heat can make this one feel longer than it is. Come prepared.

Need to Know

This is a strenuous hike and there are no water sources along the way. Though the route winds up through Bear Canyon, and there are few trees along the ridgeline, most of the route is very exposed. Be sure to carry plenty of water, and wear sunscreen and a hat.

Description

This hike starts from the Pine Springs Trailhead and heads west, very briefly, on the Guadalupe Peak Trail. Take your first right onto the Tejas Trail and cross an old dirt road. The trail then crosses the Delaware River (mostly a sandy wash) and reaches a junction on the other side. This junction is where the loop splits; you can hike this either direction. To follow as mapped take a right onto Foothills Trail which follows the braided Delaware riverbed. About 0.5 mile into the hike, the trail splits; take the Frijole Trail heading north as the trail winds along through uninterrupted Chihuahuan Desert.

After about one mile on the Frijole Trail, Bear Canyon Trail turns left and heads north. This is where the going gets tough. The grade steepens significantly as you climb up through Bear Canyon. There area few switchbacks to help ease the grade, but be sure to watch your footing as there is loose sand and gravel in places that can make traction treacherous. As you reach the ridge, the grade eases a little. Bear Canyon Trail ends at the junction with the Bowl Trail.

Take a left onto the Bowl Trail and follow it to the junction with Hunter Peak Trail. Take this short detour up some steps to the summit of Hunter Peak. This is a great place to sit and take a break or eat lunch. Plus the views are quite nice! When you're ready, head back down the trail and take a left to continue west on the Bowl Trail. After about 0.5 mile you'll reach a junction where the Bowl Trail splits; stay left following the ridgeline west.

The Bowl Trail ends at the junction with the Tejas Trail and Bush Mountain Trail. Turn left to follow the Tejas Trail to descend from the mountains. The trail winds in and out of some valleys as it heads south. If you keep and eye open, you might be able to spot the Devil's Hall Trail below you. The trail gradually descends and before long you'll be back near the start. At the junction with Foothills Trail, a right to stay on Tejas Trail will lead you back to the parking lot.

Flora & Fauna

Common Chihuahuan Desert flora and fauna.

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Check-Ins

Apr 23, 2019
Dan Frechtling
12h 00m
Nov 10, 2018
Adventurous Way
2844ft 8.9mi
Oct 5, 2018
Michelle Gilbreath
Very strenuous hike on bear creek side Tejas side is beautiful and not so strenuous!! Did this with my friend and my 82 yr old mom !! 9.6mi

Trail Ratings

  4.2 from 5 votes

#2485

Overall
  4.2 from 5 votes
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in Texas

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