The Lost Mine Trail is a strenuous 5 mile walk that starts at 5600 ft. and goes up to 6850 ft. The views are spectacular at nearly every step, and at the top there’s a view across the mountains and down over a divide into two beautiful canyons.
The Chisos Mountain Basin, which is the center of the park and the beginning of many of the hikes, is 30 miles from the campground – a beautiful drive through flat desert, with mountains all around.
This is the sign at the pass into the Chisos Basin – we were hoping to see a mountain lion, but didn’t have any luck.
The Lost Mine Trail starts out through the woods, where we saw several Carmen Mountains White-tailed Deer. They are a subspecies of common White-tailed Deer – they are very small and, in the US, live almost exclusively in the higher elevations in Big Bend National Park.
Lichens on a juniper branch
As we climbed, we got out of the trees and started seeing views of the surrounding mountains.
Dry fern growing in the rock
Bright colored lichens growing on the rocks.
The trail goes up in switchbacks, so the climbing isn’t too steep.
Spanish Needles – Palafoxia sp. – tiny delicate flowers at the edge of the trail
Fleabane – Erigeron sp.
Getting closer to the top
There’s a distinct line running along the ridge, with trees on one side, and desert on the other. It may have to do with the prevailing winds, and where the moisture is coming from.
When we got to the top there were wonderful views all around us.
There were also a few butterflies. We hadn’t seen any on the way up – they must like the top.
American Lady – Vanessa virginienses – the same species that we see in Wisconsin
And the best one – a Great Purple Hairstreak – Atlides halesus – a spectacular butterfly that lives in the southern US. I’d never seen one before.
When we got back down we took another shorter, and less strenuous walk. There were signs along the way about mountain lions – warning people keep their small children close by, and not to walk early in the morning or at dusk. But we didn’t see any animals except Mule Deer wandering onto the path.
We had dinner at the restaurant at the lodge – a nice restaurant, with a wonderful view of the Chisos Basin.
Then the drive back to the campground at sunset.