Dome Loop via E. Contrabando Trailhead

 11 votes
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Featured Ride

19.8 Miles 31.8 Kilometers



1,035' 316 m


-1,035' -316 m


2,850' 869 m


2,396' 730 m



Avg Grade (1°)


Max Grade (10°)

All Clear

78 days agoUpdate

Great views of Big Bend State park, covering 5 trails.

Kody Gibson


Awesome views, covering several trails along the Epic route. Mostly singletrack, with a little bit of jeep road.

Need to Know

Lots of erosion can be found on the Jeep road. Be cautious approaching dry creek beds.

Contrabando Waterhole Trail is very loose/sandy.

Desert Sports bike shop is an excellent shop, and they know everything about these trails.


Follow flowy singletrack through Dog Cholla, which is a fun singletrack section, until you take a left on an old jeep trail. Take a right on the appropriately named Crystal Trail - another fun singletrack section with a couple short technical spots. The highlight of this trail is an entire hill covered in Calcite Crystal.

After taking a right on the jeep road, follow the singletrack on Camino Viejo Trail to the Contrabando Waterhole trail, where a sharp left takes you down along a loose sandy creek bed.

Meet the east side of the Contrabando Dome Loop, where you'll head north and start a nice climb. The Dome Loop consists of mostly old jeep trail that has slowly turned into singletrack. It flows through loose washes and volcanic rock. It's 250 feet of climbing until about mile 8 of this route, then you'll start to descend. There are a few spots with exposure. Around the 10.5 mile marker, you'll cross a deep wash. If you lose the trail, just look straight ahead for the 3-4 foot ledge you should be riding/hiking up.

Stay to the left until you start the decent, and eventually land back at the Contrabando Waterhole.

On the way back along the jeep trail, don't miss Rock Quarry Trail on the right, which is one of the singletrack trails built for mountain bikes. Sail down Dog Cholla once again before hitting the parking lot.

History & Background

This trail rides through the ruins of abandoned cinnabar mines. Most of the trail is along an old contraband road used to access the mines, and transport illicit goods.


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4.7 from 11 votes

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Your Check-Ins


Apr 29, 2017
Michael Adames
Feb 17, 2017
Jeff W.
Great ride. Smooth climbing on great singletrack. Great fun and some nice tech sections. The Big Bend State Park trails are AWESOME.
Feb 15, 2017
Feb 2, 2017
Clay Campbell
18.8mi — 2h 40m
May 27, 2016
Chris Beveridge
Got lost trying to find way around west side of dome. Trail was very poorly marked. 19.8mi
Dec 19, 2015
Vincent Edwards
Added the Fresno Trail out and back for 6.6 extra miles and some great descending. 26mi
May 23, 2015
Nick Landis
May 11, 2015
Cliff van Veen

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Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 11 votes


  4.7 from 11 votes
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All Clear 78 days ago
Dry: Some (typical) dry loose deep sand on waterhole - otherwise absolutely prime conditions
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This trail system will challenge you but keep you smiling the whole time. The best riding season is Novemeber through April owing to the oppessive heat of the Big Bend summer. Plan ahead and contact Desert Sports or the Barton Warnock Visitor Center (432-424-3327) for conditions before you make the trek out! May 15, 2016

This trail was well worth the trip! Bring LOTS of water and spare tubes (slime or tubless is a must), even if you go on a cooler time of yea it is still normally really dry and you may not see another rider the entire time you are out there. Oct 11, 2016

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