“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.