“A great 50-mile, full-day ride to the Solitario with an added Road to Nowhere out-and-back.
— Jiri Hajek
A full day ride through the heart of Big Bend Ranch State Park that takes riders through the upper part of Fresno Canyon, circumnavigates the Solitario dome, returning to the Sauceda Ranger Station. An optional Road to Nowhere
out-and-back offers great views of the Solitario.
Check with the park for closures during hunting season.
Need to Know
- This loop can be ridden year-round, but it's best from October to March. Summer gets very hot.
- Potable water is available at Sauceda (start/end or at Tres Papalotes (mm 32). It is a good idea to carry more water than needed in case of any delays or mechanicals. There is no cell service anywhere to call for help.
This ride starts at the Sauceda ranger station. Head east on the main park road, past the airstrip. At mile 4.3, take a right towards La Posta. At La Posta, the road gets rough and eventually starts a very steep descent into Fresno Canyon.
At 7.0 miles, take the singletrack to the left climbing out of Fresno Canyon towards Pila Montoya where you'll rejoin a jeep road. Continuing east along this road towards the Solitario will offer some spectacular views of the State Park.
Turn right at a split in the road to follow the end of the Solitario Loop
for a few miles. Before mile 17.0, the road ends. Next the Outer Solitario Loop Trail
leads riders on a singletrack with great views. The following 7.0 miles are the most technical of the entire route with several hike-a-bike sections. This portion tends to get overgrown and the trail is often hard to follow. It's a good idea to keep the MTB Project mobile app
handy to follow if you're unfamiliar with the trail (alternatively you can take a left at the Burnt Camp Trailhead and follow the easier Inner Solitario Loop Trail
Either option will connect back to the Solitario Loop
where the nearby Road to Nowhere
makes a great out-and-back roughly at 27.0 miles. This will add about 4.0 miles of nice jeep road climbs and descents. Once back on the main trail, it's about a mile to reach the Tres Papalotes Group Site.
Head north along the rocky / gravely jeep road from earlier to eventually rejoin the main park road. Take a right on the Papalote Encino Trail
for a nice flowy 3.0 miles of singletrack. Rejoin the main road again near the airstrip and continue west to get back to Sauceda.