Tackling Texas' Toughest Trail: The Black Gap Road Adventure in Big Bend

Black Gap Road is a short trail located in Brewster County, in the U.S. state of Texas. It’s one of the famous primitive dirt roads in the Big Bend National Park. 4-wheel drive is required at all times.

Black Gap Road

How long is Black Gap Road in Big Bend?

Tucked away on the western part of Texas, near the Mexican border, this sandy and rocky 4x4 trail is 16.25km (10.1 miles) long and frequent crossing of washouts are required. This road is not maintained and runs from Glen Springs Road to Talley Road. The track has some steep parts and hits a 13% of maximum gradient through some of the ramps. It offers nice views of Chisos Mountains along most of the run as well as wide-open vistas of the Chihuahuan Desert.

Do I need a 4x4 for the Black Gap Road?

Located within the remote Big Bend National Park, the road is not easy. It’s a rough road with loose gravel. Remember to drive slowly and carefully (help is a long way off and a long time away). This road is not maintained, and high-clearance and 4x4 is required at all times. Before heading out on this road, always check your vehicle, and ensure that you are fully equipped to face the challenges of the route or a breakdown in the backcountry. Remember 24 inches high or more. Rocks can be stacked at the step. Drivers need to be prepared. Careful tire placement is critical. Not only is a 4WD vehicle mandatory, but 4WD experience is also necessary. Sharp rocks and deep ruts abound. The drive is an adventure unto itself; this road is totally unmaintained and crosses extremely rugged country (and is scenic to boot). The most challenging part of the drive is sometimes called "The Step" or "Pinch Canyon". 

When is the best time to drive the Black Gap Road?

The scenic route beckons adventurers throughout the year, boasting rugged terrains that promise an unforgettable drive. However, remember that the desert’s embrace is fierce — the scorching sun reigns supreme for the better part of the year. Venturing in the summer? Expect solitude, with the vast expanse to yourself, where hours might pass without another soul in sight. Ensure you pack more water than anticipated, as potable sources are scarce, and shade is a luxury. Winter paints a different picture, offering an ideal time for this journey. But be not deceived; while the desert may shed its heat, the chill can catch you off guard, and the sun remains relentless. Always a good idea: touch base with a ranger to get the latest on conditions.
Pic&more info: https://www.nps.gov/media/photo/gallery.htm?pg=6161978&id=AC43991B-82A6-4E4F-A7C6-1E36E877759F