Navigating the rugged and rocky Old Ore Road in Big Bend NP

Nestled within Texas's Big Bend National Park, the Old Ore Road offers an adventurous journey into the past. This road traces the steps of early 20th-century mule and pack trains that transported ore from Mexican mines to the Marathon railroad station. It’s one of the famous primitive dirt roads in the Big Bend National Park.

Old Ore Road

What to Expect on the Old Ore Road?

Brewster County plays host to this entirely unpaved route. Its rocky and rough terrains are a challenge that requires vehicles built to endure. Current conditions reveal an unmaintained, deteriorating path, demanding both High Clearance and genuine Four-Wheel Drive. Sadly, it's off-limits for passenger cars, minivans, motorhomes, and smaller crossover SUVs due to its challenging nature.

Venturing the Length of Old Ore Road

Situated amidst the Chihuahuan desert's vast expanse, this trail spans 42.96km (26.7 miles) from Dagger Flat Road to the Rio Grande Overlook, close to the Mexican border. For those looking to immerse fully, 11 Primitive Roadside Campsites are strategically placed along the road. Given the area's isolated nature, it's crucial to ensure your vehicle is well-prepared. Remember, the road poses challenges from sharp rocks to deep sand and steep inclines. Regular passenger vehicles won't suffice here.

The Unmatched Experience of Old Ore Road

Despite its challenges, the road promises unparalleled scenic views. Those embarking on this journey should set aside at least half a day to truly appreciate its beauty. The route's highest point, sitting at 956m (3,136ft) above sea level, offers majestic views of the Chisos Mountains to the west, with the Tornillo Creek drainage as the backdrop. The famous Ernst Tinaja, situated five miles from the road's southern tip, is a must-visit spot.
Pic: Eugene Mazz