Short Hike to Balanced Rock in BBNP

We felt the frequent bumps as the truck carefully navigated through the rocky unpaved road in a slow one-hour drive in Grapevine Springs. We were driving to get to the trailhead so that we can hike the sandy trail to climb to the Balanced Rock in Big Bend National Park.

Balanced Rock in Big Bend National Park

GRAVITY-DEFYING BALANCE. These look like impossibly stacked boulders perched on two pedestals on top of a hill. Geology explains that these rocks are composed of volcanic tuff from volcanic ash and debris. Over time, the softer rock beneath eroded away, leaving this imposing, beautiful gravity-defying formation.

To get to the trailhead:

Drive on a gravel road called Grapevine Springs about 3.3 miles west of the Panther Junction Visitor Center along the north side of the road. Road to get there is about 6 miles off-road, with the last 1-2 miles being very rough. Dirt road is an hour slow drive, last 1/4 mile is really rocky. There are dips on the road that require high clearance vehicles to safely pass through. It’s advisable to drive slow on this road, definitely have to take your time with getting here because it is all dirt road with tricky spots although cars seemed to handle it well.

Grapevine Springs Road, facing the Chisos Mountains
Grapevine Springs Road, facing the Chisos Mountains

Short Hike to Balanced Rock in BBNP:

Difficulty: easy to moderate
Distance: 2.2 miles out and back
Time: 1-2 hours

From the trailhead, the hike to Balanced Rock is 2.2 miles out and back, with an elevation gain of 311 feet. The hike is relatively short so even kids enjoy the hike and the climb. The trail is mostly on a sandy wash. Because you are walking and ever slightly going up on sand, the legs are doing harder work. This trail was easy, just a little rocky and ‘scrambly’ at the end, but nothing hard. 

Short Hike to Balanced Rock in BBNP
A view of the trail from the trailhead seen as we started to ascend.

This is definitely a family hike, or a great hike to warm up or cool down from other hikes in the park, it is a short Hike to Balanced Rock in BBNP. Quite a steep scramble at the end to get to the rock so be prepared for that. Very doable for all ages. High reward, great views! Trail is absolutely worth it, with the pinnacle at the top with the balanced rocks! Quite exposed trail so bring plenty of water and sun hat!

Short Hike to Balanced Rock in BBNP

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