Big Bend Texas MTB Tour, Lizard Head Cycling Guides
101 Bobtail or Box 855, Ophir, CO 81426 Phone: 970.728.5891

Big Bend Texas MTB Tour

Lizard Head Cycling Guides has found a mountain bike hide away in the far west Texas mountains of Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State ParkBig Bend is the largest, most remote, and least visited National Park in the lower 48 states. The combination of 8,000-foot mountains and Chihuahuan desert together make Big Bend the most biologically diverse landscape in the North America. The region offers surprisingly good singletrack, rugged jeep trails and warm temperatures to MTB riders. The weather is best ridden in the late winter/early spring and late fall months.

Big Bend Texas MTB Tour: Highlights

Mountain biking in Big Bend Ranch State Park

Mountain biking in Big Bend Ranch State Park

The Contrabando ghost town in Big Bend Texas

The Contrabando ghost town in Big Bend Texas

Big Bend Texas, Sharing the trail

Sharing the trail in Big Bend Texas

Magnificent Desolation!

Magnificent Desolation!

Big Bend Texas MTB Tour: Dates

Potential tour dates are listed below and not all tour dates will run. Lock in your preferred tour date early as unopened tour dates will be closed. Please see the Spring/Autumn Tour Calendar and the Summer Tour Calendar for confirmed departures. Any unopened date can be a Custom Week (9 riders required). Please contact us via email or call 970.728.5891

2018 Early Spring Tour Dates

  • March 11 to 16, 2018 (Book Now!)
  • March 25 to 30, 2018 (Book Now!) – TOUR OPENED 3 riders needed to confirm departure 😉

2018 Spring Tour Dates

2018 Autumn Tour Dates

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Big Bend Texas MTB Tour: Overview

Reptile Rewards

Arrival/Departure Airport: El Paso, TX (guests fly into El Paso International Airport – ELP). Riders arrive in El Paso by 1pm Saturday and shuttle to the tour meeting hotel in Marfa, Texas.

Tour Length: The Big Bend MTB tour includes includes 5 days of riding. Camping, partial camping and all lodging options are available.

Tour Cost: $1,550 per person.
Group discount of 5% for groups of 4 or more (tour minimum must be met)
Please see our Tour Discounts Policy.

Bike Rental $250: Brand new 2017 Scott Spark 720 27.5 PLUS full suspension bikes are available for rent (limited sizing exists so sign up soon). If you dig your ride, you can take it home! Click here for more info. Riders can of course use their own bikes.

Rental Tent, Ground Pad and Sleeping Bag $85: Lizard Head Cycling offers late model camping gear rentals. The rental tent is a 3-person Sierra Design tent (sleeps 2 comfortably). The ground pads are 1.5 inches thick and our synthetic sleeping bags are rated for 20 degrees (so you’ll feel warm & comfy in the Texas Wilderness). **Al la Carte tent rental is $55-.

Total Miles: 100 to 175 miles, ride more or less depending on your fitness level, additional mileage options available. (Can I keep up on this tour?)

Daily Mileage Range: 15-40 miles

Ability Level: 2/3 (Intermediate to Advanced)

Group Size: 6 to 10 (this smaller size ensures a personalized experience on the trails)

Big Bend Tour Includes: 5 days of guide service, 4-nights of camping, all meals, park service fees, energy food, liquid refreshments, shuttles and mechanical support. Alcoholic beverages and massage are additional.

Also read Things To Do In El Paso either before or after your tour.

Meals On Tour

Lunches: Lizard Head Cycling Guides prepares healthy lunches to keep you going. We will serve you fresh organic fruits and veggies, salads, hummus, sandwich fixings, nuts, gourmet cheeses and of course plenty of salty/sweet snacks such as chips and cookies. We pride ourselves on being able to cater to specific dietary requests, so rest assured that you will be able to get the nutrition that works for you during the week. Gluten Free, Dairy Free or a someone who loves it all – we will keep you well fed during the tour!

Dinners: Lizard Head Cycling sources our favorite restaurants in each town that we visit. Our guides focus on establishments that offer fresh and local ingredients. Guests choose whatever they desire to eat off the menu: including appetizer, salad, entree and of course dessert... yum! :) Also, while on tour if a guest wants to dine early before the group and go to bed, this is fine. We understand that on some days sleep is the most important post-ride element.


Overall Route Map


MUST READ: Training for Your First MTB Tour: 5 Best Tips to Improve Your Pedaling Technique

Big Bend Texas MTB Tour: Itinerary*

*Tour itineraries are subject to change and modification based on the group, available accommodations and other unforeseen circumstances including weather, wildfires, flooding, hurricanes, landslides and/or other acts of nature. Please view this itinerary as an outline as to what to expect on this tour.

Day 0 (Sunday): Arrival in El Paso, Texas and shuttle to Marfa, Texas

Guests either drive to El Paso, Texas, or fly into El Paso International Airport (ELP) by 2pm on Day 0. We meet guests at the Courtyard Marriott and shuttled to Marfa, Texas. Sunday evening lodging or camping in Marfa, Texas is not included in the cost of the tour. Guests make reservations at either the El Cosmico (camping) or the Hotel Paisano.

NOTE #1 : If guests prefer to drive, they can meet us in Marfa, Texas Sunday evening. Cars can be left in Marfa for the duration of the tour.

Day 1 (Monday): Old Ore Road
20 to 31 miles with up to 1,300 feet of climbing

After an early breakfast in Marfa, we shuttle to out to start riding on the Dagger Flat Road in Big Bend National Park. Guides will off-load the bikes while riders pack snacks and plenty of water as there is little support during the morning’s ride into the back country of the National Park. The route along the Old Ore Road is semi-technical jeep road which is challenging at times. The route’s big sky views, warm temperatures and the mostly downhill trajectory make the effort worth-the-while.

The ride ends at the Langford Hot Springs where guides will prepare and serve lunch, and then after lunch, we will take a short hike along the Rio Grande to take a dip and relax in the hot springs. After a soak, there will be a short shuttle to the Rio Grande Village Campground; or an optional short 6-mile road ride to campground will add 6-miles to the day; or finally, an optional hike along the Hot Springs Trail to the campground. The hike, at around 4-miles in length, may be the perfect way to stretch the legs after the day’s activities. Once at the campground, tents are set up while the guides prepare a hearty in-camp dinner.

Elevation Profile: +1253 ft / -2347 ft

Elevation Profile: +1255 ft / -2350 ft

Day 2 (Tuesday): Black Gap Road
25 to 43 miles with up to 2,545 feet of climbing

After breakfast, we will depart via a short shuttle to the ride start at Glen Springs Road. Guides will off-load bikes while guests pack lunches and water.

About 18-miles into our ride, we will stop at the Mariscal Mines. Abandoned since the 1940s and isolated by its remote location in the middle of Big Bend National Park, the Mariscal Mine is a preserved mercury mining site in the state of Texas, and is a listed historic district on the National Register of Historic Places.

After the mine, we get back onto our route eventually circling back to the ride start and the support van to load the bikes and shuttle back to the campground. Once again, guides will prepare a scrumptious in-camp dinner and in the evening, we will enjoy the dark star filled skies.

Elevation Profile: +2545 ft / -2543 f

Elevation Profile: +2545 ft / -2545 f

Day 3 (Wednesday): Hiking in the Chisos Basin or River Rafting NOTE: Rafting depends on river levels

With no riding on today’s agenda, we will take the opportunity to take in some of the more unique aspects that the Big Bend region has to offer.

In the morning, we will break down camp after our breakfast, load gear into the support van and shuttle to the start of a half-day river rafting tour through the Santa Elena Canyon on the Rio Grande between the US and Mexico. NOTE: If water levels are low, rafting options will need to be evaluated.

After the river rafting tour, we then shuttle to the Chisos Basin and to the Chisos Basin Campground.  In the afternoon guests hike along the myriad trails within the basin, or simply relax and take in the magnificent views. NOTE: The Chisos Basin offers an astounding display of wildlife, especially birds. The combination of 7,500-foot mountains and Chiuhuana desert below make the Big Bend ecosystem the most biologically diverse landscape in North America.

Day 4  (Thursday): Big Bend Epic!
Part 1 : 34-54 mile options with between 3,400-4,100 feet of climbing

Welcome to the Other Side of Nowhere!

Today begins an epic two-day journey deep into the heart of nowhere – Big Bend Ranch State Park – perhaps one of the most remote areas in all the continental US. The Epic route begins with a mix of singletrack and dual track dirt roads, both of which can be challenging at times. At around the 10-mile point in the ride, we will have an option to add about 8-9 miles to the ride by circumnavigating Contrabando Dome. After the Dome we continue following the trail  towards the Sauceda Headquarters Complex in Big Bend Ranch State Park at approximately the 31 mile point. Here there is a park store with water and food, the only source within the park. After Sauceda HQ, we continue riding WNW for another 13-miles until reaching the primitive Papalote Rancho Viejo campsite to meet the support van. We will setup camp while guides prepare an in-camp dinner.

Video of mountain biking within Big Bend Ranch State Park:

Elevation Profile: +3395 ft / -2719 ft

34 Mile EPIC Option Elevation Profile: +3395 ft / -2720 ft

54 Mile Elevation Profile: +4088 ft / -3411 ft

54 Mile EPIC Option Elevation Profile: +4090 ft / -3410 ft

Day 5 (Friday): Big Bend Epic! Part 2
36 miles with up to 1,600 feet of climbing

On our last day, we break camp after breakfast and load gear into the support van. Guests will pack snacks, load up on water and then depart on their bikes to begin the ride along dual-track dirt roads. Following a “cruisy” route, the ride ends on RT 169 where the dirt turns to pavement – good job!

We then load the bikes and shuttle a short distance back to Marfa, Texas for dinner. After our final meal, we depart from Marfa to shuttle back to El Paso to arrive around 7pm or 8pm local time.

Elevation Profile: +1519 ft / -1236 ft

Elevation Profile: +1520 ft / -1235 ft

Big Bend Texas MTB Tour: Logistics & FAQs

Bike Shipping

Lizard Head Cycling recommends shipping with Bikes can be shipped either to our partner bike shop in each meeting town for professional assembly or directly to the meeting hotel for self-assembly. Bike boxes can generally be left at the meeting hotel during the tour. Bikes shipped across the continental US should be shipped 8 days prior to your tour.

Any dietary preferences or allergies should be noted on the registration form. Each of Lizard Head Cycling’s lunches contains gluten free options.

Tour Support
A 15-passenger van and trailer that carries luggage, food and equipment will support this tour.

General Tour & Cancellation Policies

Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with all of our tour and cancellation policies, which can be found by clicking here.

Travel Insurance

Lizard Head Cycling Guides highly recommends clients purchase Travel Insurance through MH Ross Travel Insurance. A policy can be purchased individually through the sales link below or Lizard Head Cycling Guides can also set-up a policy for its clients.

The estimated cost for a 50-year old buying insurance for a $2,500 tour ranges from $100 (standard plan) to about $200 (cancel for any reason plan).

Lizard Head Cycling Guides Custom Sales Portal Link is:

  • The best options for our clients are either the Asset or Bridge plans.
  • The Asset-Plus & Complete plans both include a Cancel-For-Any-Reason option.
    • As a result these plans cost more.
    • The Cancel-for-Any-Reason option is only available when insurance is purchased within two weeks of initial deposit.