Big Bend Texas MTB Tour, Lizard Head Cycling Guides
107 Aurum St, Box 855, Ophir, CO 81426 970.728.5891

Big Bend Texas MTB Tour

Please click here to jump to the Overview section with all tour details including pricing.

Big Bend Texas MTB Tour: Highlights

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.

Must Watch PBS Documentary: Big Bend: The Wild Frontier of Texas

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: Testimonials

Read what previous guests on our Big Bend Texas MTB tour have been saying…

We had a fantastic trip with DeAnne and Dave!!! They did a terrific job and an awesome trip!!! – Mike

Back home this afternoon and looking forward to my own bed! Both the Big Bend MTB trip and Texas Hill Country trip were equally good and I’m glad I was able to ride back to back. Big Bend is a great MTB trip, the best of the three I’ve done with you. It’s a nice blend of jeep roads and the single track trails are excellent. In fact I’d say the single track is well underrated. The downside is getting there. Hill Country is a solid week of excellent road biking on solitary roads with great places to stay. Anna and Peter are excellent guides, they are keepers. They kept the trip moving on time each morning and offered solid support on the road. I was particularly impressed with their attention to detail on the daily rides. The turn by turn sheets were very complete and accurate. They also spend a good amount of time in the morning and again after lunch on the route. I’ve been on a lot of trips were the guides barely bothered. They also kept things on time at night regarding dinners. I really appreciate keeping things on time and they did a great job. – Karl

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

To easily register for a particular tour, please click the Book Now! link after the tour date listed below. This will select the tour name and the appropriate date on the registration form.

2023 Tour Dates

This tour runs from Monday to Friday unless otherwise noted.

Tour Status Notes: NO STATUS = Date Set, no riders have signed up. TOUR OPENED = Tour Opened, rider minimums not met. TOUR A GO! = Tour is Go, rider minimums met. SOLD OUT = Tour Full, rider maximums met.

Big Bend Texas MTB Tour: Overview

Reptile Rewards

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

Arrival/Departure Airport: Riders arrive in El Paso, Texas via plane (El Paso International Airport – ELP) or car by 3:00 pm on Day 0 (the day prior to tour start) and then shuttle to the tour meeting hotel in Alpine, Texas. Riders will return to El Paso around 7:00 pm on the final day.

Tour Cost: $1,760 per person. Please see our Reptile Rewards & Tour Discounts page for more information on Group Discounts. Please note that for discounts to apply the tour minimum must be met.

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: Upper Intermediate (3)  

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

Mountain Bike Rentals

NOTE: The make, model, and specifications of rental bikes may differ from what is described below. Please contact us if you have any specific needs for a rental bike or have any questions about rental bikes.

Lizard Head Cycling Guides is proud to rent the Scott Spark 930, a truly fantastic way to go up or down a mountain. We have been riding mountain bikes for a very long time here at Lizard Head, but we can easily say our rentals are the most fun mountain bikes we have ever ridden. The Spark 930 blends the featherweight lineage of its race focused cousin with the single track chops of a 120mm travel ripper - this bike is up for anything.

The Spark 930 features: Spark Carbon HMF-Alloy Frame, FOX 34 Float Performance 130mm Fork, FOX Nude EVOL/120mm/TwinLoc rear shock, Shimano XT-SLX 12 Speed Drivetrain, Shimano Deore Disc Brakes, Syncros X-25 TR Rims, Maxxis Rekon Folding Tires, plus Syncros Dropper Post. Approx. Weight: 28.88 lbs / 13.10 kg (without pedals)

Learn More: Click Here to learn more about our Mountain Bike Rentals including pricing.

If you have any further questions, please read more on our Rental Bikes FAQ page. You can also email us at or call us at 970.728.5891

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-.

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

Lizard Head Cycling Guides provides most meals on all tours (unless otherwise noted) including breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Guides will prepare a daily lunch en route for nearly every tour, both road and off-road, as well as provide nutritious snacks at periodic aid stations during the day.

Most of our road tours utilize local restaurants for all meals and occasionally guides may prepare a dinner or two during a tour. Due to the nature of being "off the grid", most of our off-road tours feature guide prepared meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. FUN NOTE: When guides prepare a meal in camp and the guests sit around and watch, this is called "Guide TV". :)

We also pride ourselves on being able to cater to specific dietary requests and needs, so rest assured that you will be able to get the nutrition that works best for you during your tour. Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan, or a someone who loves it all – we will keep you well fed during the 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.

Dinners: On our road tours, Lizard Head Cycling sources our favorite restaurants in each town that we visit. Our guides focus on establishments that offer fresh and local ingredients and guests choose whatever they desire to eat off the menu including: appetizer, salad, entrée, 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.

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, road construction, road closures, and other unforeseen circumstances including weather, wildfires, flooding, hurricanes, landslides and/or other acts of nature. Also, the distances and elevation profiles shown below may not reflect the actual distances and elevations while on tour as these are provided here to give an idea as to the anticipated mileage and terrain. Please view this itinerary, the distances, and elevation profiles as a general outline as to what to expect while on this tour.

Day 0: Arrival in Texas and shuttle to Alpine, Texas

Guests fly to El Paso International Airport (ELP) no later than 3:00 P.M. on Day 0. We meet guests in El Paso and shuttle to the meeting hotel in Alpine, Texas. The lodging or camping in Alpine, Texas is not included in the cost of the tour and guests make their own reservations. Lodging and camping options in Alpine, Texas will be provided in the tour confirmation documentation.

NOTE: If guests prefer to drive, they can meet us in Alpine, Texas on Day 1. Cars can be left in Alpine for the duration of the tour.

Day 1: Maverick Road to Santa Elena Canyon
MTB Ride: 17 miles with up to 475 feet of climbing
Bonus Road Ride: 32 miles with up to 4,310 feet of climbing

Day 1 of the Big Bend MTB tour starts with a 20-mile mostly downhill dirt ride on the Maverick Road to the splendor of Santa Elena Canyon. The Rio Grande flows through and exits Santa Elena Canyon where the Maverick Road ends. At this spot beneath 700-foot vertical walls we’ll meet the truck for lunch, go for a short walk into the canyon and of course swim and/or walk across the Rio Grande to Mexico & back!

Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive Road Ride Bonus!

And after lunch there is a bonus! On our rig we will have extra road bikes and if you are up for it, we’ll let you saddle up. From lunch it is about 30-miles of choice pavement along Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive to our campsite in the Chisos Basin. Much of this 30-miles is up, so we’ll shuttle away about 10-15 miles and then ride to camp. Of course if one wants to attempt to E.F.I. this section, we’ll let you punish yourself on Day 1. 😉 Anyway you have it, Day 1 is a keeper.


MTB Ride – Elevation Profile: 17 mi +475 ft / -910 ft

Road Ride – Elevation Profile: 32 mi +4310 ft / -2050 ft

Day 2: Marsical Mine to Langford Hot Springs
42 miles with up to 1,440 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 20-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 to meander along River Road which offers views of the Rio Grande and Mexico. The ride ends at the Langford Hot Springs where guests can soak in the warm waters after a great day on the bike.


Elevation Profile: 42 mi +1440 ft / -2695 ft

Day 3: Chisos Basin Hike and Lajitas Trails

In the morning before leaving our hideaway in the Chisos Mountains, we’ll head out in the morning for a hike of up to 10-miles. The Chisos Basins’ trails flora and fauna are world class attracting ornithologists from all over the world. Residing several thousand feet above the northern reaches of the Chihuahuan Desert are why Big Bend National Park is considered one of the most varied and diverse landscapes in North America. The mountains and desert together attract birds from the entire hemisphere from Patagonia to the Arctic, while the wildlife in the basin ranges from snakes to puma and even black bear.

After shuttling out of the Chisos Mountains we spend the afternoon on the smooth and flowy Lajitas Trails just outside the National Park.


Lajita Trails – Elevation Profile

Day 4: 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: 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 back to El Paso, Texas to arrive around 7:00 pm 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.

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

If you have not already, now would be a great time to consider adding travel insurance to your tour. You are welcome to use any travel insurance company you would like. We recommend Generali/Trip Mate.

Generally, if contracting COVID causes clients to cancel or interrupt their tour, trip insurance companies would treat it as any other illness as long as it is contracted after the insurance was purchased. Please check your individual plan documentation for details. Please note that quarantine is usually only covered if clients are actually sick with COVID. If a state requires quarantine upon arrival because of standardized state law, coverage is generally not covered. Again, check your individual plan documentation for details.

American Guests - use this link:

  • The Premium Plan is the only plan which offers Pre-Existing coverage so long as the plan is purchased prior to Final Payment.
  • The Premium Plan is the only plan that offers an optional Cancel For Any Reason - the policy must be purchased within 24 hours of initial trip deposit, the full trip cost must be insured, and if they cancel for Any Reason, it must be 48 hours prior to departure, and the reimbursement for an Any Reason claim is 60% of pre-paid, insured, non-refundable trip cost.
  • Customer Service can be reached at 1-800-874-2442 for coverage questions and policy modifications or to purchase by phone. Agency Code: LIZA0855

Canadian Guests - use this link:

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