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Cattail Falls in Big Bend National Park is a Delicate Journey With a Magnificent Reward

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Cattail Falls is a reminder that you don’t have to look very far to find yourself in paradise. In this instance, you’ll want to get to Big Bend National Park for this hidden gem, which is one that shouldn’t be passed up. At 80 feet, its cascading waterfall into an enchanting series of clear pools at the bottom of the mountainside it springs from makes it seem so refreshing and almost tropical. Most seasons here will have at least some water coming over the falls, but if you’re planning a mid-summer trip, be cognizant that they may be dry owing to our hot Texas sun.

Cattail Falls in Big Bend National Park Is A Delicate Journey With A Magnificent Reward

Photo: Facebook/Texas Bighorn Society

Cattail Canyon is one of the foremost ravines on the western side of the Chisos Mountains in Big Bend National Park. It starts in the high country at over 6,000 feet elevation and descends precipitously down to the desert plains below. Largely inaccessible due to its steep sides and several prevailing pour-offs, the canyon itself can be explored with the use of ropes.

Cattail Falls in Big Bend National Park Is A Delicate Journey With A Magnificent Reward

Photo: Facebook/JT Lynch to Friends of Big Bend National Park

The lowest section of the canyon, however, can be easily visited using the 1.5-mile Cattail Falls Trail, crossing swelling hills and entering a densely wooded area which encloses a small stream flowing from the base of Cattail Falls. The red rocks on the cliff face at the back of the falls have long been streaked with white and black colors, and are partly encircled by lush green vegetation. Beautiful to look at but a delicate ecosystem, the wooded canyon is home to a variety of unusual plants and wildlife.

Cattail Falls in Big Bend National Park Is A Delicate Journey With A Magnificent Reward
Photo: Facebook/Mary Bryan Reid

Not marked on the National Park Service map of Big Bend, the trail to the falls may not be noted due to the desire to protect the fragile environment of Cattail Falls. Believed to be for the same reason, the trailhead is also not marked with signage on the highway, however, the trail does have a sign approximately a half-mile from the parking area. Visitors will see this placed along a graveled section, with a notice identifying the added care that’s needed while visiting. In advance, you should be aware that visitors are asked not to wade in the pools and to stay on the path, as well as to walk only on the rocks as opposed to the soil when in the vicinity of the falls. It’s quite an intriguing hike, and well worth the journey once you’ve arrived and been able to witness its magnificence.

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