The Old Ore Road

Panther Junction, Texas

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Well, here you go. Off into the high Chihuahuan Desert and the mountains and scenery of Big Bend National Park. It will make you think about why in the heck you’re out here in the middle of nowhere riding your bike. Why? Sometimes it ain’t a lot of fun, sometimes it hurts and makes you bleed. But when the conditions are right, and when your attitude is right, it is a journey to the center of your mind. The Old Ore Road is called that because the miners used to haul ore up this thing to Marathon, long ago. If you ride this course the way I try to, you will start to the north on a huge flat desert full of yucca plants all around. They call them Mexican daggers here, and the name Dagger Flats will be forever burned into your memory if you ever see this area in bloom. You gradually wind over and around on an old gravel road toward a vista that looks out on some magnificent badlands. On the way you gradually leave the high flats and ride along a ridge—mountains to your left, mountains to your right, mountains ahead. You reach the vista above McKinney Springs, and you can see out across the badlands toward Panther Junction and the Chisos Mountains, and you may spot a vehicle on the park road, several miles to the west.

The Old Ore Road Professional Review and Guide

"Well, here you go. Off into the high Chihuahuan Desert and the mountains and scenery of Big Bend National Park. It will make you think about why in the heck you’re out here in the middle of nowhere riding your bike. Why? Sometimes it ain’t a lot of fun, sometimes it hurts and makes you bleed. But when the conditions are right, and when your attitude is right, it is a journey to the center of your mind.

The Old Ore Road is called that because the miners used to haul ore up this thing to Marathon, long ago. If you ride this course the way I try to, you will start to the north on a huge flat desert full of yucca plants all around. They call them Mexican daggers here, and the name Dagger Flats will be forever burned into your memory if you ever see this area in bloom. You gradually wind over and around on an old gravel road toward a vista that looks out on some magnificent badlands. On the way you gradually leave the high flats and ride along a ridge—mountains to your left, mountains to your right, mountains ahead. You reach the vista above McKinney Springs, and you can see out across the badlands toward Panther Junction and the Chisos Mountains, and you may spot a vehicle on the park road, several miles to the west."

Activity Type: Mountain Biking
Nearby City: Panther Junction
Distance: 27
Elevation Gain: 1,100 feet
Trail Type: Shuttle
Technical Difficulty: Difficult
Physical Difficulty: Difficult
Season: Best October - April
Trailhead Elevation: 3,150 feet
Top Elevation: 3,150 feet
Local Contacts: Big Bend National Park
Local Maps: Trails Illustrated Big Bend National Park
Driving Directions: Directions to The Old Ore Road

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May 2018