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Devil’s Den Professional Review and Guide
"The route follows several arroyos, or dry washes, up the south rim of Devil’s Den Canyon and ends high atop the back side of this narrow canyon. The views from this ridge provide a seldom-seen look into a hidden valley within the Dead Horse Mountains—the true Dagger Flat. As with all primitive routes at Big Bend, you need a topographic map and good hiking skills for Devil’s Den.This route can be traveled any season of the year. However, if you are hiking between mid-April and the end of September, this hike can be very hot. During that time of year, avoid extreme afternoon temperatures by walking during early morning hours.Wear long pants to protect your legs on this cross-country route."
--Laurence Parent, Hiking Big Bend National Park (Falcon Guides).
Did this trail in January 08 so the temp was very nice at about 60 degrees. Mid-summer would be brutal. I started the hike from the Nine Point Draw primitive campsite which cuts a little of the mundane desert flats hiking. You can see Devil's Den from the campsite so just hike towards it trying to avoid the sticking things as much as possible. Long pants are good but don't forget the tweezers for the needles that get through. Eventually, you intersect with the wash so just follow the near (south) side. The guide suggests hiking the south rim to the far side where you can safely drop down into the Den if you wish to hike back through it. I was hiking alone so elected not to hike through because there are some moves that are a little risky and I didn't want to get wet (there are unavoidable pools). If you like canyons, you'll enjoy this hike. Take a buddy and do it in the cooler parts of the year. It was about 4 and half hours and I killed at least an hour exploring.
The hike to Devil's Den can start from the pulloff at the Dog Canyon trail head, or can be attempted from the Nine Point Draw camping area. I started the hike from the camping area, and although a GPS unit is probably not needed, having not made the hike before, I chose to play it safe and marked my vehicle's location. I then started off cross country in the direction of the geologic feature clearly visible on a distant hillside. Bushwacking across the open desert necessitated numerous detours around thick stands of native vegetation which grew even thicker as I approached the draw that would lead to Devil's Den. Once to it, it took some searching to find a clearing that allowed me to descend into the bed of the dry wash. From there it was fairly easy going hiking up the arroyo. Once at the Den, there were numerous holes and interesting deep cuts carved in the bedrock, some large enough to be considered shallow caves. There were also numerous fossils in the face of this water carved stone, some showing cross sections of ancient plants. Alltogether not a bad hike, although plenty of water is a must.
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