Lost Mine Trail may be the most spectacular short hike in Big Bend National Park. It departs from a rather unassuming trailhead along the Chisos Basin Road and then climbs through forest for about a mile before the views get good. But when they get good, they get really good. Soon the trees thin out and you'll look out over a huge canyon on the backside of the Chisos Range, toward Boquillas at the Mexican border and more mountains far in the distance. The sheer walls of Casa Grande Peak and the high spine of the Chisos tower overhead.
Keep going and the views get even better. You will dip back into shady forest as switchbacks begin to ascend Lost Mine Peak. Hang in there for the climb and you'll soon find your reward at the top. The trail emerges suddenly among boulders and reveals a bare-rock summit ridge with huge views falling away in all directions. This is not the tallest point in the range, but its position gives an exceptional vantage of impressive golden peaks and deep green valleys that give way to beige desert far below.
This is one of the park's most popular trails, but for good reason. Unfortunately the parking lot is small and it can be hard to find a spot. Get here early in the day if you can. If you find it full, keep going down into the Chisos Basin, do a short alternative hike, or peruse the visitor center and come back to try Lost Mine again later. Be mindful of the time, however, so you don't get caught in the dark.