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Pets allowed
No
Elevation Gain
100.00 ft (30.48 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
1.50 mi (2.41 km)
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This short, easy hike takes you to two normally dry waterfalls, or pour-offs, from the top of Burro Mesa. It also provides great visual insights to the volcanic history of the Chisos Mountains and the surrounding area. About 26 million years ago, Burro Mesa was connected to Emory Peak but slowly dropped 3,000 feet down the fault line. The evidence is visible in the common dark red volcanic rhyolite capping the lighter yellowish breccia (gravel naturally cemented by a fine binder) that is also at the top of the Chisos. This is a 1-mile out-and-back hike that is called the Burro Mesa Pour-off, and there is a Burro Creek, but the hike described in most trail guides is actually to the pour-off on Javelina Creek.  Burro Creek is the left branch of the wash and is clearly visible during the approach along the road to the trailhead. The right branch is Javelina Creek, and isn’t visible until you hike about a quarter-mile up the trail and intercept the wash. To visit both pour-offs adds about a half-mile to the total length of the hike. It is still an easy hike with just a bit of high-stepping up some boulders to get to the smaller Burro Mesa Pour-Off.

From the trailhead, follow the well-established trail up and over a small rise and descend gradually into the wash. Note the location for the trip back. Stay right and hike up the sandy wash to the pour-off along Javelina Creek. Note the various multi-color layers in the canyon walls, the darker rhyolite, the yellowish breccia, and the volcanic tuff. After taking your pictures at the first pour-off, retrace your steps. Where you intercepted the wash, veer right and follow the smaller wash up Burro Creek. In about a quarter-mile, you will have to work your way around and over several rock walls and boulders to get to the second smaller pour-off. Return the way you came.

Note: Two separate trails, Lower and Upper Burro Mesa Pour-Off trails, start from different trailheads. They do not connect, but are separted by the dangerous 100 foot vertical pour-off.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

Park entrance fee

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Short, easy hike through a desert wash with a neat pour-off.

Cons

Can be very hot in summer.

Trailhead Elevation

3,270.00 ft (996.70 m)

Highest point

3,380.00 ft (1,030.22 m)

Net Elevation Gain

100.00 ft (30.48 m)

Features

Waterfalls
Family friendly
Geologically significant

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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