Black Gap Road

4.6/5 (17 reviews)
Terlingua, Texas (Brewster County)
Last Updated: 03/30/2022
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Trail Information

Highlights

Black Gap Road in Big Bend National Park is 1 of only 2 Jeep Badge of Honor Trails in Texas; and arguably the most well known off-road trail, in the state of Texas. Connecting Glenn Springs Road with River Road, Black Gap is perhaps the most remote un-maintained road in the park, providing scenic views of the Chisos Mountain Range as well as wide-open vistas of the Chihuahuan Desert. For those looking to experience Texas at its best, Black Gap Road is an absolute must do!

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

Traveling north to south, Black Gap is roughly divided into two halves. The northern half (approximately 4.5 miles) of the trail being the more technical, consisting of loose rock, a section of slightly off-camber ledge road, dry river beds of loose sand, heavier washouts, and the "the gap" - the obstacle giving the route its name. The southern half (approximately 4 miles) is primarily flat, dirt road along the open desert.

While the trail can be traversed in either direction, most generally consider traveling north to south the more convenient and slightly more challenging for stock vehicles since this includes climbing up the gap, rather than descending.

High-clearance vehicles are a must given the breakover angles of many of the washouts, with 4WD only being needed in some select areas. Stock 4WD vehicles with minimal approach and departure angles may want to pay special attention to navigating some of the obstacles to avoid scraping bumpers, however most 4WDs with even a minimal lift and/or larger tires should easily clear all obstacles. Wide-body vehicles will be prone to heavy pin-striping through much of the trail and only the most experienced of full-sized vehicle owners would want to consider traversing the washouts of the off-camber ledge road near the northern end of the trail.

River beds and ledge washouts are prone to flooding during periods of heavy rain and may make the route impassable. Always stop at one of Big Bend National Park's visitor centers to get the latest trail report for traversing the route.

Trail Reviews

4.6/5 (17 reviews)
Status: Open
Rated 3/5
Visited: 01/24/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Easier

Not very challenging, we had 6 jeeps and the dust was horrendous.
Status: Open
Visited: 01/07/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Easier

Drove this on a Sat as part of a complete loop around the park (Glenn Springs, Black Gap, River Road). Beautiful weather in the mid 70’s with very little wind. Only a few others on any of the trails. Easy drive. Even the obstacle at Black Gap Pass is pretty simple these days.
Trail Review: Black Gap Road - Peter Newell
Status: Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 03/31/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

This trail is a must if you're in the Big Bend area with a Jeep! It's not a difficult trail but has some fun spots. The views are well worth the visit alone. We ran the trail north to south and then again south to north to shorten the drive out. The northern part we did air down and disconnect and then used 4-lo to in spots. We climbed right up the Gap as there were many rocks stacked. No pinstriping as of yet... The trail entrance is really fun, with a hill descent (from the north) then a hard left through shallow water. Yes, water in Big Bend when it's dry! The Overlook area is a great lunch spot. Take binoculars!
Status: Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 01/22/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

This trail gets a lot of mixed reviews. To many it's too easy for the rating Jeep gives it in the Badge of Honor system but I think it's spot on. If you think about how far Big Bend National Park is from just about everything and just getting there is a journey itself. Once there you still need to get to Black Gap which is about about an hour inside the park gate. That is just to start the trail. The trail works best alone, because of just how desolate it is. You make a mistake here, its not gonna be fun. In a group (which is recommended) you have less concerns. I was out there alone and I loved the feeling of absolute isolation. No cel signal, never saw another person for hours! This is a test of how prepared you are out there and how you would react to your environment. The scenery beautiful. The one obstacle if you can call it that is the "Step" which is just a small incline. I recorded it but unfortunately my cam gave out just on the ascend. My Mojave had zero issue but I can see some lower clearance vehicles having issues. If you want to avoid this ascend, I'd take the trail south to north. This would have you come down the step as opposed to going it up from north to south. I would definitely recommend the north to south say though. The summit in the beginning is just amazing to look out at the canyons. Definitely love this trail and highly recommend it to all beginners and experts!
Trail Review: Black Gap Road - Christopher Garza
Trail Review: Black Gap Road - Christopher Garza
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Status: Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 01/02/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Harder

I have a stock taco sr5 with 30 inch AT tires. Great trail, no problem going north. The rock ledges just north of the drop required good tire placement, wish I had rear lockers. May be time for a new truck!

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