Come with me on a hike up Pine Canyon in Big Bend National Park and join me for some nature sketching!

I started sketching acorns in 2019 — they’re endlessly fascinating to me. Much like leaves, they’re so much fun to sketch on hikes as they don’t take much time and yet sitting and sketching one can imprint a place on my mind.

In this post I thought I’d share a few tiny acorns I sketched on October 10th in Pine Canyon at Big Bend National Park.

Getting There

First up, a word about the trail: getting to the trailhead requires a drive down a dirt road that I wouldn’t want to do in a vehicle without 4wd and high clearance. It’s about a half hour drive from the Panther Junction visitor center, and is pretty low traffic so if something goes wrong you’re on your own. It’s always best to check with a park ranger so that you know the road condition before you go.

The hike starts in the high desert and then makes its way up into forested Pine Canyon. It’s hard to believe at the start that there are pines, madrones and maple trees up there! Note that the desert portion of the hike has very little shade and the gravel makes it a bit of a slog — so start early in the day in the warmer months.

The trail winds it’s way up into the canyon and there’s a pouroff at the end — I’ve heard that there’s a waterfall here when it rains and I’d love to see that someday.


Speaking of rain, if there has been ANY rain in the mountains within the past month there WILL be mosquitos here. I usually spray a bandana with deet and tie it around my neck to keep the little buggers away. I also keep a tiny spray bottle of deet in my pack in case they’re super fierce. You’ve been warned! :)

Here’s the pouroff with me for scale, plus a bigtooth maple tree glowing in a shaft of sunlight. The sun just hit the maple for a few magical moments.

Sketching Acorns

And now for the sketch:

I’ve been using this special edition Art Toolkit x Greenleaf & Blueberry palette for my acorn sketches as the colors work so well.

Colors are red ochre, yellow ochre, Mayan yellow, Mayan red, Mayan blue #2 and Mayan violet. Jason got me this palette in 2018 and I think it’s no longer being made as the Mayan pigments can no longer be sourced. The ochres are still available though and they work like a dream!

All too soon it was time to head back down the trail and enjoy the views of the Sierra del Carmens in Mexico. Can’t wait to get back to Pine Canyon again. (Hike date: 12 October 2021)

1 Comment

Jason · November 5, 2021 at 12:03 am

Awesome hike with you!

Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *