As the name indicates, this short trail takes you to a cliff face where Burro Mesa "pours off." It is a dry wash most of the year but undoubtedly contains a large amount of water when there have been rains on Burro Mesa. The trail meanders around but it is an easy walk--just follow the wash until you reach the cliff face.


We encountered this Horned Lizard on the way to the pouroff. They were very common in the Southwest at one time but have become rare due to habitat loss and the invasion of fireants. The horned lizard eats ants that are being outcompeted by fireants, but it can't eat fireants. Luckily, fireants are not adapted to dry climates (so far, anyway) so the horned lizard can still be found in some areas of the Southwest.

Fallugia paradoxa

A common shrub that occurs along the route toward the pouroff is Fallugia paradoxa (Apache-plume) It is a member of the Rosaceae (Rose family). The first image below shows it in flower and fruit. It is at its showiest when it is in fruit. The fruits are achenes with feathery tails.

Porlieria angustifolia

Another attractive shrub is Porlieria angustifolia (Soap-bush), a member of the Zygophyllaceae (Caltrop family). It is evergreen, with compound leaves that have very small leaflets. The seeds are enclosed in a thick scarlet aril so both the flower and fruits will catch your eye.

As you get closer to the pouroff, you will notice that the vegetation changes from that typically found in the desert to larger plants such as Diospyrus texana (Texas Persimmon), which is described in Dagger Flats Auto Trail andUngnadia speciosa (Mexican Buckeye), a member of the Sapindaceae (Soap-berry family).

Ungnadia speciosa

Ungnadia speciosa (Mexican Buckeye, Buffalo Nut) is a member of the Sapindaceae (Soap-berry family). The leaves resemble those of a buckeye, and the other common name apparently comes from the resemblance of the fruit to a portion of the anatomy of a buffalo, although there are three seeds rather than two. The former common name is probably the appropriate one to use in polite company, assuming that you keep any. The large brown seeds are poisonous.

You cannot see the pouroff until you get fairly close to it. It is usually a relief to get into the shadow of the cliff, particularly on a hot day.

A closer look at the end of the trail reveals the erosion on the cliff face caused by the water.

Selaginella pilifera

Selaginella pilifera (Resurrection Plant) is a member of the Selaginellaceae (Spikemoss family) and is found near the base of the pouroff. It is a "primitive" plant that does not produce flowers or fruits. Instead, it has a life cycle similar to that of ferns. There are a number of plants with the common name "Resurrection Plant," which refers to the manner in which the plants respond to times of drought and rain. When it is dry the plants dry up, turn brown, and appear to be dead. However, they are just dormant and when they receive water, they quickly turn green and begin to grow again. It is an excellent way to survive in a dry habitat where water is available only on occasions.