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Big Bend 2020

Discussion in 'Off-Roading & Trails' started by Atomic, Dec 6, 2019.

  1. Dec 6, 2019 at 7:35 AM
    #1
    Atomic

    Atomic [OP] Master Cylinder

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    Headed out to Big Bend last week in February. Hoping I can get some guidance/suggestions on trails, hikes, or general places not to miss. Thanks.

    Also, any gear suggestions also appreciated.

    Just got me an IceCo JP40 fridge on Black Friday...ready for a steak and beer.
    https://www.amazon.com/ICECO-JP40-Portable-Refrigerator-Compressor/dp/B07Q82Q37G
     
  2. Dec 6, 2019 at 5:51 PM
    #2
    huachuca

    huachuca Well-Known Member

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    Great choice!!! Not too sure about the timing though. If you’re planning to stay in the Park, I hope you already have reservations as mid Feb to mid Mar is the busiest time of the year.

    You must stay on designated roads which, except for Black Gap, are maintained to some degree. Check with the staff for conditions as recent rains may cause problems. Also, be sure to carry a good spare, plug kit, inflator, extra water etc. Not trying to be dramatic but people die there every year. Old Ore Rd is a good half day drive, be sure to take the short hike to Ernst Tinaja. The River Rd will take most of a day and may have some deeper sand in spots. Glenn Springs back to the mercury mine is worth the drive. Black Gap will likely be the most challenging. Be sure to drive the paved roads as well and check out the roadside exhibits.

    Hikes - The Window and Lost Mine are the two most popular day hikes. The South Rim can be done is day if you’re in good shape. It’s better as an overnighter but I doubt any of the tent sites will be available. That’s probably the most memorable we’ve ever done. Emory Peak will take you to the highest point in the Park - the last 100’ feet are ‘interesting’. The Hot Springs will probably have a line but still worth it. Santa Elena and Boquillas Canyons are mandatory. Take your passport when you’re at the latter and cross over to Mexico for a meal and a beer. Mule Ears, The Chimneys - there are no bad hikes in BB.

    Have dinner at the restaurant in the Basin. Food is average but the patio view of the sunset is not to be missed. As to eats, the Starlight Theater in Terlingua is exceptional and unique. La Kiva, is a nearby local watering hole with good atmosphere.

    The Park Service website has a lot of good info to help you plan your visit.
     
    Atomic[OP] and Beretta4x4 like this.
  3. Dec 10, 2019 at 1:58 PM
    #3
    MYKOSPRO

    MYKOSPRO Well-Known Member

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    I plan to head out to Big Bend the weekend after Christmas. Will most likely do more hiking but would like to get some great views while driving on a trail.
     
    Atomic[OP] likes this.
  4. Dec 11, 2019 at 7:17 AM
    #4
    n8dogg675

    n8dogg675 Well-Known Member

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    I can second La Kiva....locals there always have tips on lots of off the radar places. If you get a chance I highly recommend Big Bend Ranch State Park...way more rugged and remote.
     
  5. Feb 1, 2020 at 9:43 AM
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    Atomic

    Atomic [OP] Master Cylinder

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    Thanks for the advice and recommendations. Yes, staying in the park. I had my reservations in back in November.

    I was planning on doing River Road west from Santa Elena Canyon towards Rio Grande Village CG. How deep is the sand in sections? How long should I expect that route to take?

    I timed my trip for dark nights with no moon...hoping to see lots of stars.
     
  6. Feb 1, 2020 at 9:45 AM
    #6
    Atomic

    Atomic [OP] Master Cylinder

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    I don't have the time/days allotted to visit the state park as well. Sounds like it is also worth a visit on another trip. My trip to BB is last week in Feb. I'll post up a report afterwards. Been getting my rig ready.
     
  7. Feb 1, 2020 at 1:13 PM
    #7
    huachuca

    huachuca Well-Known Member

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    If you air down, River Road may have a few places where you’ll need 4WD for the sand but nothing too bad, at least not the trips I’ve done. We allow a full day but I love taking photos so lots of stops.

    Good planning on the dark nights. On one visit, we had an incredibly clear skies and no moon and we never turned in. Looking forward to photos and a TR.
     
  8. Feb 5, 2020 at 6:40 PM
    #8
    Natenite

    Natenite Well-Known Member

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    I have been looking at big bend. All the videos I have seen make the trails seem very reasonable. I have a prerunner so no 4wd but I have a locker and wildpeaks and I’m thinking I can do them as long as I dodge lots of rain. Any trails that are absolute no go’s for me?
     
  9. Feb 6, 2020 at 5:56 AM
    #9
    huachuca

    huachuca Well-Known Member

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    Check with the rangers when you arrive for current road conditions.

    The biggest differences between Big Bend and most other National Parks are the minimal development, the lack of pre-packaged things to do/see and its size. The place is huge and you should have at least a basic game plan in place prior to arriving or you're likely to do more paved road driving than seeing.

    The Park Service website https://www.nps.gov/bibe/index.htm is a good place to start. That site has a link to the Park Newspaper, The Paisaano, which has a lot of good info on what to see and do depending on how long you'll be in the Park https://www.nps.gov/bibe/learn/news/upload/2020-Paisano-for-website.pdf . I'm pretty sure there's also a link to past editions of this which are also worth reviewing. Maps are critical - If I had to pick just one, it would be the NatGeo Trails Illustrated. This site has a good summary of many available free and fee maps http://npmaps.com/big-bend/

    We've done and enjoyed most of the trails in the Park. They were all great but if I had to pick one, it would be the South Rim. It can be done in a day but is best experienced as an overnighter with a campsite on the edge of the Rim - SW4 is our favorite. South Rim campsite photos https://www.nps.gov/media/photo/gallery.htm?pg=2273139&id=5C7DF1FE-155D-451F-67AEBC36B7007271

    Camp within the Park at one (or all) of the three NPS campgrounds. We usually spend 2-3 nights at each one, using it as a base to drive/hike that section of the Park.

    Have fun and post back with photos and a TR.
     
    Atomic[OP] likes this.
  10. Feb 7, 2020 at 6:32 AM
    #10
    Atomic

    Atomic [OP] Master Cylinder

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    Thanks for the ideas and links.
     
  11. Jun 12, 2020 at 8:41 AM
    #11
    savin yours

    savin yours Well-Known Member

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    When you say, “I hope you got reservations”.....are you talking about the RV parks? My wife and I are planning a trip for Feb 21’ and the backcountry spots do not have reservations, first come first serve. Are you saying those fill up too?
     
  12. Jun 12, 2020 at 8:47 AM
    #12
    Hobbs

    Hobbs Anti-Lander from way back…

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  13. Jun 12, 2020 at 11:02 AM
    #13
    cwadej

    cwadej Ballerina Award winner

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    It is. When we lived in DFW we went every thanksgiving for a week. Lots of great scenery, some decent "roads" in the national and state parks, many secluded camp spots. it's pretty awesome
     
  14. Jun 12, 2020 at 3:03 PM
    #14
    huachuca

    huachuca Well-Known Member

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    I'd suggest reservations for any type ofcamping if you're visiting between Thanksgiving and Easter. That is the busiest time of the year for BB.
     
  15. Jun 12, 2020 at 3:59 PM
    #15
    cwadej

    cwadej Ballerina Award winner

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    yup. even tent spots like my favorite (La Clocha 1 at 29.148795, -103.008515) are booked well in advance. For off park I really like Rancho Topanga.
     

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