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Old 02-13-2018, 04:30 PM   #1
Bonesplitter
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Default Big Bend questions..

Planning on taking my son out to big bend for a few days during spring break to camp, hike, shoot some photography, etc. Im looking at Big bend ranch state park or Big bend nat'l park. Any recommendations, particular campsites, safety concerns, etc? I have a 17 Tacoma trd offroad with a 6" lift, will this get me to the driveable remote campsites? Never been but we are looking forward to it!

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Old 02-13-2018, 04:33 PM   #2
Stoof
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The National park will be packed. But you got a good truck so hit the primitive roads and you will have a good time. The State park does not get as much traffic and the roads will eat a set of tires but I am starting to prefer going out there because you see less people.
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Old 02-13-2018, 04:35 PM   #3
Brazman
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I've never been during a peak time like Spring Break. To my understanding, camping spaces are at a premium and first come first served, at least at the nat'l park. I've only ever driven into and then back out of the state park. Really, super remote. Like, 30 miles to the headquarters on a road you can only drive 10-15mph on.

Safety concerns are just running out of anything: gas, water, food. Don't pet or feed the javelinas, and don't bring a pet out there. There are mountain lions, and up in the Chisos there are black bears. Keep your eyes open.

In my opinion, your vehicle should be just fine. We drove over a few roads that were supposed to be 4wd roads in an older CRV, and the clearance was just fine. Maybe we got lucky.

It really is a remarkable country, beautiful and pretty inhospitable. Hope yall have a good time.
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Old 02-13-2018, 04:39 PM   #4
outlook8
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Truck-wise, you will be fine. Spring break is going to be crowded, but if you're planning on back country camping, you should be fine. There are a lot of available sites, and they limit the number of people at each one. Go to the Ranger station as soon as you get there to pull permits, I would have a backup plan for a place to stay the first night or two just in case.
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Old 02-13-2018, 04:40 PM   #5
thegrouse
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i have been to both and they are two different animals. The state park is remote. 27 miles of a dirt rd to get to park hq. Once you are at park hq you need to check in with the ranger station and give them all your trip info. Your vehicle will be fine out there. Expect paint scratches it is rugged if you plan on getting off the main park road. Some campsites are closer than others to HQ but many may take another hour or two of driving depending on conditions. A few of them have portable toilets and most have a picnic table. If you want shade bring shade although a few of the campsites have old pergolas. I have stayed at Tres Papalotes and a site down on the Rio Grande. The last time I was at Tres Papalotes I saw only one other person drive by all day. You will need to pack all of your water in and waste out. You can load up your water jugs at the Park HQ. You can have ground fires in the state park. Be sure to bring firewood. There are not many trees out that way. Call the TPWD reservation line and book your site. I am sure there are some available. I wanted to camp at Guale last time but it was full. I spent one night 30' from the banks of the Rio Grande. I never felt unsafe. Be sure to either bring two spare tires or one good spare, a tire plug and compressor. If you plan on spending multiple days in the park bring gas. Be sure to gas up in Presidio before you enter the park. Bring everything you need out there because park HQ doesn't have much of anything.

The national park is beautiful. Plenty of great hikes and plenty of people. There are no ground fires. If you and your son have a passport you can cross into Old Mexico and visit the town of Boquillas. There are vehicle breakins at the parking lots in the national park. There could be some in the state park too but I would be surprised. It is very remote. The National Park is first come first serve for camping and they allow some backcountry camping but I think you need to get a permit. One year I stayed at the Stilwell Ranch. They have a large ranch and you can camp anywhere. It is just outside the South park entrance. The speed limit is 45 mph in the park so it can take awhile to get from one side to the other. I would recommend the Chisos Basin area. It is beautiful and the Window hike is nice. You may see some bears. It is beautiful country for sure. There are hot springs in the river and plenty of nice hiking spots.
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Old 02-13-2018, 04:42 PM   #6
meltingfeather
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"Packed" is a relative term.
The Taco will get you anywhere in the park where it's legal to take a vehicle.
Ernst Tinaja
Lost Mine Trail
South Rim
Mariscal Mine
Santa Elena Canyon
all high on the list... though you won't be disappointed no matter where you go.
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Old 02-13-2018, 04:43 PM   #7
MasonCo.
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In for some info, btw have fun with your boy.
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Old 02-13-2018, 04:50 PM   #8
thegrouse
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State Park HQ
The view from one of the many dirt roads.
This is from the highway in between Lajitas and Presidio. I think it is the prettiest stretch of road in Texas.



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Old 02-13-2018, 04:57 PM   #9
Pedernal
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Any decent fishing out on the state park??
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Old 02-13-2018, 04:58 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thegrouse View Post
.... I would recommend the Chisos Basin area. It is beautiful and the Window hike is nice. You may see some bears. It is beautiful country for sure. There are hot springs in the river and plenty of nice hiking spots.
We've stayed at the campground in Chisos Basin. It was very nice and totally scenic and beautiful. If you're going to Big Bend you owe it to yourself to hike to "The Window" at least once at sunset and see this amazing place. I honestly believe it is one of the most scenic places I've ever been to in Texas. It was almost surreal to be there as the sun went down.
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Old 02-13-2018, 04:58 PM   #11
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tagged for info
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Old 02-13-2018, 05:03 PM   #12
neskora
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As said above, you should have no worries whatsoever with your truck. Iíve ventured around the park in my corolla three times now. I would also guess that your truck will allow you access some camping spots that the swarm of Subaruís arenít able to get to, giving you a better chance of having a place to stay. I always try to get there earlier in the day on the day I arrive, since itís first come first serve. Take plenty of water and ice, and fill up your truck in alpine on your way in. There is also gas in the park, but supply could be limited or extremely long lines during spring break.
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Old 02-13-2018, 05:18 PM   #13
sandbill
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If you have an open carry license, I'd strongly suggest carrying. You just never know, but you might as well be prepared.
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Old 02-13-2018, 05:37 PM   #14
kyleseipp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meltingfeather View Post
"Packed" is a relative term.
The Taco will get you anywhere in the park where it's legal to take a vehicle.
Ernst Tinaja
Lost Mine Trail
South Rim
Mariscal Mine
Santa Elena Canyon
all high on the list... though you won't be disappointed no matter where you go.
I'll second this. My wife and I have done Spring Break @ the National Park and had no trouble snagging tent sites all over. I will say a good add on is Davis Mntn State Park as well.
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Old 02-13-2018, 05:41 PM   #15
thegrouse
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pedernal View Post
Any decent fishing out on the state park??
The only water I saw was the Rio Grande. I think some may catfish there but I don't believe it is a great area for fishing.
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Old 02-13-2018, 05:50 PM   #16
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Great info!! I have my LTC, no worries there, scratches dont scare me, I have to get a rim and full size spare though. Ill take an extra 10 gallons of gas, some firewood and fatwood to get it started. Water, food, etc. Sounds like the remoteness of the state park is where its at. I appreciate all the info. Just myself and my boy for a few days with no phones, games, people, etc is gonna be real nice!

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Old 02-13-2018, 06:04 PM   #17
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Had the luxury of spending a month in the summer for my geology field camp in the Nat'l park. We actually rented cabins in Study Butte though and drove into the park each morning.

https://pubs.usgs.gov/sim/3142/ (if your interested in the geology of the certain areas you may venture into...there's a lot of neat geologic phenomenon to see!)

https://engineering.purdue.edu/Strat...arts/tower.pdf
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Old 02-13-2018, 06:34 PM   #18
TxAg
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Plan to stay awake and star gaze. Least light polluted place in the lower 48
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Old 02-13-2018, 06:40 PM   #19
steve morton
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The Window, Santa Elena Canyon, Boquios.
Float trip with Far Flung Adventures.
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Old 02-13-2018, 06:55 PM   #20
Hooverfb
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Think everyone's covered it. Have fun and stay safe. I loved it out there. Just be careful with your tires on the rocks, sometimes its fine, sometimes not.
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Old 02-13-2018, 07:01 PM   #21
thegrouse
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Default Big Bend questions..

Be sure to hit the road to nowhere. It lives up to its' name. There are plenty of remote mines to explore. Mountain Biking is pretty popular out there. If you camp on the river you will not drive into the park on the dirt road but the river is not real remote. Here is the road to nowhere.

This is one of many mines in the Solitario region.
I camped here one night. The green behind my tent is the Rio Grande.

They also have a bunkhouse there where you can stay at park HQ. Check TPWD for details. If it is just you and your son it may be a great experience. A map is a must. Some of the smaller trails are marked with old metal signs.


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Old 02-13-2018, 07:12 PM   #22
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Good info. My buddies and I who did Guadalupe Peak a few months ago are planning a Big Bend trip soon.
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Old 02-13-2018, 07:15 PM   #23
Bonesplitter
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Thank you everyone! Seems like we will have to make more than one trip!!!

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Old 02-13-2018, 07:17 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knighttime View Post
Had the luxury of spending a month in the summer for my geology field camp in the Nat'l park. We actually rented cabins in Study Butte though and drove into the park each morning.

https://pubs.usgs.gov/sim/3142/ (if your interested in the geology of the certain areas you may venture into...there's a lot of neat geologic phenomenon to see!)

https://engineering.purdue.edu/Strat...arts/tower.pdf
We also spent about a month there in geology field camp. Got to see lots of interesting things, mapped a bunch and drank mucho beer. That was a very good time in my life. I'll never forget it. Some of the time we stayed in Alpine at the old dorms at Sul Ross. Other times we camped out. That is some beautiful country.
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Old 02-13-2018, 09:29 PM   #25
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One AWESOME place!
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Old 02-13-2018, 09:51 PM   #26
CrookedArrow
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If you get a chance cross over to Boquillas Mexico. I went there several yrs ago. From what I understand now you need a passport but don't take my word on that.

Neat place with vendors etc. Had a hotel with a decent restaurant and ice cold beer. Use to be a guide who would show you around. Just a cool experience.
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Old 02-13-2018, 10:23 PM   #27
Legdog
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Go to the basin. Hike about three miles to the Window. Stay and watch the sunset. Hike out with a flashlight.



You will not regret it.


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Old 02-14-2018, 07:37 AM   #28
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I'm going down first week of April. There is a ton of info such as maps, trip reports, campgrounds etc... on Texas Overland. A wealth of knowledge on that site.

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Old 02-14-2018, 06:28 PM   #29
Bonesplitter
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We decided to do the ranch state park. Booked the Fresno vista site for the first night and the Guale for the rest. It sounds more remote so I plan on going back to the National park during a less busy time. Cant wait to get on the road!!

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Old 02-14-2018, 06:52 PM   #30
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I'm going down first week of April. There is a ton of info such as maps, trip reports, campgrounds etc... on Texas Overland. A wealth of knowledge on that site.

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See ya down there. I will be in Terlingua for Easter! Look for TBH Sticker on back of truck
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Old 02-14-2018, 07:57 PM   #31
Bonesplitter
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Go to the basin. Hike about three miles to the Window. Stay and watch the sunset. Hike out with a flashlight.



You will not regret it.


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Have to make that hike on the next trip! Ill be toting your ole D7000 with me on both trips! Its still running strong!

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Old 02-14-2018, 09:07 PM   #32
thegrouse
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When you leave Fresno Vista on the way to Guale you will pass Sauceda HQ and you can fill up your water can. Please report back on Guale. It is high on my to do list.
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