Friends of Big Bend National Park
Big Bend Conservancy

Over-estimating your experience or under-estimating the terrain in a place like Big Bend can result in serious injury or death. Use the information and advice found here wisely. Climb/Hike/Camp/Drive at your own risk.

+-Calendar for sale

 2019 BigBendChat Calendar on sale now!


1st trip to BBNP - general questions on backroad camp, access, etc

  • 12 Replies
  • 4193 Views
*

Offline centuryhouse

  • Kangaroo Rat
  • *
  • 6
Hi all - my first post and first trip to BB.  My GF and I had a week long road trip to NM planned, but all fell through at last minute due to temps, rains, etc. I started looking at alternative camp ideas and came up with Big Bend.

Our goals for this mid-November (17th-20th) trip are some quiet, beautiful rugged scenery, first time camping together, and stargazing.

I filled out the worksheet request and I'm hoping to get PC3 as it offers some privacy and not having to share parking. RP1 (Roy's Peak Vista) maybe another choice if the PC sites are full. Mainly we don't want other campers right on top of us, and we want to have a good, dark view of the sky. Thoughts on those sites or alternate choices?

If my old beater makes the 8 hour drive, are there any roads to camp sites that my stock 2000 Jeep XJ (Cherokee) 4x4 would likely have an issue with?

It isn't cold yet; how active are snakes (which my GF is terrified of) and other dangerous creatures? Are black bears, mountain lions or javalinas likely to give us problems at our camp site if we keep food put away properly (car or my bear box/cylinder)?

She has never done any real camping and I haven't camp much since I was a kid, other than a 4 day backpacking trip in Del Rio, and camping in Cloudcroft & White Sands in NM. Is there anything particular to camping at Big Bend that I should be aware of?

Lastly - my Jeep doesn't get the best MPG. Are there sufficient gas stops on the way to Big Bend, that I shouldn't have issues or need to carry a full can of gas?

Thanks in advance for any help! I'm a little apprehensive, but also excited about seeing some rugged Chihuahuan beauty.

*

Offline elhombre

  • Golden Eagle
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 1145
Re: 1st trip to BBNP - general questions on backroad camp, access, etc
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2015, 02:37:17 PM »
Most all the backcountry campsites are far enough away from each other that you won't have neighbors.   Roy's peak is your best bet for seeing animals because there is a spring right below the camp site.   The Paint Gap spots (#4, or #1) are the best if you are going to do some driving around and see the park.  PC spots see a bunch of traffic because people use the road to get to the ever popular Pine Canyon trail.  Stock Jeep should do fine if you have good tires.  Snakes are around, but you will be lucky to see one.  Scorpions are your best chance for a stinging encounter.  No bear or Mountain Lion or javalina will have anything to do with you if your around camp.  Rats/mice around camp are your biggest problem.  They will jump into the back of your truck and eat on your stuff if you leave it out, or a car door open.

You GF needs to be able to squat over a hole and not have a problem with taking the used TP out with y'all.  You may think you are the only one out there, but the sites are used a bunch.  Take a real shovel because it is nothing but rock out there.  If you can't live with this, stay in the pay spots in the Basin or Rio Grande village.  They have running water and flush toilets, and may be your best bet considering it is the first time out there.

Take extra gas and never pass the gas station.  If a storm rolls in and power gets knocked out, that can of gas is the only thing that will get you back to the interstate.  Have fun and don't try to do too much in one trip.  Visit the Basin for sure and do the Lost mine trail as an introduction to the park.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2015, 02:44:28 PM by elhombre »
For 2 years the Fake News Media, Obama's FBI, CIA & DOJ, and Swamp dwelling Politicians COLLUDED, Illegally Spied,and LIED to America about POTUS in order to overturn an election

All the while demanding censorship and removal of opposition Conservative "hate speech" voices.  Globalists Hate Freedom

*

Offline centuryhouse

  • Kangaroo Rat
  • *
  • 6
Re: 1st trip to BBNP - general questions on backroad camp, access, etc
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2015, 02:48:15 PM »
Elhombre, great comprehensive reply, thank you.

Any idea how far the nearest (non-park) gas station is? 
I have a few metal jerry cans though I am a little leery of carrying them filled, inside with us. Wish i had an outside mount or something, but no time for that before the trip.

This will certainly be interesting. I grew up around scorpions and snakes but my GF didn't. And I've done the 'carry a trowel and do your business in the woods' thing and she hasn't.  :icon_lol:

*

Offline Jalco

  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 1061
Re: 1st trip to BBNP - general questions on backroad camp, access, etc
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2015, 03:08:12 PM »
Century,

Not sure where you're driving in from.  When I drive out from from Austin area, I take I-10 to Ft. Stockton, then down to Marathon.  Both towns have gas stations, though I'm not sure how late the one in Marathon stays open (or even if the pumps are open at night).  Gas is available in the park at Panther Junction and RGV, but pricier.

When I drive my 98 Suburban, I fill up at Stockton and usually don't have to fill up until I'm headed back, usually at Marathon.  My Sub has a 400-mile range, so I'm usually good.  My Titan, on the other hand, has a smaller tank, hence a smaller range (200 miles), so I usually have a 5-gal can as back-up.  That being said, on my last outing, I filled up in Marathon going in and again heading out.


*

Offline centuryhouse

  • Kangaroo Rat
  • *
  • 6
Re: 1st trip to BBNP - general questions on backroad camp, access, etc
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2015, 03:30:38 PM »
I fill up at Stockton and usually don't have to fill up until I'm headed back, usually at Marathon. 

Good to know, as I'll be heading through Stockton. My Jeep has a 20-gal tank but they only get around 15 mpg  :icon_eek:

*

Offline centuryhouse

  • Kangaroo Rat
  • *
  • 6
Re: 1st trip to BBNP - general questions on backroad camp, access, etc
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2015, 09:56:32 PM »
Anybody else have suggestions, reminiscences, etc?

And if you are backcountry camping, is there a good place for a toilet or shower in the area?

Any issues with using Coleman white-fuel lanterns or campstoves? I'm a huge fan with a nice collection of them and have been dying for a chance to actually use them.

And what is this 'green ammo' that is required at the Panther Junction shooting range? I've never heard of 'green ammo' but it would be great to go shooting while there.

*

Offline Geezer

  • Black Bear
  • *
  • 668
Re: 1st trip to BBNP - general questions on backroad camp, access, etc
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2015, 10:08:42 PM »
The only showers in the park are at Rio Grande Village. Of course, there are showers in the motel in the Basin and occasionally staff let campers shower there, but that amenity may not be regularly available. Maybe someone else has recent experience.

A soak in the hot springs on the Rio Grande is a nice substitute for showers.

Toilets are available at RGV, Panther Junction, gas station near PJ, the Basin, Castolon store, Cottonwood Campground, Hot Springs HIstoric District and perhaps some other places.

Geezer

*

Offline RichardM

  • Admin/Moderator
  • Global Moderator
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 7618
Re: 1st trip to BBNP - general questions on backroad camp, access, etc
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2015, 12:03:30 AM »
And if you are backcountry camping, is there a good place for a toilet or shower in the area?
There are pay showers in Study Butte at the Big Bend Resorts motel. They may be closer than the ones at RGV, depending on where you are in the park.

Quote
Any issues with using Coleman white-fuel lanterns or campstoves? I'm a huge fan with a nice collection of them and have been dying for a chance to actually use them.
Just don't plan on doing your stargazing while one of those lanterns is on.

Quote
And what is this 'green ammo' that is required at the Panther Junction shooting range? I've never heard of 'green ammo' but it would be great to go shooting while there.
I believe you have to be a Law Enforcement Ranger, or at least a park employee, to use the range. "Green ammo" is, I assume, environmentally friendly ammo, as opposed to lead.

The last few times I've been out there, the gas pump prices in Marathon were higher than in the park. The Stillwell Ranch has gas, if you're running low and near Persimmon Gap. It's a nice place to stop and check out, especially the small museum. They have showers as well.

*

Offline Owl

  • Roadrunner
  • *
  • 92
Re: 1st trip to BBNP - general questions on backroad camp, access, etc
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2015, 07:18:30 AM »
Any issues with using Coleman white-fuel lanterns or campstoves? I'm a huge fan with a nice collection of them and have been dying for a chance to actually use them.

You've been dying for a chance to bring light pollution to the Big Bend backcountry?  Leave those over-bright lanterns at home and let the moon and stars be your light with a small headlamp, when necessary.

*

Offline Robert

  • Golden Eagle
  • Black Bear
  • *
  • 994
  • He who limps is still walking. - Stanislaw J. Lec
Re: 1st trip to BBNP - general questions on backroad camp, access, etc
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2015, 09:02:10 AM »
You've been dying for a chance to bring light pollution to the Big Bend backcountry?  Leave those over-bright lanterns at home and let the moon and stars be your light with a small headlamp, when necessary.

While you will be surprised on how much light you will get from the moon and stars when you turn off all the lights, I seriously doubt using your coleman lantern is going to ruin anyone else's experience from your backcountry site. People have been doing this for years.

Personally, I don't bring the big lanterns anymore but that's no longer my style of camping. I suspect your GF would not be comfortable with reduced lighting given her fear of critters.

*

Offline centuryhouse

  • Kangaroo Rat
  • *
  • 6
Re: 1st trip to BBNP - general questions on backroad camp, access, etc
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2015, 12:57:10 PM »
Thanks for the additional info everybody.

Yes, I do want to use a lantern in the pitch black, much as my father and grandfather did with the same lanterns. Obviously I wouldn't use it while looking at the stars, more for while cooking and eating after dark, if needed. At I'm hoping to get a site remote enough to not disturb others for the brief time I have them on. And while I have camped / backpacked with nothing but a headlamp with red filter, as was noted my first timer girlfriend who has never been away from a city area may not be as comfortable at first in the pitch dark. I'm hoping the single-mantle, adjustable brightness Coleman will be fine.

*

Offline elhombre

  • Golden Eagle
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 1145
Re: 1st trip to BBNP - general questions on backroad camp, access, etc
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2015, 02:18:33 PM »
The moon will already be up when the sun goes down at 31% illumination on Nov 17.  The 20th has the moon at 64 %  with it right over head at sunset.  If you give it a chance, you will notice that you will cast a shadow when the moon is up even on your first night.  Teach your GF right and show her she doesn't need a lantern.  Teach her that when you sit under a bright light out there, your eyes constrict, and if something, or someone was to walk around right outside that cone of light, you couldn't see them until they come in right up on top of you.

If you stay out on Old Ore road, you won't bother anyone because they are not close.  But if your on Pine Canyon road, people will be able to see the light from your camp site.  You actually can see when cars are a few miles away heading up the road because of the slope of the terrain.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2015, 02:44:35 PM by elhombre »
For 2 years the Fake News Media, Obama's FBI, CIA & DOJ, and Swamp dwelling Politicians COLLUDED, Illegally Spied,and LIED to America about POTUS in order to overturn an election

All the while demanding censorship and removal of opposition Conservative "hate speech" voices.  Globalists Hate Freedom

*

Offline centuryhouse

  • Kangaroo Rat
  • *
  • 6
Re: 1st trip to BBNP - general questions on backroad camp, access, etc
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2015, 06:23:36 PM »
If you stay out on Old Ore road, you won't bother anyone because they are not close.  But if your on Pine Canyon road, people will be able to see the light from your camp site.  You actually can see when cars are a few miles away heading up the road because of the slope of the terrain.

Good to know. I guess we will have to see how it looks once we are out there, and white site we get. By all means if we can get around without extra light and she is comfortable then we will.

I am hoping for P3, or RP1.

 


©COPYRIGHT NOTICE

All photographs and content posted by members are to be considered copyrighted by their respective owners and may not be used for any purposes, commercial or otherwise, without permission.

+-Calendar For Sale

 2019 BigBendChat Calendar on sale now!

Powered by EzPortal

Facebook Comments