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!


4WD trails

  • 16 Replies
  • 18393 Views
*

Offline schraderstein

  • Kangaroo Rat
  • *
  • 7
4WD trails
« on: March 04, 2006, 11:57:07 PM »
We will be using Big Bend Motor Inn as a 'base camp' during Spring Break.
We are thinking about renting a 4WD for either a half day or full day, just to get off the beaten path, as we know it will be 'crowded' during that time.
Any recommendations?

*

SHANEA

  • Guest
Old Ore Trail & Blackgap & River Road & Pine Can
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2006, 12:48:21 PM »
I sometimes like going down the old ore trail, it's not really 4x4, just high clearance.  Blackgap road, depending on the direction you traverse, is also high clearance and some 4x4.  Although I've never gone the whole length of the river road, in some places 4x4 might be required and is good insurance.  Old ore takes a very long time to traverse and sometimes lately I view it as a eater of a whole day.  I actually get tired, as do passangers, of bumping up and down the road all day.  I want to get out and explore and take it all in.  If you've never done it, it's one thing, but since I've done it more than once I'd rather do other things.  Pine Canyon needs a high clearance vehicle also.  If you have not done Pine Canyon, it is a must do.  Get their early to beat the crowd - really early.  Parking is very limited at the trail head.  Grab a granolla bar and head em out.  After the hike go back to camp and do breakfast.  I'm sure you know, based on my prior experience, just because you request a 4x4 rental doesn't mean you will get one, even if you request one.  If I was going to go down Black Gap road or the River Road, I'd make darn sure that I took out the damage insurance, which still might not cover you.  Of course, at BBNP, there really is not any "off-roading", it's limited to the established roads that are in various states of repair.  Everything changes and there are new rules if it has rained.  If you use a rental 4x4, be sure and check the spare to make sure that there is a spare, a jack, etc.  You might end up with one of them silly 1/4 spares.

*

Offline 01ACRViper

  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 1173
    • GRB Photography
4WD trails
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2006, 05:10:48 PM »
river road doesn't need 4wd, save for 2 deep sand spots on the eastern half. my friends in front of me this january just flew through it in a bare bones silverado 1500, so it is doable. ho matter how i tried, it wasn't deep enoguh to get my jeep stuck, and thats the worst it gets. unless it's raining  :(

*

Offline bdann

  • Creosote
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 1863
4WD trails
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2006, 09:24:28 PM »
Quote from: "01ACRViper"
river road doesn't need 4wd, save for 2 deep sand spots on the eastern half.


those things sneak up on you.....Just got back.  Headed toward RGV, I pretty much dove into the first one, hit hard, but powered on through it.  On the other side, we had to get out, make sure the truck was still together!

Incidentally, on Thursday the east end of the River Road was "High Clearance", this morning it was posted "4x4 required"; surely because of those two sand spots, they seemed to get worse as the weekend progressed.  The rest of the road was in good shape.

We also drove the Glenn Springs Road, it was REALLY rough from the North end down to about five miles from it's end at the River Road.

I'll post a full report tomorrow when I get time.
WATER, It does a body good.

*

Offline Casa Grande

  • Site Founder
  • Administrator
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 6217
  • Bending It Since 1991
    • Virtual Big Bend
4WD trails
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2006, 10:56:34 AM »
the backroads change very very frequently!  you should check with the rangers at the station first, especially during raining season.  They don't always regrate the road very fast.....don't take good backroads for granted.....you'll be very sorry you did!

*

BigBendHiker

  • Guest
4WD trails
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2006, 11:24:42 AM »
Quote from: "David Locke"
the backroads change very very frequently!  you should check with the rangers at the station first, especially during raining season.  They don't always regrate the road very fast.....don't take good backroads for granted.....you'll be very sorry you did!


Agree with your comments there, David.

Last year, we drove down Maverick Road (from the Ranger station at the west end of the park) to go to Luna's Jacal.  Road was pretty rough at times...after we left Luna's jacal, we came to a pretty soft spot in the road (had been sort of washed out and was drying up).  Given that I do not have 4WD and no cell phone service there...we decided best not to push our luck and turned around.  Did not want to end up a statistic or having to get rescued...

*

SHANEA

  • Guest
4WD trails
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2006, 11:31:06 PM »
Quote from: "BigBendHiker"
having to get rescued...


Yea, I bet that tow truck from Marathon can get a little pricey - probably as much or more as that horror story about the ever inflating price of a shuttle!

*

Offline riverrat261

  • Kangaroo Rat
  • *
  • 2
4WD trails
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2007, 05:50:56 PM »
What qualifies as high clearance?  I have a stock 2WD Ford Ranger, anyone done that before/ is it high enough? Or does high clearance refer to trucks with lifts and such?

*

Offline Undertaker

  • Ham Radio: KD5YA 1999 Ford F-350 4X4 Diesel 150 Galllons Home: Richmond, Texas
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 1338
  • Cooking BBQ for Trail Rides and Contest
    • http://www.GodboldAppraisals.Com
4WD trails
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2007, 06:20:39 PM »
High clearance = after you drive over the rock in the middle of the road that you did not see, the rock is still in the middle of the road, clean and looks like a rock, instead of being covered in oil or car parts or is attached to the bottom of your low clearance ride. :lol:
« Last Edit: September 23, 2007, 02:44:15 PM by Undertaker »
Visiting BB since 1966, nothing like being lost and finding heaven.

*

Offline Doc Savage

  • Diamondback
  • *
  • 471
  • Ready to see BIBE again
4WD trails
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2007, 10:34:22 PM »
I like undertaker's description, but pretty much a stock pickup would qualify, wife's PT Cruiser wouldn't. First time I was in BIBE I took River Road from west to Black Gap and then from Glenn Spring back down to the River road. No problems whatsoever in a stock Jeep Wrangler with 205/75-15 (donut) tires. However I've been there when I met someone who said the rocks at the bottom of the cobblestoned cut were washed away and there was a 4' drop off there (this was in the summer after lots of rain, kinda like now).

Robert
Enjoying the Texas life!

*

Offline Al

  • Dog Face Moth
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 4088
4WD trails
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2007, 10:45:38 PM »
Quote from: "riverrat261"
What qualifies as high clearance?  I have a stock 2WD Ford Ranger, anyone done that before/ is it high enough? Or does high clearance refer to trucks with lifts and such?


That would qualify as high clearance in my experience.  In the case of the park service, they are not talking about a modified vehicle when they say high clearance.  I've been down virtually every back road in BiBe, except Black Gap, in 2-wheel drive pickups ranging from a 70's model compact Toyota to an 90's model F-150.  Just use common sense and don't go too fast.  The going too fast part is when I have had problems but never anything that kept me from getting home.

Al

*

Offline Undertaker

  • Ham Radio: KD5YA 1999 Ford F-350 4X4 Diesel 150 Galllons Home: Richmond, Texas
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 1338
  • Cooking BBQ for Trail Rides and Contest
    • http://www.GodboldAppraisals.Com
4WD trails
« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2007, 12:31:36 PM »
I agree pretty much any truck or jeep, typically not cars, just go slow and  be safe.
Visiting BB since 1966, nothing like being lost and finding heaven.

*

Offline uh_clem

  • Texas Banded Gecko
  • Black Bear
  • *
  • 424
Re: 4WD trails
« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2007, 01:37:37 PM »
What qualifies as high clearance?  I have a stock 2WD Ford Ranger, anyone done that before/ is it high enough? Or does high clearance refer to trucks with lifts and such?

  I drove a 2WD Ranger on Maverick Road, Old Ore Road and the River Road to Mariscal Mine without any trouble. The roads were dry. If there had been any mud, I might have had a problem.
I'll be the jump start for the car parked in your mind, 'Cause you left the lights on all night long.

*

Offline LandCruisers4Life

  • Black Bear
  • *
  • 244
Re: 4WD trails
« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2008, 02:01:33 AM »
4 Wheel Drive is really a must in the back country. You never know when the conditions will become bad. A trail that is normally passed in high clearance 2 wheel drive can easily become impassable in 2 wheel drive if weather hits or road conditions worsen.



*

Offline presidio

  • Soaptree Yucca
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 3468
Re: 4WD trails
« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2008, 09:45:20 AM »
Since this really old thread got revived and was originally posed also in terms of renting a 4WD, here's something to keep in mind.

In the car rental world things are not as they appear. They will rent you a 4WD but they don't allow you to use it as a 4WD. You are renting to make a style statement.

Take a look at the terms and conditions of any rental company. I have not found any exceptions yet, and they all specifically prohibit you from operating a vehicle on unpaved roads. Note that this word would cover maintained, gravel roads that might even be part of a county or state public road network (and there are a few maintained gravel roads that are state highways in places).

Do they really mean it? Yes they do. If you were to take a vehicle on an unpaved road and have any kind of problem requiring notification to the rental company, whatever damage or liability coverage you paid extra for would evaporate like cheap tequila on a hot day. You'd probably find that the damage waivers certain credit cards provide would also be gone since you weren't in compliance with the contract. There is no language in the contracts exempting 4WDs.

When I was in Hawaii on the big island, I rented from a major company. They had the same prohibition, except that they made an express point of telling you to not go on any unpaved roads, something I've never actually been told here. They did this because one of the popular destinations was the summit of Mauna Loa volcano, which just happens to be the highest point in Hawaii at almost 13,500 but also houses extensive astronomy facilities open to the public. The road to the top is paved for most of the way and it is only the last few miles that are not. The unpaved portion is very wide, VERY well maintained and is better than more than a few of the paved roads on the island. Still, you are told your contract is void if you go there.

Well, we went anyway, were very careful and had no problems. We washed the vehicle before turning it in to remove the telltale dust/dirt traces. So, be careful about the fine print when renting and know what you are getting into.

On another note, it is impressive how sluggish a car can be at 13,000 feet even with fuel injection and computer controls. I imagine a carbureted engine would have had real some issues with the fuel/air ratios up there.
_____________
<  presidio  >
_____________
Wendell (Garret Dillahunt): It's a mess, ain't it, sheriff?
Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones): If it ain't, it'll do till the mess gets here.
--No Country for Old Men (2007)

 


©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