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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.

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Backroads in 4x2 Jeep Gr Cherokee

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Offline txsweetlady1

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Backroads in 4x2 Jeep Gr Cherokee
« on: November 03, 2010, 06:03:43 PM »
DH & I just found out we have 3 day wknd & heading to BB Sat. 11/6 in our 100K well maintained Jeep 4x2.  Anyone with advice for backroads with high clearance but not 4x4?  Comments/suggestions on Glenn Springs, Pine Canyon, Old Ore and River Road appreciated.   We've been on Dagger Flats, Old Maverick, Grapevine Hills, Hot Springs and all the paved roads in the past.  Which would be be best bets with only 2 full days in park?  We are staying at Big Bend Mission Lodge in Study Butte  .....Anyone been there recently?(never stayed there but they will accept our sweeheart Jack Russell pooch...no cabins w/pets available @ Chisos where we usually stay)  Have a good spare, fix a flat, air pump and will take lots of water/snacks.
Thanks to anyone who "has been there"  on the backroads or the Mission Lodge and has advice. Regards.......JD
"Nothing can stop the man/woman with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man/woman with the wrong mental attitude."

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Offline jim2

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Re: Backroads in 4x2 Jeep Gr Cherokee
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2010, 07:11:39 PM »
your jeep will get tp pine canyon with ease. the hike into pine canyon is of the prettiest in the park.

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Offline jim2

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Re: Backroads in 4x2 Jeep Gr Cherokee
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2010, 07:19:00 PM »
the mission lodge is ok. the rooms are small fairly clean. the chisos mining company has small houses and duplexs for rent. we've stayed in two duplexs had been very comfortable.they cost more than the mission lodge,but , when i take my wife that's where we stay.

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Offline elhombre

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Re: Backroads in 4x2 Jeep Gr Cherokee
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2010, 09:10:12 PM »
You should not have any problem with Glenn Springs road, Juniper Canyon Road, pine canyon or even the river road out to the Mariscal Mine.  River road past the Black Gap Road heading west can get small washouts across it where a person may need front wheel drive.  Old ore road would be OK also with a little wheel spin.  I would not take old Ore Road if you have basic street tires or the required/possible wheel spin will cut street tires up fast.  If you have good off road tires, I would say only stay off Black Gap and the interior parts of river road.

I would suggest driving out to the mine via Glenn Springs road, doing the hike to Pine Canyon along the way.  Explore (hike around) the Glenn Springs area.  (See the cemetary on the other side of the creek.) Then get out to the Mine via River road east.  Stop for a soak at the hot spings on your way home to complete the loop. That would take care of 1 day. 
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Offline txsweetlady1

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Re: Backroads in 4x2 Jeep Gr Cherokee
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2010, 09:22:36 PM »
Thanks Jim2 & elhombre. 
Sounds like we need to try Glenn Springs & Pine Canyon for sure.
To Jim2- Tried to get a room @ Chisos Mining Company but they only had one expensive cabin & required 3 night minimum due to the Chili Cook-off
"Nothing can stop the man/woman with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man/woman with the wrong mental attitude."

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Offline OldJeepr

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Re: Backroads in 4x2 Jeep Gr Cherokee
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2010, 07:26:20 AM »
As noted, you should be ok on Glenn Spring and Pine Canyon roads, and out to Mariscal.  I don't think I'd try Black Gap without 4wd.  I know it has been done in 2wd, but there's a lot of risk that way.  Old Ore, from south to north, should not be a problem.  It is rough in places so take it slow and easy.  Here's my amateur dash cam of parts of Old Ore (north to south) which may give you some idea of what to expect.

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Offline Lorax

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Re: Backroads in 4x2 Jeep Gr Cherokee
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2010, 11:28:49 AM »
High clearance works for most places in the park but not the Black Gap Rd.  Momentum is what will get you up hills.  Rocks can cut tires.  A tire plug kit and portable compressor can save an expensive rescue via tow truck.  A can of fix a flat is a good addition to an emergency kit.  Water!  Even if you are not hiking; dress for a hike.  at lease carry hiking shoes.  You never know!

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Offline Undertaker

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Re: Backroads in 4x2 Jeep Gr Cherokee
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2010, 04:43:20 PM »
Have been over most of the roads in park in two wheel drive, including Black Gap but had the ability to go 4X4 if necessary, agree with water, tire plugs, pump, good jack (high lift) and good hiking shoes. Have fun leave a trip plan.
Visiting BB since 1966, nothing like being lost and finding heaven.

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Offline OldJeepr

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Re: Backroads in 4x2 Jeep Gr Cherokee
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2010, 07:23:58 PM »
Just a little different viewpoint.  Black Gap from south to north could be done in 2WD, assuming high clearance vehicle, limited slip, proper tires, experienced driver, and the ability to walk out if necessary.  Black Gap from north to south in 2WD - possible, but IMHO, a risky undertaking.  Weather, both while you are on the road and what has occurred in the prior days, make a big difference.  A sudden rainstorm while driving the easier south to north route turned the road into a nightmare of mud and slick rock.  While the 'unmaintained' tag may not be totally true, any maintenance on this road will be infrequent.  There are better places to test your driving skills and the capability of your 2wd vehicle, though I must agree, it is a very scenic drive.

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Offline jim2

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Re: Backroads in 4x2 Jeep Gr Cherokee
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2010, 09:33:19 PM »
Just a little different viewpoint.  Black Gap from south to north could be done in 2WD, assuming high clearance vehicle, limited slip, proper tires, experienced driver, and the ability to walk out if necessary.  Black Gap from north to south in 2WD - possible, but IMHO, a risky undertaking.  Weather, both while you are on the road and what has occurred in the prior days, make a big difference.  A sudden rainstorm while driving the easier south to north route turned the road into a nightmare of mud and slick rock.  While the 'unmaintained' tag may not be totally true, any maintenance on this road will be infrequent.  There are better places to test your driving skills and the capability of your 2wd vehicle, though I must agree, it is a very scenic drive.
i plan on driving black gap some day, why is it easier from south to north. i have a stock 4wd trd tacoma, and drive very slow. is that enough truck?

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Offline Cookie

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Re: Backroads in 4x2 Jeep Gr Cherokee
« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2010, 10:12:41 PM »
i plan on driving black gap some day, why is it easier from south to north. i have a stock 4wd trd tacoma, and drive very slow. is that enough truck?

OOOOOHHHHH YEAH!!! All those who hype Black Gap road :nailbitting:--straighten your skirt and secure your purse!! If you have a 4wd, you can go anywhere in the park, just don't break the crust near the old gravel pit campsite4  near the river (if you do, hope you have some shovels!--that's a different story :icon_eek:)

all kidding aside, our first 4wd was a  '98 Toyota Tacoma, that truck was amazing!! Big Bend is your playground when you are behind the wheel!!
go slow and enjoy the ride!!

~Cookie

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Offline dkerr24

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Re: Backroads in 4x2 Jeep Gr Cherokee
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2010, 08:38:59 AM »
I think the biggest mistakes that rookie off-pavement drivers make is going TOO FAST.  You can do damage to even the toughest 4x4 if you try blasting along a trail.  Walking speed or even slower may be required for the rough stuff.  And definitely have someone along with you that can climb out of the rig in the rough areas and be your spotter.

I've gotten down some amazing trails with nothing more than a Jeep Wrangler with 15" stock wheels/tires and no suspension lift.

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Offline MilesOfTexas

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Re: Backroads in 4x2 Jeep Gr Cherokee
« Reply #12 on: November 06, 2010, 10:40:51 AM »
I think the biggest mistakes that rookie off-pavement drivers make is going TOO FAST.  You can do damage to even the toughest 4x4 if you try blasting along a trail.  Walking speed or even slower may be required for the rough stuff.  And definitely have someone along with you that can climb out of the rig in the rough areas and be your spotter.

I've gotten down some amazing trails with nothing more than a Jeep Wrangler with 15" stock wheels/tires and no suspension lift.

I agree with you dk, 110%!  I drove the same roads with my nearly stock FJ in 2WD the entire time, and had no issues creeping up the hills.  Runoff on the hills exposes a lot of rock and is some of the roughest areas, which necessitates caution.  The only thing not stock for my suspension is that I have BF Goodrich All-Terrain tires.

Most importantly, always have enough water and other supplies on board to be able to hike it all of the way out.  That really goes for anywhere off pavement in BIBE.  Survival 101  :icon_biggrin:
 
"I have an excellent profession, but I don't enjoy it near as much as I do when I am in the heart of the wilderness, surrounded by marvelous creations, and efforting to capture what I see and feel so I may share it with others."

-Me 09/12/2011

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Offline jeffblaylock

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Backroads in 4x2 Jeep Gr Cherokee
« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2010, 12:30:39 PM »
Having driven the Alpine Loop in the San Juan Mountains with nothing more than a no frills Mazda 4WD truck (essentially a Ford Ranger) with standard all-terrain tires, I can say that nothing in Big Bend is terribly challenging, unless (1) you drive too fast, (2) you drive inattentively at night, or (3) it has rained recently. That said, bring supplies in case you break down or an ocotillo thorn rips your tire open.
Jeff Blaylock
Austin, Texas

"We'll be back, someday soon. We will return, someday, and when we do the gritty
splendor and the complicated grandeur of Big Bend will still be here. Waiting for us."--Ed Abbey

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Offline OldJeepr

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Re: Backroads in 4x2 Jeep Gr Cherokee
« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2010, 12:48:25 PM »
Yup, the most critical equipment on any vehicle is the nut that holds the steering wheel.

 


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