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Post-flood road conditions

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Offline Quatro

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Post-flood road conditions
« on: February 09, 2009, 12:19:25 PM »
In order to seek some solitude from the masses during our planned Spring Break trip to the Park, I'd like to take to the backroads.  It's been 2 years since my last visit and I'm unsure how the floods combined with a tightened NPS budget have/ will affect the backroads.

1)  I'd like to take the Glenn Springs Road down to the River Road, traverse over to Mariscal Mine and then head east on the River Road to paved road.  I've done the trip in a rental Jeep Commander with no problem.  This year we'll be in another rental SUV, but it will likely be a car based 2WD SUV (Trailblazer or similar).

2) I'd like to do the length of the Old Ore Road.  I've only gone as far as Ernst Tinaja, approaching from the south. Also, better to start from the north or south? Last trip, I loved Ernst Tinaja and wanted to explore it early before the heat.  Maybe the northern end contains equal treasures.

I'll definitely check with the park rangers upon arrival, but wanted to see if this was unrealisitic for my pre-trip planning.  We'll likely be travelling with another car based SUV. 

3)  Finally, is the Glenn Springs cemetery obviously marked?  I think I missed it last time.  The kids were cranky after the Pine Canyon hike and it was hot.  This time I'd like to slow down and spend some time exploring.

Much obliged.
When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro - HST

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Offline uh_clem

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Re: Post-flood road conditions
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2009, 01:00:36 PM »
2) I'd like to do the length of the Old Ore Road.  I've only gone as far as Ernst Tinaja, approaching from the south. Also, better to start from the north or south? Last trip, I loved Ernst Tinaja and wanted to explore it early before the heat.  Maybe the northern end contains equal treasures.

All I remember being north of Ernst Tinaja are some ruins at Roys Peak Vista campsite and some along the road.

3)  Finally, is the Glenn Springs cemetery obviously marked?  I think I missed it last time.  The kids were cranky after the Pine Canyon hike and it was hot.  This time I'd like to slow down and spend some time exploring.

The "Mexican" cemetary is across the ravine from Glenn Springs. Walk down Black Gap Road past the campsite at the bottom of the hill then up to a path leading to the cemetary at the top of the hill. If there is an "Anglo" cemetary in the area, I don't know where it is.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2009, 01:18:45 PM by uh_clem »
I'll be the jump start for the car parked in your mind, 'Cause you left the lights on all night long.

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Offline Picacho

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Re: Post-flood road conditions
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2009, 01:26:30 PM »
I'll be driving parts of River Road next week.  Ross Maxwell Rd. to the Dominguez Spring trailhead.  I may drive more of it, just depends on how much time I have.  I'll report when I get back.

Just remember, any problems off-road in a rental vehicle even if it is a 4x4 SUV will not be covered by the rental car company.  It will be your responsibility.  Read the contract before you take it off-road. 

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Offline Al

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Re: Post-flood road conditions
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2009, 01:36:42 PM »
We went River Rd East to the mines and back last week in a Toyota Corolla with no problem.  I would think you will have few if any problems doing the listed drives in a 2 wheel drive jeep so long as you are reasonably skilled and careful.

Al

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Offline Roy

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Re: Post-flood road conditions
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2009, 04:25:09 PM »
The only thing I can think of on the Old Ore Raod are where the road crosses deep washes that are probably full of soft sand;  they haven't had any rain to speak of out there.  Check with the Rangers when you get there.  There are some interesting places along the way;  the Alto Relex being one, and great views when you hit the open area on the northern end.  Defintiely worth the drive, IMO.

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Offline riverrat

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Re: Post-flood road conditions
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2009, 04:54:26 PM »
We drove the full length of Old Ore this past New Years in a Suburban. The only problem we had was because of the long wheel base in one of the washes. Other than that, it was fine. We went south to north. Definitely take it slow in a couple of spots due to rolling rocks. Always check it out if in doubt.
Living so close to paradise, it is unbelievable.

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Offline Undertaker

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Re: Post-flood road conditions
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2009, 06:04:06 PM »
Long wheelbase vehicles require good approach and departure angles, 2 or 4 wheel drive.  :eusa_dance:
Visiting BB since 1966, nothing like being lost and finding heaven.

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Offline Quatro

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Re: Post-flood road conditions
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2009, 12:03:47 AM »
Many thanks for each of your replies. And I look forward to your road report, Picacho.

As I pulled out the topo to search for the Alto Relex, I realized that the topo (purchased for my first trip to the Park) didn't have Ross Maxwell Rd. on it.  While the topo was dated 1967, the road info was from 1959. The River Road looks like it connected to Maverick Drive.  Paving for the road to Lajitas appears to have stopped a few miles from town.  There is no indication of any road west of Lajitas to Presidio.

It makes me stop to imagine how difficult it was to get to places like Burro Mesa, the Homer Wilson Ranch and - to a lesser extent - the Chimneys. All places that are just a short dash from the car now. That's probably the reason that springs seem very well marked for a map as broad as 1:250,000.  Good and bad to the access obviously. To this crooked backed, bad kneed hiker trying to show the best of the best to a pair of 8 yr. olds while I still can, it's good.

I'll get some new topos.  These are keepers.
When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro - HST

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Offline Will

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Re: Post-flood road conditions
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2009, 06:13:29 AM »
Here's a quote from another site regarding River Road on 01/02/09...

 

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Big Bend Backcountry Update!!!

I just got back from Big Bend about 30 minutes ago and have a huge update on the back country.

The river road west from the Talley Campsite all the way to the Cottonwood campground is CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE!!!!

I talked with a ranger about it and he said the road was heavily damaged in the recent flood and was "completely washed away" in many areas and will have to be "re-routed and rebuild" in many sections. I asked when he thought it would reopen and he said "It will be awhile. It is way down on the list of things that needs to be repaired from the flood and we have not even set a date to start work yet" He said the Rio Grande Village campsite had over 1,000 dump trucks of silt hauled from it alone so far.

He also said many of the back country river campsites on the river road were completely gone because the river crested at 23ft!

The good news is that everything else is good and the wildflowers should be great this year.

There you have it.

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Offline Will

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Re: Post-flood road conditions
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2009, 09:28:15 AM »

According to the NPS Daily Report, River Road West has been open for ~10 days now. 4 X 4 recommended.

Two more weeks before I get to check it out, but I'm not surprised about the "washed away" comment. The road seemed vulnerable near Loop Camp, and between Black Dike & Buenos Aires.

Thats good to hear.  I have a trip planned 03/15 with one of my kids and plan on Jeepin our way around the backroads.  Please keep us up to date with what you find out in two weeks.  Also, would you happen to have a link to the NPS Daily Report? Thx.

-Will

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Offline Roy

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Re: Post-flood road conditions
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2009, 09:52:14 AM »
Here's a little more info:

http://www.nps.gov/bibe/parknews/2008-rio-grande-river-flood.htm

I'm also wondering about that wildflower prediction.  The park has had basically zero rain for several months.

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Offline uh_clem

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Re: Post-flood road conditions
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2009, 11:47:45 AM »
3)  Finally, is the Glenn Springs cemetery obviously marked?  I think I missed it last time.  The kids were cranky after the Pine Canyon hike and it was hot.  This time I'd like to slow down and spend some time exploring.

The "Mexican" cemetary is across the ravine from Glenn Springs. Walk down Black Gap Road past the campsite at the bottom of the hill then up to a path leading to the cemetary at the top of the hill. If there is an "Anglo" cemetary in the area, I don't know where it is.

Just to clarify, the Mexican cemetery is on the south side of the Black Gap road. There is a very short spur that leads to it. If you aren't looking, you'll probably miss it as you drive by.
There is no Anglo cemetery, but there is a grave and a Woodmen of the World marker on the ridge south of the townsite.

If you don't have a 4x4, I would walk from Glenn Springs. It's not very far and the road is rather steep.
I'll be the jump start for the car parked in your mind, 'Cause you left the lights on all night long.

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Offline Tooldad

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Re: Post-flood road conditions
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2009, 10:47:09 PM »
I drove the entire River Road, west to east, on Tuesday February 3, and had NO problems at all. We had a rented Dodge Ram pick up, and had a great time. No washouts, but you could still see evidence of the flood damage. Some giant bluebonnets were to be found in select areas. Parts of Rio Grande Village still being cleared of flood debris. Santa Elena canyon access trail is much easier to navigate, a LOT of the salt cedars choking Terlingua Creek are gone. The old bathrooms at Santa Elena trailhead were still partly buried, new bathrooms have been installed. Boquillas Canyon trail also has been scrubbed of a lot of the salt cedars. Hot Springs area also showed lots of evidence of flood damage, but has been made easily accessable. We enjoyed a long soak, so take your bathing suit.
On a side note, for the first time did the one day hike to South Rim via Laguna Meadows. 5 hours up, 4 down. Next time, going to do it as an overnight.   

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Offline Will

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Re: Post-flood road conditions
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2009, 05:56:03 AM »
I drove the entire River Road, west to east, on Tuesday February 3, and had NO problems at all. We had a rented Dodge Ram pick up, and had a great time. No washouts, but you could still see evidence of the flood damage. Some giant bluebonnets were to be found in select areas. Parts of Rio Grande Village still being cleared of flood debris. Santa Elena canyon access trail is much easier to navigate, a LOT of the salt cedars choking Terlingua Creek are gone. The old bathrooms at Santa Elena trailhead were still partly buried, new bathrooms have been installed. Boquillas Canyon trail also has been scrubbed of a lot of the salt cedars. Hot Springs area also showed lots of evidence of flood damage, but has been made easily accessable. We enjoyed a long soak, so take your bathing suit.
On a side note, for the first time did the one day hike to South Rim via Laguna Meadows. 5 hours up, 4 down. Next time, going to do it as an overnight.   


Thanks for the report.  Looks like it's all good for our trip mext month then!!! :cool-thumb:

 


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