Big Bend Chat
Big Bend National Park Q&A => The Backroads => Topic started by: jmulc on December 20, 2017, 01:38:16 PM
First time at big bend coming up this weekend, will be spending 3 full days at the park and hoping for input on routes, hikes, campgrounds, must see spots, and general insider advise.
Will be my girlfriend and I with a stock Wrangler. Solid hiking/camping experience. Newish to off road
My thoughts so far: (but very open to suggestions)
Coming in on 385 and will get passes early AM at Persimmon Gap visitor center
Day 1: Old Ore Rd south to River Rd & up Glenn Springs
Check out hot springs & RG village - campground along Glenn Springs
Day 2: Emory Peak via Juniper Canyon Trail
Looks to be ~17 miles - anyone ever done this in a day? Is there a better Chisos day + hike?
Would like a tough, long hike, but scenery and views are top priority. Avoid holiday crowds if possible
Day 3: Would like to get to Santa Elena via Black Gap and River Rd but sounds like that might take 10 + hours. Good spots that fit better?
Any and all input is much appreciated. Thanks!
That sounds like an ambitions but doable itinerary provided you don't have any mechanical (or other issues). If you like to boogie that's your huckleberry. I've 4-wheeled all over the San Juans, so Big Bend's 4WD experience for me is largely just an exercise in driving on rough, dusty roads to get to places where I can get out and spend time in extremely remote parts of the park on foot.
I would encourage you to plan some time to walk out into the desert, sit down on a rock and contemplate the BIGNESS of it all...
I'll have to leave the 4x4 questions for someone with a real off-road vehicle to answer. :icon_rolleyes:
I haven't heard of anyone hiking Emory Peak from Juniper Canyon. That'd be a knee-killer for me. Most folks do Emory as a day-hike from the Basin.
Emory Peak via Juniper Canyon Trail
:eusa_hand: I would forget the peak. I'd suggest a day hike to the south rim. Up the pinnacles, down laguna meadow. A "tourist trail" to be sure, but the rim is awesome. Twelve miles roundtrip (as opposed to your planned 17); you can slow down and enjoy the hike.
Hope this helps
Emory from Juniper would be about a 4000' elevation gain. It's definitely doable, but a big chunk of your time will be stuck in Juniper Canyon. While you'll have some nice views of Crown Mountain and Townsend Point towering above you, it's not the most scenic part of the Chisos in my opinion. For a desert to mountain hike, I think blue creek is better, plus you can hit the south rim pretty easily.
If scenery and views are the goal, I'd skip Emory and do the South Rim (as others suggested). Start in the basin and if you feel up to it and have time, you could do the side trail and still knock off Emory before coming back down.
While up there, look for Santa Elena Canyon and decide if you want to hit it the next day. That's another must do for scenery and views in my opinion. You can make a desert day with the short trails you'll pass enroute to Santa Elena.
stock Wrangler. Newish to off road
In Big Bend, ground clearance is more important than 4WD. Most park roads can be driven, with due care for conditions, by many vehicles. Unless it's recently rained to the extent there is large runoff, you shouldn't encounter anything your Jeep cannot negotiate.
Big Bend backcountry roads are zero challenge to anyone having even moderate 4WD experience.