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.

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Couple Questions about an April/May Visit

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Offline Axeman

  • Kangaroo Rat
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  • 2
Couple Questions about an April/May Visit
« on: January 24, 2019, 10:27:43 AM »
Were planning our first trip to BBNP and would appreciate any insight you can provide.  I waited a little too long to reserve a campsite at Chisos Basin and was only able to get a reservation for 4/28 5/2, which is a bit later in the season than I would like.  Ive checked the average monthly temperatures for locations throughout the park and it looks like it should be comfortable if we stick to the mountains.  But we would like to spend some time in the lower elevations as well and Im thinking it may be getting a bit warm by that time.  Were from Texas and used to the heat, but would prefer not to be hiking in 100-degree weather.

Any opinions on whether it would be best to avoid the lower elevations in late April/early May?

What are the chances that we could snag a non-reservable site in Chisos Basin if we visited the first week of April without a reservation?

Thanks in advance for any assistance you can provide!

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Offline steelfrog

  • Mountain Lion
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  • 1562
Re: Couple Questions about an April/May Visit
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2019, 11:23:46 AM »
Chances are excellent Id say.

Could also hike in about a mile or so up pinnacles and backcountry camp

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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  • Golden Eagle
  • Mountain Lion
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  • 2892
  • Backpacking since '78, Big Bend since '95.
Re: Couple Questions about an April/May Visit
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2019, 11:42:41 AM »
Chances are excellent Id say.

Could also hike in about a mile or so up pinnacles and backcountry camp

Steelfrog is right. Don't ignore the backpacking campsites just a bit up the Pinnacles Trail, long before you actually reach the Pinnacles. Boulder Meadow campsites are close and excellent. The lower Pinnacles campsites are gorgeous, though being at the base of the Pinnacles, they are farther away from the Basin amenities. The good news is that very few people use any of these lower campsites, so you're chances of getting them are high.

As far as the lower elevations, I used to spend a week or two in BBNP every year between late April and early May, and I almost always found the desert to be tolerable. It rarely used to get into the 100's then and it even rained a few times. Things may be a bit hotter these days, but I think a dayhike or some backcountry driving should be no problem.
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline jim2

  • jim2
  • Mountain Lion
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  • 1073
Re: Couple Questions about an April/May Visit
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2019, 12:37:08 PM »
For our spring trip I like the second and third weeks of April, if there's going to be a wildflower peak that's when it often occurs. Some years the desert floor is covered in flowers, literally no place to put your foot with out stepping on a flowering plant.  Then in drier years the flowers will be restricted to perennial springs and canyons.
 

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Offline TexasLC

  • Jack Rabbit
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  • 25
Re: Couple Questions about an April/May Visit
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2019, 08:30:13 PM »
I don't mind the dry heat of Big Bend.  Be sure to bring shade because it can be tough to come by in places.  I wear a wide brim  hat and bring plenty of water and it doesn't bother me too much.

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Offline Axeman

  • Kangaroo Rat
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  • 2
Re: Couple Questions about an April/May Visit
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2019, 08:45:04 PM »
Thanks for the great info and suggestions!  sounds like we have several options that will work for us.

 


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