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Likeliness of being able to snag a Campground between Xmas and New Year?

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Offline Waltered

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Hello everyone,

Some friends and I are planning on doing the Outer Mountain Loop over 3 days and 2 nights late in December. But for the night before we hit the trail we are planning on car camping in the Chisos Basin. All the reserveable campsites on recreation.gov are booked on the dates we plan to be there, though many are first come first served.

My question is, what is the likeliness of being able to get one of the Chisos Basin car accessible first-come-first-served campsites for December 27 seeing as the holiday season is the park's busiest time of year?

We will be driving from Dallas and are planing on arriving there mid afternoon. Would it be that much safer to get there right at the 1:00 check in time, or even earlier? If the Chisos is full, does anyone have any good ideas as alternate spots to camp before we begin our OML hike the next morning?

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Offline RichardM

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Re: Likeliness of being able to snag a Campground between Xmas and New Year?
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2013, 10:49:26 PM »
I would guess that there will be 5-10 sites that open up that morning, which will all then be taken before noon. It would require a great deal of luck for there to be one open after 1:00. Best bet is to get up there as early as possible in the morning (well, you might wait until the sun comes up) and check with the campground host. He'll have a list of sites that are opening up. Print out a map of the campground before you go so you won't waste time trying to find the open sites after you get his list. Be advised that they typically advertise the campground as being full before all of the sites are actually taken. You can call the visitor center for the latest campground report as you're driving in.

I've camped there twice during that week (2010 & 2012) and both times there were 6-7 sites available in the morning. Both times all of the sites were taken by 10:00 or so. Good luck, and good hunting...

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Offline catz

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Re: Likeliness of being able to snag a Campground between Xmas and New Year?
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2013, 11:03:13 AM »
If the Basin is full when you arrive, I suggest camping at site in the desert, near the Basin turnoff.  If only a true campground will do, then Rio Grande Village or Cottonwood.  RGV is a little closer to the Basin while Cottonwood is more likely to have spaces available. 
Wake me when it's time to go.

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Offline Waltered

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Re: Likeliness of being able to snag a Campground between Xmas and New Year?
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2013, 07:22:15 PM »
Fantastic,

Thanks for the advice you guys. Looks like we'll be driving through the night to get there before noon.

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Offline dprather

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Re: Likeliness of being able to snag a Campground between Xmas and New Year?
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2013, 03:19:09 PM »
Alternates are limited.  Rio Grande Village is ok. 

Have you considered beginning the OML at the Juniper Canyon/Dodson trailhead?  If so, Rio Grande Village is not that far out of the way.
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

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Offline Jimbow

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Re: Likeliness of being able to snag a Campground between Xmas and New Year?
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2014, 07:21:00 AM »
How did it work out?
Everything is in walking distance if you have enough time.

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Offline Waltered

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Re: Likeliness of being able to snag a Campground between Xmas and New Year?
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2014, 09:36:06 PM »
Everything went excellent! I'm back at school now and don't have much free time, but I'd like to post a trip report sometime in the next week.

Can't wait for the next opportunity to head out to big bend.

 


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