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.

+-Calendar for sale

 2019 BigBendChat Calendar on sale now!


Outer Mountain Loop Questions

  • 11 Replies
  • 11410 Views
*

Offline Birdman

  • Kangaroo Rat
  • *
  • 7
Outer Mountain Loop Questions
« on: October 16, 2006, 07:04:53 PM »
First weekend in November we are going to BB for the outer mountain loop. A few questions for those who have hiked the loop:
1. To cache water at Juniper Canyon, is the road passable with a 2 wheel drive, full size pickup? BB website says 4x4 recommended.
2. To cache water at both Juniper and Homer Wilson, how many hours would you alot?
3. How many days should we take (we are in mediocre shape)? We are thinking 4 nights, but 1st day and last day would be short. Is this enough?

*

Offline jeffblaylock

  • Horned Frog
  • Golden Eagle
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 2295
  • I'd rather be on the South Rim
Outer Mountain Loop Questions
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2006, 08:31:54 PM »
Birdman, I'm sure you'll get lots of good advice from this crew. A four-part recap of my hike of the Outer Mountain Loop is here (including printable topo maps). I did it as a five-night backpack with campsites along the Southeast Rim, in Juniper Canyon about a mile from the trailhead there, just west of the Elephant Tusk trail junction, in Blue Creek Canyon above the red rocks area, and the Southwest Rim. I resupplied at Blue Creek Ranch (Homer Wilson Ranch) only. There was abundant water that November in Boot Canyon, Dodson Spring, and Fresno Creek.

To your specific questions:

Quote
1. To cache water at Juniper Canyon, is the road passable with a 2 wheel drive, full size pickup? BB website says 4x4 recommended.


Probably, but for legal liability reasons, I didn't say that. 4x4 is recommended, as washes can be tricky to negotiate in 2-wheel-drive.

Quote
2. To cache water at both Juniper and Homer Wilson, how many hours would you alot?


I would allocate an entire day to setting up a campsite in the Basin, heading over to Juniper Canyon, and then circling around to Blue Creek via the paved roads. Doing Blue Creek only takes less than 2 hours.

Quote
3. How many days should we take (we are in mediocre shape)? We are thinking 4 nights, but 1st day and last day would be short. Is this enough?


NPS lists it as a 3-day, 2-night trail which is 10 trail miles a day, but that doesn't include a stop at the South Rim. A good 4-night itinerary might look like this:

Day 0: Cache water and prepare.
Day 1: Hike to the South Rim, camping along the SE rim for excellent sunset and sunrise.
Day 2: Hike along the NE Rim to Juniper Canyon, camping either just after the drive-up site along the Dodson Trail.
Day 3: Hike the Dodson Trail, camping between Fresno Creek and the high pass (or at the pass itself, but that spot is cramped and prone to winds).
Day 4: Finish the Dodson Trail, and head up Blue Creek Canyon, stopping either about 2 miles in or going all the way to a previously reserved spot along the SW rim. There are few viable campsites along the upper portion of the trail.
Day 5: Hike back to the Basin and pick up anything you left behind at Blue Creek. Remember, if you leave something behind at Juniper Canyon, it's another half-day retrieving it.

Quote
we are in mediocre shape


Then spend the next 3 weeks walking around the neighborhood with your pack on, gradually increasing its load. Spend the last few days hiking up the steps of a football field. May make it a more enjoyable experience. Make sure your hiking boots are already broken in, as this is not a good trail for brand new boots.

Here's what you'll see from the pass:



Views of the South Rim aren't too shabby either:

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

*

Offline Al

  • Dog Face Moth
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 4075
Outer Mountain Loop Questions
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2006, 08:43:27 PM »
I've been to Juniper Canyon more times than I can count in both small and full size pickups with only 2 wheel drive and most without limited slip rear ends and have never been stuck.  I and my friends do have some basic skills driving back roads, mainly from BB, but are far from being "off road experts".  There are some washes that take some level of skill to cross.  One needs to use the right combination of angle of attack and momentum.  I have had folks with 4-wheels drives come up looking amazed and ask us if we made it up there in the truck we were standing by.  Reminds me of one of those Redneck Comedy guys, who says, "There's your sign."  They must not do much dirt road driving.  

I've lived down a dirt road for the last 25 years or so, but it's a short hop and a piece of cake, not in the French sense.

Al

*

Offline okiehiker

  • Black Bear
  • *
  • 711
  • cryptantha crassipses
Outer Mountain Loop
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2006, 09:08:00 PM »
Most people probably go Pinnacles Trail-Juniper Canyon Trail-Dodson Trail-Blue Creek-Laguna Meadow back to the Basin.

Personally I like going Laguna Meadow Trail to Blue Creek-Dodson-Juniper Canyon-Pinnacles.

Blue Creek is the more barren and I think somewhat less scenic route in and out of the high country.  The Juniper Canyon Trail is a harder climb, but I like spending more time on it.  

Either way, allow yourself time to climb Emory and get out to the South Rim.  Camping there is more sdcenic than down in Boot Canyon if you have the choice.

Apart from rain, the road should be passable for your vehicle.  You are looking at 25 miles round-trip of dirt road that you should plan to take slowly.  Your shuttle--PJ to the Glenn Spring Road, back to Blue Creek Ranch and up to the Basin is between 60 and 70 miles of pavement.

When caching at Blue Creek I like to leave my provisions down in the canyon.  This always takes longer from the car than you think it should.  Likewise at the Juniper Canyon end.  Four nights is probably adequate for you to make the hike. Five nights might be more enjoyable.  You will have good water at Fresno Creek as you come across the Dodson Trail.

Have a great hike!

The hike is not very long but you do have a gross elevation gain of about 8,000' (and an equal amount of loss.)
Funny... I have a story about that...

*

Offline elhombre

  • Golden Eagle
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 1131
Outer Mountain Loop Questions
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2006, 09:32:21 PM »
I was in BB last week and it rained hard enough to cause a flood down the arroys on the Glen Springs areas.  The arroys are what will give people the problems because the water erodes steep ledges in the very bottom of the road.  The water created a low spot with ledges on either side wide enough for both tires to set down in between them.  One tire spinning in the rear will not push the front of a car up the ledge.  This will give a 2wd car the biggest problem.  

You could do it but I would advise against it if you have plain hyway tires.  The spinning and slipping of the tire will cut the tread and sidewall.  All terrain tires are the min. I would give yourself at least 1.5hrs one way to JC2.
For 2 years the Fake News Media, Obama's FBI, CIA & DOJ, and Swamp dwelling Politicians COLLUDED, Illegally Spied,and LIED to America about POTUS in order to overturn an election

All the while demanding censorship and removal of opposition Conservative "hate speech" voices.  Globalists Hate Freedom

*

Offline Joe

  • Golden Eagle
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 554
  • Big Bender since 1972
Re: Outer Mountain Loop
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2006, 09:41:01 PM »
Quote from: "okiehiker"
When caching at Blue Creek I like to leave my provisions down in the canyon.


With the bears roaming around, I would leave your cache in the bear box at Blue Creek.  I checked it out weekend before last when I was in the park for David and Sarah's wedding.  It's located a few hundred feet down the trail from the parking area.  You're required to label your food; there was a marker there on a string.  You're also required to empty the bear box of your cache.

Have a great hike - the Outer Mountain Loop was my first backpacking trip.
The real desert is a land which reveals its true character only to those who come with courage, tolerance and understanding. - Randall Henderson

http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/el-saloacuten/joe-a-memorial/

*

Offline Al

  • Dog Face Moth
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 4075
Outer Mountain Loop Questions
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2006, 09:45:24 PM »
Quote from: "elhombre"
I was in BB last week and it rained hard enough to cause a flood down the arroys on the Glen Springs areas.  The arroys are what will give people the problems because the water erodes steep ledges in the very bottom of the road.  The water created a low spot with ledges on either side wide enough for both tires to set down in between them.  One tire spinning in the rear will not push the front of a car up the ledge.  This will give a 2wd car the biggest problem.  

You could do it but I would advise against it if you have plain hyway tires.  The spinning and slipping of the tire will cut the tread and sidewall.  All terrain tires are the min. I would give yourself at least 1.5hrs one way to JC2.


I DO recommend bringing a shovel.  The recent rains will make it more difficult than otherwise. Elhombre described, what I would call newly eroded draws, very well.  It's typically soft soil that's easily eroded and easily shoveled, but there can be some ledges that are over 18" high and they can make it interesting.  Chances are there will have been some traffic before you that will help define the path.  


Al

*

Offline Undertaker

  • Ham Radio: KD5YA 1999 Ford F-350 4X4 Diesel 150 Galllons Home: Richmond, Texas
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 1338
  • Cooking BBQ for Trail Rides and Contest
    • http://www.GodboldAppraisals.Com
Outer Mountain Loop Questions
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2006, 09:45:27 PM »
Recommend you follow the advice in this chat room, these folks KNOW what they are talking about.  4x4 vs 2wd, although I drive a 4x4 there are very few roads you cannot make with 2wd, slow and easy, if the weather in BB has been wet check with rangers for recommendations, this also lets them know were you were heading when you don't come out, carry plenty of water, store as recommended and have some in truck (desert). Do plan on spending most of one day stashing water. Excellent recomendation on hiking with pack around home and yes stadium steps or highrize stairs WITH pack will help. Hiking BB is like good BBQ, slow and easy, take lots and lots of photos savor every moment you are in BB. 8)
Visiting BB since 1966, nothing like being lost and finding heaven.

*

Offline JohnG

  • Jack Rabbit
  • *
  • 23
Dodson Trail
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2006, 08:08:56 AM »
Many, many years ago while on the Dodson Trail, I asked a fellow hiker going in the opposite direction if there was water in Fresno Creek.  She said "Sure.....Lots!".  It was when we saw the scattered, shallow puddles at Fresno that I finally realized that the definition of "lots" is highly dependent upon circumstances and ones point of view.
"Para todo mal, mezcal, para todo bien, tambien"

*

Offline Drifter

  • Coyote
  • *
  • 188
Outer/Outer Mountain Loop
« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2006, 11:48:41 AM »
Another route is to cache water at the Blue Creek and start the trip from the bottom of Juniper canyon.  I call this the Outer/Outer mountain loop.  It does eliminate the pull up Laguna Meadows or Pinnacles and assures a walk on the entire south rim.  It saves a ton of time in prep. and leaves the South Rim as another day trip.  Just a thought.
If you climb mountains, no explanation is necessary, if you don't , no explanation is possible.

*

Offline Robert

  • Golden Eagle
  • Black Bear
  • *
  • 992
  • He who limps is still walking. - Stanislaw J. Lec
Outer Mountain Loop Questions
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2006, 04:29:21 PM »
First time we did this in three days but all trips after that were done in 4 days/3 nights. I'm not a speed hiker and on the first trip we ended up hiking after sunset and setting up in the dark on both nights. It wasn't late but with short winter days it just limits your daylight hours.

*

Offline TheWildWestGuy

  • Golden Eagle
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 1338
Outer Mountain Loop Questions
« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2006, 06:08:58 PM »
I was in Juniper Canyon last week and it was no problem for my 2WD truck as long as you are not in a big hurry.   Here is my advice:
1- this is a wet year and there is plenty of water along the route until you get to Blue Creek so I would skip the stash at Juniper Canyon and only stash water/food/liquid pain reliever at Blue Creek.
2- bring a water filter and I will personally warrant that you will find water at Boot Spring (coming out of the pipe so don't need to filter it), then at Upper Juniper Springs (large spring flowing right out of the rock), and at Fresno Creek.   Dodson Spring and Cedar Spring are maybe's but not reliable.   It's easier and safer to carry 5-7 liters in your pack to make it the ~5-7 miles between water than to carry little and hope your stash is still there when you get there.
3- I would plan this as a 3 night backpack being:

1st night - up on the NE Rim, water at boot springs
2nd night - at Fresno Creek water at Upper Juniper Springs and Fresno
3rd night - Cedar Springs in Blue Creek Canyon, water, food, clothes, and resupply at Bear Box in Blue Creek.
Then the next day you hike up Blue Creek, down to the Basin, then drive back around to Blue Creek and retrieve your trash/dirty clothes/etc..

There is a good deal of water in the park this season and almost every named spring is flowing good along with several weaker springs, potholes, and tinaja's.   There is plenty of water and its not worth the drive around to stash water at Juniper Canyon which is only ~3-4 miles away from Upper Juniper Springs anyway and ~5-6 miles from Fresno Creek....  TWWG

 


©COPYRIGHT NOTICE

All photographs and content posted by members are to be considered copyrighted by their respective owners and may not be used for any purposes, commercial or otherwise, without permission.

+-Calendar For Sale

 2019 BigBendChat Calendar on sale now!

Powered by EzPortal

Facebook Comments