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Outer Mountain Loop

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Offline DallasHiker

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Outer Mountain Loop
« on: January 22, 2009, 01:42:15 PM »
Alright,

So March 7-11 6 friends and me are planning to do the outer mountain loop.  Half of us have been backpacking before.  I personally have been to big bend state park packing once.  We are all avid mountain bikers in good enough shape to make the trip.  That being stated we are planning on leaving Austin Sat. Morn March 7 around 1 am or so.  There will be two cars and we want to stash water at the juniper trailhead, and the homer wilson ranch.  I am guessing there will be no water available on the trail at this time of the year?  I have a jeep commander, 2 wheel drive.  Have any of you driven the juniper road.  Can I make it?  Also we are looking for any suggestions on campsites, maps, or any other kinds of itineraries that you may be able to provide us.  Feel free to ask any questions you want.

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Offline jeffblaylock

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Re: Outer Mountain Loop
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2009, 02:01:23 PM »
Lots of info on the OML on this site, particularly in the Your Trip Reports and Hiking the Desert sections.

Caching water (and food) is smart. Check with rangers on road conditions for Juniper Canyon, but the road is generally passable to high-clearance vehicles. Expect to spend most of a day putting your caches in place at Juniper Canyon trailhead and the Wilson ranch site. I'd recommend spending the other half of that day hiking the Lost Mine Trail as a warm-up.

There are some custom maps I made for my 2004 OML trek in the comments section at the bottom of this trip report, the first of a four-part series.

You will probably find water in Fresno Creek, just about the only reliable source of water along the route. That said, if you're caching at Juniper Canyon, you will probably not need any.

If it's your first time in the Chisos Mountains, I'd spend a night on the South Rim before you hike down into the desert.
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

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Offline dkerr24

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Re: Outer Mountain Loop
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2009, 02:12:07 PM »
From what I've read here, Spring Break is one of the busiest times of the year for Big Bend.  Not sure if that will affect your itinerary on the OML route or not, as it is probably not as heavily travelled as the corridor trails in the Chisos.  Just something to keep in mind.

I'm planning on doing the loop for my first time in a few weeks.  My car (Toyota Matrix) isn't capable of driving the road to the Juniper Canyon trailhead, so I plan on just cacheing food and water at the bear box near Homer Wilson Ranch.  I'm doing the loop hike east to west on the Dodson trail.

With only 1 cache, my trip will depend heavily on the availability of water at Fresno Creek.  I'll have to modify my camping spots if Fresno is dry.  My plan is to start at the basin and hike up the Pinnacles Trail, then down the Juniper Canyon trail and dry camp the first night near the Juniper Canyon trailhead, hopefully have an easy second day and camp the second night near Fresno Creek, then pickup my cache and camp the third night in one of the Blue Creek campsites.  On the fourth day, I plan on dayhiking the South Rim before returning to the basin.

The rangers should have current information on water and road conditions for you at the time you check in at the ranger station.

Darin
« Last Edit: January 22, 2009, 02:40:01 PM by dkerr24 »

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Offline championbaum

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Re: Outer Mountain Loop
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2009, 02:39:32 PM »
if you have time the rim is really nice to camp at, NE 4 is a great campsite, then make it down the juniper trail the next day. perfect trip if you throw the rim in.

I have never driven down the juniper road, but i have walked it to glen spring about 2 years ago, and the road was good enough for a 2 wheeled drive jeep, i got picked up there by my brother who isn't a hiker, in a chevy truck, but the rangers will have better info on that, unless someone has driven it lately.

when i did this trip last weekend, boot spring was dry, and all the pools along the trail were pretty much dry, i couldn't find the upper juniper spring, the dodson spring wasn't flowing enough for a water source, fresno was flowing really good. those were the only water sources i checked. If you do cache at juniper and homer wison ranch there will be no need to get water from fresno, as jeff said........

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Offline Picacho

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Re: Outer Mountain Loop
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2009, 04:12:54 PM »
Yes, your 2wd Commander will make it, unless there has been recent rain activity.  Even then you can probably make it. 

You will probably not find any water on the Dodson, but you might find some by hiking a little ways down Smokey Creek.  Since the Smokey Creek intersection is only about 3.5 miles from Homer Wilson Ranch, it's probably not worth your time. 

By March, it will already be starting to warm up, especially down in the Sierra Quemadas where the Dodson runs through.  Get an early start to avoid the heat, preferably at the crack of dawn especially if you are going uphill to start the day.  Nights will still be cool, so don't skimp on taking warm clothes.

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Offline Cookie

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Re: Outer Mountain Loop
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2009, 05:46:24 PM »
Alright,

So March 7-11 6 friends and me are planning to do the outer mountain loop. 
if you have time the rim is really nice to camp at, NE 4 is a great campsite, then make it down the juniper trail the next day. perfect trip if you throw the rim in.

Seasonal Closures
The Southeast Rim Trail and a portion of the Northeast Rim Trail from the Boot Canyon/Southeast Rim junction to a point just north of Campsite NE-4 is closed during the peregrine falcon brooding season from February 1 through May 31 each year.

I love NE4 too, but it will be closed during that time for the Peregrine falcons. It makes it tough to enjoy the rim but still not kill yourself hiking up and down boot canyon to get to the rim and then hiking down Juniper. you could still stay at SE1 or 2 and enjoy the rim, you would just be adding on a little more than 3 miles round trip to your itinerary. If you get an early start, it might not be too tough.........it IS the most amazing view in Texas!
~Cookie

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Offline RichardM

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Re: Outer Mountain Loop
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2009, 07:51:08 PM »
Alright,

So March 7-11 6 friends and me are planning to do the outer mountain loop. 
if you have time the rim is really nice to camp at, NE 4 is a great campsite, then make it down the juniper trail the next day. perfect trip if you throw the rim in.

Seasonal Closures
The Southeast Rim Trail and a portion of the Northeast Rim Trail from the Boot Canyon/Southeast Rim junction to a point just north of Campsite NE-4 is closed during the peregrine falcon brooding season from February 1 through May 31 each year.

I love NE4 too, but it will be closed during that time for the Peregrine falcons. It makes it tough to enjoy the rim but still not kill yourself hiking up and down boot canyon to get to the rim and then hiking down Juniper. you could still stay at SE1 or 2 and enjoy the rim, you would just be adding on a little more than 3 miles round trip to your itinerary. If you get an early start, it might not be too tough.........it IS the most amazing view in Texas!
~Cookie
SE1 and SE2 are in the closed off area, too.
Seasonal Closures
To protect the peregrine falcon, an endangered species, the following areas of the park are closed to all use from February 1 until May 31 each year:
  • The Southeast Rim Trail and a portion of the Northeast Rim Trail from the Boot Canyon/Southeast Rim junction to a point just north of Campsite NE-4.
  • All Southeast Rim campsites as well as Northeast (NE) campsites 4 and 5 are closed during this period. Technical rock climbing on rock faces within ? mile of known peregrine eyries, as posted, will not be allowed between February 1 and May 31.
Here is a kluged map showing the closed portion of the Rim.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2010, 10:04:25 PM by RichardM »

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Offline badknees

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Re: Outer Mountain Loop
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2009, 08:04:27 PM »
Alright,

So March 7-11 6 friends and me are planning to do the outer mountain loop. 
if you have time the rim is really nice to camp at, NE 4 is a great campsite, then make it down the juniper trail the next day. perfect trip if you throw the rim in.

Seasonal Closures
The Southeast Rim Trail and a portion of the Northeast Rim Trail from the Boot Canyon/Southeast Rim junction to a point just north of Campsite NE-4 is closed during the peregrine falcon brooding season from February 1 through May 31 each year.

I love NE4 too, but it will be closed during that time for the Peregrine falcons. It makes it tough to enjoy the rim but still not kill yourself hiking up and down boot canyon to get to the rim and then hiking down Juniper. you could still stay at SE1 or 2 and enjoy the rim, you would just be adding on a little more than 3 miles round trip to your itinerary. If you get an early start, it might not be too tough.........it IS the most amazing view in Texas!
~Cookie
If memory serves, SE1 and SE2 are in the closed off area, too. I'll see if I can rustle up a map later...

This was the 08' closure....

The areas closed to public entry from February 1 through May 31 are:

The Southeast Rim Trail and a portion of the Northeast Rim Trail from the Boot Canyon/Southeast Rim junction to a point just north of Campsite NE-4.
All Southeast Rim campsites as well as Northeast (NE) campsites 4 and 5 are closed during this period. Technical rock climbing on rock faces within ? mile of known peregrine eyries, as posted, will not be allowed between February 1 and July 15.

Not all those who wander are lost.
J.R.R. Tolkien

Through the Mirror
http://mirrormagic.com

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Offline Cookie

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Re: Outer Mountain Loop
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2009, 08:23:57 PM »
Alright,

So March 7-11 6 friends and me are planning to do the outer mountain loop. 
if you have time the rim is really nice to camp at, NE 4 is a great campsite, then make it down the juniper trail the next day. perfect trip if you throw the rim in.

Seasonal Closures
The Southeast Rim Trail and a portion of the Northeast Rim Trail from the Boot Canyon/Southeast Rim junction to a point just north of Campsite NE-4 is closed during the peregrine falcon brooding season from February 1 through May 31 each year.

I love NE4 too, but it will be closed during that time for the Peregrine falcons. It makes it tough to enjoy the rim but still not kill yourself hiking up and down boot canyon to get to the rim and then hiking down Juniper. you could still stay at SE1 or 2 and enjoy the rim, you would just be adding on a little more than 3 miles round trip to your itinerary. If you get an early start, it might not be too tough.........it IS the most amazing view in Texas!
~Cookie
If memory serves, SE1 and SE2 are in the closed off area, too. I'll see if I can rustle up a map later...

This was the 08' closure....

The areas closed to public entry from February 1 through May 31 are:

The Southeast Rim Trail and a portion of the Northeast Rim Trail from the Boot Canyon/Southeast Rim junction to a point just north of Campsite NE-4.
All Southeast Rim campsites as well as Northeast (NE) campsites 4 and 5 are closed during this period. Technical rock climbing on rock faces within ? mile of known peregrine eyries, as posted, will not be allowed between February 1 and July 15.


Thanks for the correction- I knew a lot was closed and thought I had found the correct info on the NPS page. Those closures can definately change your plans for seeing the rim.
~Cookie

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Offline Desertwalker

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Re: Outer Mountain Loop
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2009, 10:14:20 PM »
Alright,

There will be two cars and we want to stash water at the juniper trailhead, and the homer wilson ranch.  I am guessing there will be no water available on the trail at this time of the year?  I have a jeep commander, 2 wheel drive.  Have any of you driven the juniper road.  Can I make it? 

Did the OML back in November and we cached water at both Homer Wilson Ranch and the Juniper Canyon Trailhead. We had a 4X4 but did not need it. A 2wd high clearance vehicle would have been just fine. Glenn Spring Road was rocky and rougher than anticipated but Juniper Canyon was not as bad as I thought it would be. It took about about an hour and fifteen minutes to an hour and half to get to the trailhead. We camped at Robbers Roost that night. In the morning, I was anxious to get to the Basin so drove a little too fast and ended up with a flat.
When you came into this world, you cried and the world rejoiced. You should live your life, so when you die the world cries and you rejoice - Old Indian Saying

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Offline elhombre

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Re: Outer Mountain Loop
« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2009, 11:14:44 AM »
The main advantage of 4 wheel drive is that 2 tires are always pulling the car instead of 1.  In 2 wheel drive, if you hit a rock or are trying to drive out of a dip, only one tire is pulling and when it spins on the loose rock, it is very likely to get cut.  4 wheel drive means 2 tires are working and the spinning tire will not spin out as much because it is directly connected to the other axle that is not spinning out.  Bottom line is that you need to have a real spare and something else other than Hyway tires.  Stay off the throttle.

I personally have never seen a post here about Fresno not running.  Just be prepared with Iodine or chlorine tablets because many people camp right beside the creek and I truly dought that those kind of people walk out of the canyon to crap.  One of the hepititis virus is not stopped by modern filters.

If you start at Juniper Canyon trailhead, you won't waste the time driving a round trip.  But you will have to carry some extra water up Blue Meadow trail for the one night on the rim and then the walk back down to your car at Juniper canyon.

Finally, I enjoy road biking as a way to stay in shape, but I can tell you from personal experience, it is a good idea to work in some walking a few weeks before you go.  Different muscles and the pounding of walking made my legs/knees sore till I changed my work out regime.
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