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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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Spring Break 2019

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Offline slhodge78

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Spring Break 2019
« on: June 06, 2018, 11:10:47 AM »
I don't know what kind of effect it will have, but Austin and some surrounding school districts are moving their spring break to a week after the "normal" one for 2019. I'm considering a trip that week since our daughter goes to a school that is changing. Is it usually busy that week also, or is the spring break rush just that second week of March?

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Offline jeffblaylock

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Re: Spring Break 2019
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2018, 12:17:46 PM »
March is just plain busy regardless of exactly when spring breaks are scheduled. Expect full campgrounds, difficulty getting permits for specific places/dates and full trailhead parking lots.

According to NPS Stats, there were 76,094 visitors to Big Bend NP in March of this year, which is 39% more than March 2016. There were more than 36,000 overnight stays, which means an average of 1,200 or so people were staying in the park each night during the month.
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 badknees

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Re: Spring Break 2019
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2018, 12:47:07 PM »
March is just plain busy regardless of exactly when spring breaks are scheduled. Expect full campgrounds, difficulty getting permits for specific places/dates and full trailhead parking lots.

According to NPS Stats, there were 76,094 visitors to Big Bend NP in March of this year, which is 39% more than March 2016. There were more than 36,000 overnight stays, which means an average of 1,200 or so people were staying in the park each night during the month.

That's about 17% of last year's total visitors in one month! - More than double the monthly average.

I like August! - About half the monthly average.
Not all those who wander are lost.
J.R.R. Tolkien

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Offline RichardM

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Re: Spring Break 2019
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2018, 01:31:06 PM »
Based on reports from the past couple of years, I think we can throw out the historical visitation patterns and assume the park will be packed most of March going forward. Same for last two weeks of November and December. Probably a couple of other times as well. Welcome to the new normal.  :-\

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Offline slhodge78

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Re: Spring Break 2019
« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2018, 01:57:02 PM »
That's unfortunate. We visited last Labor Day weekend and it wasn't too busy (except Saturday...which we spent visiting Boquillas). Not too hot in the Chisos then either. Maybe I'll stick with that time of year. We did also visit this Easter weekend, but we arrived Thursday morning to see the main tourist sights and then spent Friday night at SW3. Crowds weren't bad then either, but we left Saturday so probably missed them.

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Spring Break 2019
« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2018, 02:08:52 PM »
I've taken several trips to Big Bend NP in August. The desert is pretty hot then, but the Chisos are wonderful, especially once you hike out of the Basin. I took my 8 or 9-year-old daughter on a 5-day backpack through the mountains a few years ago during the second and third weeks of August and we had a blast.  Plenty of water and very reasonable temps up in the mountains.  And we saw almost no one up there.
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Spring Break 2019
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2018, 02:12:22 PM »
I've also taken both my kids on Spring Break trips into the Chisos, but those required arriving in the park at around 6am and getting in line for permits shortly thereafter. We had to take what we could get and in one case we wound up in a double-booked campsite in Boot Canyon with a large family. LOTS of people up in the mountains, even back then. I can't imagine what it must be like these days.
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline Txlj

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Re: Spring Break 2019
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2018, 02:38:06 PM »
Also remember, Spring break happens at different times around the state. Its basically a two to three week period of different districts being out at different times. Having worked the beach for several years, spring break was basically a two week hell.

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Offline jeffblaylock

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Re: Spring Break 2019
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2018, 03:16:33 PM »
We did also visit this Easter weekend, but we arrived Thursday morning to see the main tourist sights and then spent Friday night at SW3. Crowds weren't bad then either, but we left Saturday so probably missed them.

I had someone drive by my Basin campsite on the Friday morning before Easter and ask me how I had gotten such a good site for Easter weekend. I arrived on Sunday, I told him.
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 dprather

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Re: Spring Break 2019
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2018, 06:38:28 PM »
Reading this thread's title, I was afraid that the line for backcountry permits for Spring Break 2019 was already forming.
Leave "quit" at the car.  Embrace the trail as your friend.  Expect to enjoy yourself, and to be amazed.

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Spring Break 2019
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2018, 07:32:31 PM »
Reading this thread's title, I was afraid that the line for backcountry permits for Spring Break 2019 was already forming.

🤣


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"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline VivaTerlingua

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Re: Spring Break 2019
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2018, 07:08:26 AM »
I was in the park the weekend before Memorial Day and wanted to do the Rim overnight.  I suspected it may be a problem getting a permit for Saturday night so I went out a day early and went to Panther Junction at 10 am on Friday morning for a permit for Friday night.  All the sites on the Rim were full and the closest site was Laguna Meadow.  Granted only half the sites were available because of Peregrine Falcaon nesting, but I would have thought in late May on a non holiday weekend that there would be no problem getting a site.  I'm afraid this is going to be the new normal.

 


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