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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Newbie seeking advice

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Offline Duncan13

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Newbie seeking advice
« on: January 25, 2020, 01:32:46 PM »
Hello from Louisiana, y'all. After years of wanting to visit, I'll be visiting BBNP with my wife and active 8 year old this spring. We will be in Hill Country for a few days, camping in the Chisos campground for 1 night, and in Terlingua for another 2 nights.

I'm hoping for a few pointers. Our hiking will of course be limited to what our daughter can handle, but I'm wondering how safe the shorter trails will be for a young kid, and which ones strike a balance between aesthetic quality and safety.

Also, for a guided tour, we're trying to decide between a float trip or horseback riding, so any pointers in that regard would be greatly appreciated.

Finally, any general advice would also be appreciated.

Thanks!

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Online House Made of Dawn

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Re: Newbie seeking advice
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2020, 02:04:27 PM »
Horse trips are ALWAYS a blast for kids.  I love float trips, but they can be a little boring for kids, especially if the flows are low. Check with outfitters like Desert Sports in Terlingua. They can give you a heads-up on expected flow rates during your visit.

The South Rim is do-able if you devote the better part of a day and take a lot of breaks with snacks.  The lower portion from the Basin to the Chisos can be hot, but my kids did it when they were less than 8 year old and survived, even enjoyed it. Boot Canyon and the Colima Trail are shady, cool-ish, and very interesting to kids.  Lots of place to play and explore. The views from the South Rim are - no exaggeration - mind-blowing. Just about the best possible introduction to Big Bend.

Santa Elena Canyon is a short hike into the shade of the canyon. That would be an option. Also, maybe Lower Burro Pouroff. Or Mule Ears Spring (getting there could be too hot, though). Might want to take a look at Tuff Canyon, it can be shady in the morning.  Burro Springs and Tule Springs are cool, but again it's a hot hike to get to them. Swirl Tinaja is interesting and not far from the park road. If you have a robust vehicle (high clearance, not necessarily 4WD) you could drive north to Ernst Tinaja...a great place for kids....but you want to be out of there by 11am or noon. 

Long story short, all hike except those in the mountains might have to be done in the morning. The afternoons could be too hot.
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline Duncan13

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Re: Newbie seeking advice
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2020, 08:53:48 PM »
This is great. Thanks!

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Offline congahead

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Re: Newbie seeking advice
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2020, 10:57:07 AM »
With an 8-year old, I would definitely add Boquillas Canyon and Grapevine Hills to your hiking list.

The sand dune at Boquillas is tons of fun to walk up and slide down.

The end of the Grapevine Hills trail has a great scramble that ends in a boulder "window" that you can stand in. The trailhead is a short drive down an improved gravel road that doesn't require high clearance or a 4WD.

My kids were 9 and 7 when we first went.

Now they're 25 and 23 and we still go back once or twice a year.
"The animals here will generally try to avoid you, but the plants will hurt you every chance they get."

 


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