Big Bend Chat

Other Parks of the Big Bend Region => Big Bend Ranch State Park Q&A => Topic started by: BlindWilly on December 05, 2018, 11:16:51 AM

Title: 4x4 Trail Conditions in NW side BBRSP?
Post by: BlindWilly on December 05, 2018, 11:16:51 AM
I'm 3 weeks away from visiting and curious as to any conditions I might need to be aware of due to all the rains.
I'd be mainly curious if anyone has info about the NW side of the park in the Cienega mountain area.  Is Alamito Creek running high, if at all?
I think that would be the main impediment to getting into that area from the Casa Piedra trailheads.

My group will be heading into that area on the 29th & 30th after touring the Solitario trails. (I know, ambitious plans!)
Title: Re: 4x4 Trail Conditions in NW side BBRSP?
Post by: Ranger Tim on December 05, 2018, 11:24:46 AM
I wish I could say, but I have not yet been up there this season. I would imagine that the brush is probably very thick and encroaching the road, making what I call the "cowboy carwash", which isn't great for your paint but great for your 4x4 credibility. I would also be prepared to dig out approaches across creeks where necessary. As always, make sure you have a good map, don't travel alone, and bring two spares!
Title: Re: 4x4 Trail Conditions in NW side BBRSP?
Post by: Txlj on December 05, 2018, 12:08:50 PM
Cowboy carwash, I always called it West Texas pinstriping. But nice.

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Title: Re: 4x4 Trail Conditions in NW side BBRSP?
Post by: BlindWilly on December 05, 2018, 12:59:50 PM
I wish I could say, but I have not yet been up there this season. I would imagine that the brush is probably very thick and encroaching the road, making what I call the "cowboy carwash", which isn't great for your paint but great for your 4x4 credibility. I would also be prepared to dig out approaches across creeks where necessary. As always, make sure you have a good map, don't travel alone, and bring two spares!
I've still got the pinstripes from Paseo Al Solitario 2 years ago... I guess I could try to buff them out.  lol.
I do have, and so does at least one of my other team, a shovel to dig, TRED traction boards and various other recovery equipment.
Well, looks like I'll have to do a trip report on conditions up there.  :)
Title: Re: 4x4 Trail Conditions in NW side BBRSP?
Post by: rocketman on December 05, 2018, 05:05:06 PM
Well, looks like I'll have to do a trip report on conditions up there.  :)
Don't go out of your way or anything.  ::)

Looking forward to seeing the evidence!
Title: Re: 4x4 Trail Conditions in NW side BBRSP?
Post by: Txlj on December 05, 2018, 05:49:22 PM
Without photos or video, it never happened.

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Title: Re: 4x4 Trail Conditions in NW side BBRSP?
Post by: Ranger Tim on December 06, 2018, 08:19:06 AM
Trip reports, especially for the remote stuff, is always appreciated!
Title: Re: 4x4 Trail Conditions in NW side BBRSP?
Post by: BlindWilly on December 06, 2018, 02:35:10 PM
Trip reports, especially for the remote stuff, is always appreciated!
Most definitely!   
I'll have photos and videos for sure. Hopefully they will turn out better than my last trips evidence, lol.

In 2016 I was the trail leader, so I didn't get to take the time for a lot of photos. I relied out my travel partners.
I put together a "slide show" video of our adventure:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDA2DI88_9Y&t=

If you go to the channel, there is a video of Paseo al Solitario and the Rancherias loop.
Title: Re: 4x4 Trail Conditions in NW side BBRSP?
Post by: Trout on December 22, 2018, 08:36:08 AM
I'm 3 weeks away from visiting and curious as to any conditions I might need to be aware of due to all the rains.
I'd be mainly curious if anyone has info about the NW side of the park in the Cienega mountain area.  Is Alamito Creek running high, if at all?
I think that would be the main impediment to getting into that area from the Casa Piedra trailheads.

My group will be heading into that area on the 29th & 30th after touring the Solitario trails. (I know, ambitious plans!)

Definitely looking forward to a trip report from that area when you get back!  8)  I'll be heading out that way in April - can't get here soon enough.
Title: Re: 4x4 Trail Conditions in NW side BBRSP?
Post by: Txlj on December 22, 2018, 11:47:37 AM
Ill be in the area the last week of March and the 1st week of April. If ya see a red and blk jeep, wave and say hello. The days cant go fast enough to get there.

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Title: Re: 4x4 Trail Conditions in NW side BBRSP?
Post by: Ranger Tim on December 28, 2018, 12:57:16 PM
Alright, so I finally got up into the panhandle for a few site visits and I got eyes on most of the roads between the East and West Casa Piedra Trailheads and the vicinity of the Cienega Gorge. Overall, and in a very general sense, the roads in the panhandle area are in the worst condition that I have ever seen. Not only are they heavily eroded from the last four years of monsoon rains, but they are also heavily overgrown by brush and ground cover making navigation exceptionally difficult. We accessed the gorge area via a Polaris Ranger UTV (which the public is not permitted to use btw) and still had a very long and difficult day of banging around those roads and dragging the frame at every deep crosscut creek crossing. There are numerous VERY steep creek-ramps getting in and out of Alamito Creek that I simply cannot imagine navigating in my stock work truck or my Tacoma. Anyone navigating the roads in the extreme NW corner of the park will want a high clearance 4WD with a short wheel base, and should bring a pick, shovel, high-lift jack to repair the numerous (dozens) scoured creek crossings that can drop as much as three feet. I'd definitely go as a group too for that matter. The only upshot I can think of is the fact that I got 3 bars on the 4G cellular network out of Presidio, so at least comms are present.

If you go, don't skimp on your planning and make good decisions while you are out there!
Title: Re: 4x4 Trail Conditions in NW side BBRSP?
Post by: BlindWilly on January 04, 2019, 08:13:55 AM
Alright, so I finally got up into the panhandle for a few site visits and I got eyes on most of the roads between the East and West Casa Piedra Trailheads and the vicinity of the Cienega Gorge. Overall, and in a very general sense, the roads in the panhandle area are in the worst condition that I have ever seen. Not only are they heavily eroded from the last four years of monsoon rains, but they are also heavily overgrown by brush and ground cover making navigation exceptionally difficult. We accessed the gorge area via a Polaris Ranger UTV (which the public is not permitted to use btw) and still had a very long and difficult day of banging around those roads and dragging the frame at every deep crosscut creek crossing. There are numerous VERY steep creek-ramps getting in and out of Alamito Creek that I simply cannot imagine navigating in my stock work truck or my Tacoma. Anyone navigating the roads in the extreme NW corner of the park will want a high clearance 4WD with a short wheel base, and should bring a pick, shovel, high-lift jack to repair the numerous (dozens) scoured creek crossings that can drop as much as three feet. I'd definitely go as a group too for that matter. The only upshot I can think of is the fact that I got 3 bars on the 4G cellular network out of Presidio, so at least comms are present.

If you go, don't skimp on your planning and make good decisions while you are out there!
You should have waited for us!  It was your tracks we saw, I'm guessing.
I led the group out there via the West Casa Piedra trailhead up to the T junction and turned west to the gorge.
HOLY COW, Chupadero springs was bad (Or so I thought).  We got to the Gorge loop and went north all the way around.  I got challenged by one of a pair of big bulls up at the top of the trail.
Heading south we dropped into Cienega Creek.  I should have listened when Mr. Dotter warned us about the vegetation, HAHA.
I have new stripes on my rig.  We were able to make it through, but it was rough.
We had lunch were the Cienega gorge loop meets the track back to Chupadero springs, then proceeded east to Papalote de la Sierra, where we found the remnants of an animal in the tank.
At last we made it to Casa Ramon, but couldn't find the the picnic table Mr. Dotter wanted moved.
We then proceeded out via the E. Casa Piedra Trail at sunset.
I've posted 2 hour long video's on my YouTube channel, one of them is the Casa Ramon departure.
The other is the Botella Trail the day we headed into the park.
I'm working on others at the moment, probably get a lot finished this weekend.
Ranger Tim, thank you so much on your insight and experience and advice here on this forum!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0SeV075qtM
Title: Re: 4x4 Trail Conditions in NW side BBRSP?
Post by: BlindWilly on January 04, 2019, 09:11:10 AM
A few more notes.
I have Verizon, and there is a tower north of the Cienega Area that seemed to cover the NW section of the park.
(I did a Facebook Live video, hope you can see it)
https://youtu.be/19XNrSvSlt4

Also, you said something about barely being able to see the trail, you weren't kidding!  A few times I had to back up and scan the grass, ground or dirt to look for evidence of the trail.  The good thing is I had created GPS tracks and imported them into the GAIA app on my tablet.  We didn't create any new trails or damage any land.

The trails were eroded and overgrown. We had two Toyota FJ Cruisers and one Toyota 80 series Land Cruiser.  We all handled the terrain with no problems.  The only 2 places I saw danger was a downed branch on the Cienega creek on the south side after all the overgrowth.  We did drive up on the bank then immediately back down to go around it.  The bank was soft and we almost had a roll over. Experience and a good spotter took over in that situation.
The 2nd location was leaving Casa Ramon on the south side of the train tracks. There is a steep bank to drive up (Or down if you are arriving from the south) and if it's a wet day, it would be a sloppy mess. That whole area was silty loose soil and I would fear vehicles could get mired in it.
Title: Re: 4x4 Trail Conditions in NW side BBRSP?
Post by: Trout on January 05, 2019, 01:13:11 PM
that's awesome!  thanks for the update!  I'm looking forward to the trip out there in May.  That GAIA app is pretty cool - been using it on my iPad.  Did you record the GPS tracks you have on there of that area?  or did you make them using imagery?

A few more notes.
I have Verizon, and there is a tower north of the Cienega Area that seemed to cover the NW section of the park.
(I did a Facebook Live video, hope you can see it)
https://youtu.be/19XNrSvSlt4

Also, you said something about barely being able to see the trail, you weren't kidding!  A few times I had to back up and scan the grass, ground or dirt to look for evidence of the trail.  The good thing is I had created GPS tracks and imported them into the GAIA app on my tablet.  We didn't create any new trails or damage any land.

The trails were eroded and overgrown. We had two Toyota FJ Cruisers and one Toyota 80 series Land Cruiser.  We all handled the terrain with no problems.  The only 2 places I saw danger was a downed branch on the Cienega creek on the south side after all the overgrowth.  We did drive up on the bank then immediately back down to go around it.  The bank was soft and we almost had a roll over. Experience and a good spotter took over in that situation.
The 2nd location was leaving Casa Ramon on the south side of the train tracks. There is a steep bank to drive up (Or down if you are arriving from the south) and if it's a wet day, it would be a sloppy mess. That whole area was silty loose soil and I would fear vehicles could get mired in it.
Title: Re: 4x4 Trail Conditions in NW side BBRSP?
Post by: BlindWilly on January 07, 2019, 10:56:57 AM
Hey there,
Yeah the GAIA App is really cool, I've been learning it little by little.  You can create tracks in Google Earth then import into GAIA.
One thing I learned is to download the USGS Topo maps, not just the GAIA maps to your device.  Between my buddy and I we got through the trails ok. 
I need to convert the files to .kml   BBC won't let me upload the .gpx files.
Title: Re: 4x4 Trail Conditions in NW side BBRSP?
Post by: elhombre on January 07, 2019, 06:35:54 PM
Thanks for the gps files.  I have a friend at work who is getting into wheeling, and your trails look like a great place to put some nice pin stripping on the fancy new jeep he is getting.   And you obviously know your stuff when you decided to bring a FZJ 80 along, just in case......... ;)
Title: Re: 4x4 Trail Conditions in NW side BBRSP?
Post by: BlindWilly on January 08, 2019, 10:22:07 AM
Your welcome for those. 
Yeah that FJ 80 is a great rig!  He's been getting it ready for this trip since about last May when I invited him to go.
New bumpers, sleeping area in the rear, tires/wheels and suspension.

I'm working on a trip report with photos and vids. My buddy just shared over 7 hours of video from the Cienega Mountain area.
I'm lame and only took about 3 hours from the whole trip.

Title: Re: 4x4 Trail Conditions in NW side BBRSP?
Post by: RichardM on January 08, 2019, 05:38:44 PM
BBC won't let me upload the .gpx files.
It should next time. :ranger:
Title: Re: 4x4 Trail Conditions in NW side BBRSP?
Post by: Trout on January 08, 2019, 08:17:45 PM
BBC won't let me upload the .gpx files.
It should next time. :ranger:

well let's see it then, ha ha!
Title: Re: 4x4 Trail Conditions in NW side BBRSP?
Post by: BlindWilly on January 09, 2019, 07:42:58 AM
BBC won't let me upload the .gpx files.
It should next time. :ranger:

well let's see it then, ha ha!

Testing 1 2 3
Title: Re: 4x4 Trail Conditions in NW side BBRSP?
Post by: Trout on January 14, 2019, 08:59:43 PM
BBC won't let me upload the .gpx files.
It should next time. :ranger:

well let's see it then, ha ha!

Testing 1 2 3

worked like a charm!  thanks for uploading!
Title: Re: 4x4 Trail Conditions in NW side BBRSP?
Post by: Trout on April 21, 2019, 07:31:28 PM
anyone been out there lately?  I'm about to head out in 2 weeks and wondering what things look like.
Title: Re: 4x4 Trail Conditions in NW side BBRSP?
Post by: BlindWilly on April 25, 2019, 01:21:00 PM
I know they've had some bad storms pass through recently.  I can imagine it's pretty much the same as from when I went.
It will be overgrown, bumpy as hell and tons of fun!
Just go prepared. 
Title: Re: 4x4 Trail Conditions in NW side BBRSP?
Post by: Trout on April 27, 2019, 01:41:57 PM
I know they've had some bad storms pass through recently.  I can imagine it's pretty much the same as from when I went.
It will be overgrown, bumpy as hell and tons of fun!
Just go prepared.

yep - I saw that there is a 40% chance of thunderstorms the day I am heading out there.  Hopefully, it'll blow through and we'll have nice weather.  Last year we had 2 days of 100 degrees and 2 days of highs of 55-60 degrees within the same week.  so I'm hoping for more on the warmer side and looks like forecast is just that, so far.
Title: Re: 4x4 Trail Conditions in NW side BBRSP?
Post by: BlindWilly on April 29, 2019, 02:49:22 PM
Are you still planning the NW side?
If it's wet, I'd double think it.
Title: Re: 4x4 Trail Conditions in NW side BBRSP?
Post by: Trout on April 29, 2019, 07:40:47 PM
Are you still planning the NW side?
If it's wet, I'd double think it.

yep.  still planning on heading out to the NW side.  I only see 1 day of possible showers in the next week or so until we go.  we'll see how it looks later this week though.
Title: Re: 4x4 Trail Conditions in NW side BBRSP?
Post by: BlindWilly on April 30, 2019, 08:24:12 AM
I'd love to see photos and/or video's if you get the chance.
Title: Re: 4x4 Trail Conditions in NW side BBRSP?
Post by: Trout on April 30, 2019, 12:30:52 PM
I'd love to see photos and/or video's if you get the chance.

will do.  I'm still trying to figure out what I want to take with me to take pictures, but I'm sure I'll take some along the way. 
Title: Re: 4x4 Trail Conditions in NW side BBRSP?
Post by: BlindWilly on May 01, 2019, 08:04:53 AM
I'd love to see photos and/or video's if you get the chance.

will do.  I'm still trying to figure out what I want to take with me to take pictures, but I'm sure I'll take some along the way.
So I rushed through production yesterday, but my friend Dennis mounted a go-pro to the bumper of the 80 Series .
There are 3 videos of the whole NW section of the park, to give you an idea of the trails.
Here is the West Casa Piedra Trail entrance. Click my Channel and you'll see parts 2 and 3. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1Hba6rQIMM&t