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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A heap of first-timer questions

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Offline Mesorensen

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A heap of first-timer questions
« on: February 25, 2019, 02:40:26 PM »
Howdy,
I'll be bringing the family out to BBRSP in March for 2 nights at Papolotito Colorado campsite: myself, wife, two boys ages 9 & 13.  We're fairly experienced campers, my wife & I used to do lot of backcountry camping √ (10-20 miles per day over mountains, 3-5 days at a time).  The boys camp frequently as part of Scouts (older one is 1st class), and are comfortable hiking 5-6 miles, and have done up to 13 miles in a single day on flat ground.  We were hoping to get a few questions answered ahead of our visit:

1.  How much time to expect to get from Terlingua to the Papalotito Colorado site.  We'll have to drive 170 from east to west, and then head up into the interior.
2.  I understand that if we check in on our way into the Park we don't need to head to the Ranger station then backtrack to get to our site, is that correct?
3.  Any issues expected driving a Honda Ridgeline to the site?  Its a truck, with AWD, but with fairly low clearance (~8").
4.  Typical weather around March, or a good reference point to find historical weather data?  How does historical weather in Presidio compare to the Park interior?  What should we expect for wind at the site?
5.  Hiking trails to consider.  We're thinking about doing Closed Canyon and Hoodoos on our drive in, wondering what a good selection to do in the interior would be, given our company & vehicle.  Particularly anything with great views to hike to (one day we'd love to check out the flatirons, but understand that's not an option this time with our vehicle & age of our crew).

Really appreciate any advice here, and I can't tell you how much we're looking forward to visiting.
Cheers,
Michael

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Offline wotantx

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Re: A heap of first-timer questions
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2019, 03:47:30 PM »
I can't answer most of your questions, but you should figure at least 2-3 hours of drive time if going all the way to Sauceda, plus however long you spend on hikes.

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Offline Mesquito

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Re: A heap of first-timer questions
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2019, 05:00:38 PM »
Id say about an hour to the Bocefillos Road turnoff and another hour to Papalote Colorado. The main park road, which you will join a couple of miles short of the entrance sign, has handy milestone signs showing distance to Sauceda and distance from FM 170.  PC is at about mile 19 from FM 170. 5 or six from Sauceda. I think.

Yes.  Check in at Lajitas and go straight in.  If you have some sort of camp toilet bring it along.  If not you will be obliged to purchase the state park baggie and pickle bucket arrangement.

Your vehicle will be fine.  Remember the ride in is part of the vacation.  If the washboarding slows you well below the posted 25 mph at times so be it.  Enjoy yourselves.

It could be cold but not too cold.   Also it could be hot but not too hot. The wind may or may not blow.

On the way in Ojo Adientro is worth a gander.  Before that, near the Rancho Viejo turnoff you can see a rock corral off in the distance to the left.  I always thought it was badass. You can walk over to it.   Its farther away and bigger than it looks from the road.  About half way from PC to Sauceda is the Cinco Tinajas trailhead.

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Offline Ranger Tim

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Re: A heap of first-timer questions
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2019, 08:33:46 AM »
1. Expect 2-3 hours depending on how many stops you make along the way
2. If you check in at the BWVC there is no need to go to Sauceda unless you need water or wifi
3. Your Honda will be fine on the main park road if you do the posted 25mph speed limit or less
4. Expect warm days and cool night with the possibility of hot afternoons and cold morning. Presidio is a good point of reference for planning
5. Check out the Fresno Rim hike from the Puerte Chilicote Trailhead. Horsetrap and Rancho Viejo Trails will also provide some excellent options for relatively easy hikes.
"The greatest happiness possible to man ... is to become civilized, to know the pageant of the past, to love the beautiful,... and then, retaining animal instincts and appetites, to live in the wilderness"
- J. Frank Dobie

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Offline TexasLC

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Re: A heap of first-timer questions
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2019, 11:57:08 AM »
The drive in between Lajitas and the park entrance is the prettiest drive in Texas.  Be sure to stop and take photos.

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Offline Trout

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Re: A heap of first-timer questions
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2019, 09:29:58 PM »
The drive in between Lajitas and the park entrance is the prettiest drive in Texas.  Be sure to stop and take photos.

as someone that doesn't like heights, I'd have to disagree with that statement - ha ha.  that road along the river scares the crap out of me.  ha ha.  it is definitely scenic though! and lots of places for good photos.

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Offline Freeleo1

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Re: A heap of first-timer questions
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2019, 01:04:57 PM »
We stayed at PC in early December. It's a beautiful site. Be sure to plan for some exploring around the site. There's an old windmill down the hill a ways and someone told us there's a slot canyon north of the site. We ran out of time to check it out, though.  Check with the rangers at Sauceda for road conditions. There are showers there too which is nice if you are going to be there a few days. There's a big cave up past the last Yedra campsite but it may require higher clearance than you have. We made it to Yedra 1 in a Tundra 2 wheel drive, but its pretty rough. I think we have about 10 inches clearance and it was a pretty long hike from there. Take water and snacks and be sure to use maps and compasses on all trails. They seem staightforward, but it gets confusing easily if you get into a wrong drainage. It's good traing for young scouts too. The wind was pretty rough. You can try using your truck and a tarp for a windscreen if it gets too bad. The parking area is not close to the table though. And watch out for sticker bushes. They are fierce. Teach the kids to bang out their shoes in the morning too. Critters like to hole up in them. Have fun. Its a wonderful park.

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Offline Imre

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Re: A heap of first-timer questions
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2019, 01:51:46 PM »
Quote
The drive in between Lajitas and the park entrance is the prettiest drive in Texas.
And if there's anything wrong with the brakes you'll find out about it.
For every complex problem there is a solution that is simple, obvious, and wrong.
- H.L. Mencken

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: A heap of first-timer questions
« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2019, 05:27:16 PM »
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The drive in between Lajitas and the park entrance is the prettiest drive in Texas.
And if there's anything wrong with the brakes you'll find out about it.

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

 


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