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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First Trip Questions

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Offline TxGypsyGal

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First Trip Questions
« on: January 14, 2019, 08:33:33 PM »
Hi yíall! This will be our 3rd trip to BBNP (7 days), but hoping for a first time trip over to BBRSP mid-week. Itís proved difficult to find good info on driving/hiking conditions. Donít laugh, but I drive a minivan. Itís been fine for BBNP as the toughest road Iíve attempted was Grapevine and it was okay. I stay off anything too crazy. Are there areas of BBRSP we can drive/hike/enjoy in a minivan? Or is it all too rough? Kids are ages 6,8,10...good hikes for that group? Theyíre great little hikers whoíve learned so much on our past 2 trips! Hoping for another fantastic year! Thanks for all your help!

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Offline Ranger Tim

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Re: First Trip Questions
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2019, 08:57:07 PM »
Hi yíall! This will be our 3rd trip to BBNP (7 days), but hoping for a first time trip over to BBRSP mid-week. Itís proved difficult to find good info on driving/hiking conditions. Donít laugh, but I drive a minivan. Itís been fine for BBNP as the toughest road Iíve attempted was Grapevine and it was okay. I stay off anything too crazy. Are there areas of BBRSP we can drive/hike/enjoy in a minivan? Or is it all too rough? Kids are ages 6,8,10...good hikes for that group? Theyíre great little hikers whoíve learned so much on our past 2 trips! Hoping for another fantastic year! Thanks for all your help!
The entire southern part of the part is accessed by a paved state road (FM170) between Lajitas and Presidio. There are numerous stops for your family including the Weat Contrabando Trailhead, Closed Canyon and the Hoodoos. Most of the hikes are under 1.5 miles except for the West Contrabando which accesses over 29 miles of front country trails. Stop into the Barton Warnock Visitor Center for detailed information and a map.

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"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 TxGypsyGal

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Re: First Trip Questions
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2019, 09:44:44 PM »
Thanks, Ranger Tim! I knew I could count on you!! :)

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Offline catz

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Re: First Trip Questions
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2019, 09:55:57 AM »

The main entry road to the park is not paved but it is a high quality dirt/gravel road.  There are several interesting hikes along that road.
Wake me when it's time to go.

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Offline RichardM

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Re: First Trip Questions
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2019, 10:22:43 AM »
The main entry road to the park is not paved but it is a high quality dirt/gravel road.  There are several interesting hikes along that road.
High on my bucket list is the Cinco Tinajas trail. Lots of interesting stuff to see in Leyva Canyon. ;) Unless the road gets too washboarded, you should be able to drive all the way to Sauceda in a minivan.

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Offline BlindWilly

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Re: First Trip Questions
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2019, 03:42:04 PM »
This is from about 4 years ago, but it will give you a good idea of what the dirt road to the Sauceda Ranger Station is like.
I was just there the week between Xmas and NYE and it's pretty darn close.
The movie is at 2X speed, so expect the trip to take an hour, where the film is only 30 minutes.
It also starts right after you get off pavement from HYW 170.


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Offline Mesquito

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Re: First Trip Questions
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2019, 06:39:12 PM »
Advice:  consider the road in as part of the vacation, not part of the drive to get there.  Thereís plenty to look at.  If itís washboardy just take it slower. If it takes 2 hrs instead of one it just means more time to gaze around.  If you think youíre vacation doesnít start until you get to Sauceda your liable to rattle the teeth out of your head.

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Offline Jalco

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Re: First Trip Questions
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2019, 07:40:47 PM »
Advice:  consider the road in as part of the vacation, not part of the drive to get there.  Thereís plenty to look at.  If itís washboardy just take it slower. If it takes 2 hrs instead of one it just means more time to gaze around.  If you think youíre vacation doesnít start until you get to Sauceda your liable to rattle the teeth out of your head.

+1

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Offline Al

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Re: First Trip Questions
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2019, 07:49:53 PM »
And the roads in BBRSP can be considerably harder on tires than the back roads in BBNP because of the relative abundance of sharp hard igneous rocks.  Going slower could save your tires from flats.  A friend of mine got 3 flats the first time he went to BBRSP.

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Offline Ranger Tim

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Re: First Trip Questions
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2019, 10:05:08 AM »
Has anyone mentioned that you should go slow?

In all seriousness, you shouldn't have a problem making it to Sauceda in a minivan. Just make sure that you fill up (Presidio has cheapish gas) and bring everything that you need before you head out. I really like the advice to embrace the road as a destination in and of itself. Stop and enjoy the views at Ojito Adentro, Canon de Los Bandidos, and Tres Papalotes, and consider camping at South Leyva Campground, Papalotito Colorado, or Los Ojitos. The interior is over 4000 feet in elevation, so prepare for some cold nights. We allow campfires, so if you can fit some wood bring it!

Give us a call if you need any help at all!

t
"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 psbroyles

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Re: First Trip Questions
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2019, 03:55:56 PM »
Closed Canyon and the Hoodoos are a must see, especially with the age of your kiddos.  They are both short hikes off the main paved road.   :)

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Offline TxGypsyGal

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Re: First Trip Questions
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2019, 02:53:15 PM »
The Hoodoos trail looks like a great scenic walk. I see a lot of photos with narrow parts of the river in them? Is wading allowed at this river point?  How far is the drive to this area of BBRSP from Terlingua? The google map app is saying 4.5 hours, but just calculating from my print map, that seems very exaggerated.


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Offline Ranger Tim

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Re: First Trip Questions
« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2019, 08:21:08 AM »
"The Hoodoos trail looks like a great scenic walk. I see a lot of photos with narrow parts of the river in them? Is wading allowed at this river point?  How far is the drive to this area of BBRSP from Terlingua? The google map app is saying 4.5 hours, but just calculating from my print map, that seems very exaggerated."

The Hoodoos is a nice little hike along the river and is easily accessed from the paved FM 170. The total hike is about a mile not including meandering along the beach and bedrock. The beach is a great spot for wading though the water is cold this time of year. I'd budget an hour from Terlingua just because you will want to take your time taking in the views along the way.
"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 Losthiker68

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Re: First Trip Questions
« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2019, 09:53:42 PM »
Hi yíall! This will be our 3rd trip to BBNP (7 days), but hoping for a first time trip over to BBRSP mid-week. Itís proved difficult to find good info on driving/hiking conditions. Donít laugh, but I drive a minivan. Itís been fine for BBNP as the toughest road Iíve attempted was Grapevine and it was okay. I stay off anything too crazy. Are there areas of BBRSP we can drive/hike/enjoy in a minivan? Or is it all too rough? Kids are ages 6,8,10...good hikes for that group? Theyíre great little hikers whoíve learned so much on our past 2 trips! Hoping for another fantastic year! Thanks for all your help!

I drive a Honda Element.

What I found when I was there two weeks ago was that any road marked as 2WD will be fine. The only road that was even a little bit iffy was the stretch from the main road to Puerta Chillicothe. 4WD wasn't needed on that stretch but I did get bounced around a bit.

I drove pretty much every road in the park that was marked 2WD.
Take a course in good water and air; and in the eternal youth of Nature you may renew your own. Go quietly, alone; no harm will befall you. - John Muir

 


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