Big Bend Chat

Other Parks of the Big Bend Region => Big Bend Ranch State Park Q&A => Topic started by: Losthiker68 on December 30, 2018, 03:58:21 PM

Title: Is this BBRSP itinerary reasonable?
Post by: Losthiker68 on December 30, 2018, 03:58:21 PM
Could y'all give this itinerary a look before I try and make my reservations? I don't have a 4WD but I have a Honda Element which can hopefully get me places a typical passenger car can't.

Arrive at Barton Warnock late afternoon of Jan 4th (after a day at Seminole Canyon)

Camp at Grassy Banks or Madera Canyon

Jan 5th - Hike the Fresno Divide, spend the night near the mines

Jan 6th - Return via the estern part of the Dome Trail
             - Explore Closed Canyon & Hoodoos
             - Camp at Papalote Llano or Tascate

Jan 7th - Start at Puerta Chilicote trailhead and hike south past Crawford-Smith overlook, through Chorro Vista, and near Fresno Cascades (best guess 10ish miles, 1330' elevation gain)

Jan 8th - Hike east toward Chimney Rock then circle back to Rinon then to the start point (~10 miles, 1700' elevation gain)
              - not sure where to camp

Jan 9th & 10th - various dayhikes: Cinco Tinajas, Encino Loop, Horsetrap Trail, Ojito Adentro - suggestions welcome


Jan 11th - return home
Title: Re: Is this BBRSP itinerary reasonable?
Post by: Ranger Tim on December 31, 2018, 07:11:30 AM
"n 6th - Return via the estern part of the Dome Trail
             - Explore Closed Canyon & Hoodoos
             - Camp at Papalote Llano or Tascate

Jan 7th - Start at Puerta Chilicote trailhead and hike south past Crawford-Smith overlook, through Chorro Vista, and near Fresno Cascades (best guess 10ish miles, 1330' elevation gain)

Jan 8th - Hike east toward Chimney Rock then circle back to Rinon then to the start point (~10 miles, 1700' elevation gain)"

That iternary is ambitious to say the least but is problematic as I would absolutely not suggest accessing Fresno Canyon from Puerta Chilicothe. The lines may meet on the map but what awaits on the ground will simply not be tenable with a heavy pack. You would be better advised getting to Fresno Cascades from the West Contrabando TH via the mines and then up Fresno Canyon trail. This also avoids a lot of the rough driving that will beat the heck out of that Honda Element and keeps you down on the river road.

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Title: Re: Is this BBRSP itinerary reasonable?
Post by: Ranger Tim on December 31, 2018, 07:15:11 AM
Also, are you planning on doing this solo?

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Title: Re: Is this BBRSP itinerary reasonable?
Post by: Losthiker68 on December 31, 2018, 09:49:44 AM
Yes, hiking solo.
Title: Re: Is this BBRSP itinerary reasonable?
Post by: Losthiker68 on December 31, 2018, 10:20:03 AM
"n 6th - Return via the estern part of the Dome Trail
             - Explore Closed Canyon & Hoodoos
             - Camp at Papalote Llano or Tascate

Jan 7th - Start at Puerta Chilicote trailhead and hike south past Crawford-Smith overlook, through Chorro Vista, and near Fresno Cascades (best guess 10ish miles, 1330' elevation gain)

Jan 8th - Hike east toward Chimney Rock then circle back to Rinon then to the start point (~10 miles, 1700' elevation gain)"

That iternary is ambitious to say the least but is problematic as I would absolutely not suggest accessing Fresno Canyon from Puerta Chilicothe. The lines may meet on the map but what awaits on the ground will simply not be tenable with a heavy pack. You would be better advised getting to Fresno Cascades from the West Contrabando TH via the mines and then up Fresno Canyon trail. This also avoids a lot of the rough driving that will beat the heck out of that Honda Element and keeps you down on the river road.

Sent from my SM-G930V using Big Bend Chat mobile app (http://r.tapatalk.com/byo?rid=88143)

The cascades wasn't a specific goal. The park's Fresno West Rim map online seemed like a cool hike with all the overlooks and waterfalls in that area. Would it be reasonable to get to the Chorro Vista area from Contrabando?  Or, I guess the more blunt question to ask, is is worth the effort to get to that area?

Is there an alternate 2-3 day hike you'd recommend? 

I'd considered doing Ranchieras Canyon as a long dayhike or maybe an overnight. I've also read good things about hiking up to Guale  for an overnight.

Thanks for your input.
Title: Re: Is this BBRSP itinerary reasonable?
Post by: Jalco on December 31, 2018, 01:05:57 PM
Since you're already exploring along 170, have you considered the Rancherias Loop as an overnighter?  That gets you up close to Guale.   Possible water sources at Panther Springs and Rancherias Springs.   Rancherias Canyon can be an additional dayhike.
Also, plenty of options for a loop hike using the Contrabando trails.
This keeps you from having to drive in to Sauceda, and the drive back out.  Save those hike for another trip.
Title: Re: Is this BBRSP itinerary reasonable?
Post by: Losthiker68 on December 31, 2018, 02:50:11 PM
Jalco,

I'm a novice hiker so I got the impression the Ranchieras Loop might be beyond my skill level. I agree, saving Sauceda area for another trip would be best.
Title: Re: Is this BBRSP itinerary reasonable?
Post by: Jalco on December 31, 2018, 03:00:31 PM
I'm a novice hiker so I got the impression the Ranchieras Loop might be beyond my skill level. I agree, saving Sauceda area for another trip would be best.

Since I haven't checked off Rancherias Loop from my bucket list, I can't really comment on the degree of difficulty compared to other hikes.  Others who have can shed some light.   There are a couple of trip reports on the forum that you could read to get a better understanding.

I don't consider myself tremendously experienced as a hiker, as I'm kind of late to the game, but in my mind, it's just a matter of putting one foot in front of the other.  I don't hurry, but I don't dawdle, either.  My only concern would be if there is sufficient water, but with the rains this year, I don't think that would be an issue.
Title: Re: Is this BBRSP itinerary reasonable?
Post by: Ranger Tim on January 02, 2019, 08:18:14 AM
Based on recent trip reports, there is abundant water at both Ojo de Leon and Rancherias Springs along the Rancherias Loop. There are also generally enough people moving along that trail that you wouldn't have to wait long if something did go south. While the Rancherias Loop is physically strenuous, the navigation is not particularly difficult,... certainly not as difficult as your proposed course. Given that you are new to hiking I would not advise getting too remote on your first forays into the park. Two to three days up Fresno Canyon would provide you with shorter travel time, abundant water, level sleeping surfaces, and relatively simple navigation. From the West Contrabando one can follow Fresno Canyon to the Cascades while carrying little more than the water you need to travel in about a day. I personally like to use the Cascades (actually just below the cascades as camping near riparian areas is discouraged) and then make day trips up Arroyo Primero, Chimney Rock, or the Government Road,... or just stick around and embrace a slow pace and some serious solitude. There is also an old line shack about a mile south of the cascades in case the weather gets really bad and you need more substantial shelter.
Title: Re: Is this BBRSP itinerary reasonable?
Post by: 01ACRViper on January 02, 2019, 08:45:36 AM
I second Ranger Tim's vote.  If you aren't comfortable with an established loop (even if it's not a highway like the OML), then you probably shouldn't try going cross country out at the ranch.

I've done the FM 170 to Madrid Falls hike, and continued up from there to Fresno Peak/The Solitario.  There is plenty of flat ground for camping and probably plenty of water.  Arroyo Primero is pretty and worth some exploration as well.

It's nice easy creek walking and hard to get lost.

If you're looking for more hikes, try day trips up the numerous canyons that cut northward into the Bofecillos Plateau.  Going west from Fresno Canyon is Madera, Panther, Rancherias, and Tapado Canyons.  Just park and go for a walk, there is interesting stuff everywhere.



Title: Re: Is this BBRSP itinerary reasonable?
Post by: Ranger Tim on January 02, 2019, 10:41:10 AM
Quick update: As of yesterday there is no longer any surface water at the Fresno Cascades. There is, however, surface water up Arroyo Primero at the Banos de Madrid just below the Madrid House and behind the Crawford-Smith House. Please plan accordingly.
Title: Re: Is this BBRSP itinerary reasonable?
Post by: Losthiker68 on January 02, 2019, 01:46:14 PM
Thanks, everyone, for their input.

I'm leaving tomorrow for Seminole Canyon. I'm gonna hike the canyon and do the petroglyph tour. I expect to check in at Barton-Warnock on Saturday afternoon.

I'd like to do a 3-day hike starting at the Contrabando. I'll check with the Rangers for what's my best plan. I like the idea that was suggested of hiking up toward Madrid Falls and using that as a base-camp for a day of dayhikes then back to the car.

I've read the trip reports for the Ranchieras Loop. I know there are a few tough stretches but I think I can handle them since I know about them ahead of time.  I'll spend the night at Panther Springs and Ranchieras Springs.

So my plan is to do 3 days in the Contrabando/Fresno Canyon area, then 3 days on the Ranchieras.

I'll post a trip report and (hopefully) good photos after I get back.
Title: Re: Is this BBRSP itinerary reasonable?
Post by: 01ACRViper on January 02, 2019, 02:07:26 PM
Sounds like a good trip. Be safe and have fun  :notworthy:
Title: Re: Is this BBRSP itinerary reasonable?
Post by: Jalco on January 02, 2019, 03:08:19 PM
Looking forward to reading your trip report!