Big Bend Chat

Big Bend National Park Q&A => Zone Camping => Topic started by: happyhiker39 on February 07, 2007, 11:10:34 AM

Title: What exactly is zone camping?
Post by: happyhiker39 on February 07, 2007, 11:10:34 AM
I'm guessing it's the same thing as car camping. You drive out to a spot and camp right? I am guessing the roads are tricky out there for zone camping? I'm so new to all this and apologize in advance if I'm asking dumb questions. :)
Title: What exactly is zone camping?
Post by: randell on February 07, 2007, 11:20:10 AM
The backcountry areas of the park are divided into zones.  There are quotas on how many campers can occupy a zone at one time to preserve the fragile areas and ensure privacy.

Here is more info and a map of zones:
http://www.nps.gov/bibe/planyourvisit/bc-zone_camping.htm
Title: Re: What exactly is zone camping?
Post by: Casa Grande on February 07, 2007, 01:17:42 PM
Quote from: "happyhiker39"
I'm guessing it's the same thing as car camping. You drive out to a spot and camp right? I am guessing the roads are tricky out there for zone camping? I'm so new to all this and apologize in advance if I'm asking dumb questions. :)


no, no car camping.  you have to hike/backpack out to the 'zone' you have signed up for at PJ....i believe there are a maximum of 2 parties of 5 per zone?? not sure, the link randell provide will help
Title: What exactly is zone camping?
Post by: Robert on February 07, 2007, 01:25:40 PM
Group size is limited to 15. But this statement is confusing:
Quote
Within the backcountry, the group size limit is 15 people. Larger groups must split up and may not camp in adjacent zones.
Title: What exactly is zone camping?
Post by: Picacho on February 07, 2007, 02:13:54 PM
Last time I was in Big Bend there were people camping IN Homer Wilson's house.  Some people.
Title: What exactly is zone camping?
Post by: McTullis on February 07, 2007, 02:35:06 PM
Sorry..we were afraid of the javelinas. Looked like a safe place to be.

Ya'll haven't lived til you've slept in a condensing pipe at the mariscal mine!
Title: What exactly is zone camping?
Post by: Casa Grande on February 07, 2007, 03:25:24 PM
Quote from: "Picacho"
Last time I was in Big Bend there were people camping IN Homer Wilson's house.  Some people.


 :o

Quote from: "McTullis"
Ya'll haven't lived til you've slept in a condensing pipe at the mariscal mine!


 :o  :shock:  :o
Title: What exactly is zone camping?
Post by: tjavery on February 07, 2007, 03:32:32 PM
Quote from: "McTullis"
Ya'll haven't lived til you've slept in a condensing pipe at the mariscal mine!


I'd be more afraid of mercury poisoning than any critter in the park  :D
Title: What exactly is zone camping?
Post by: 01ACRViper on February 07, 2007, 04:40:04 PM
Quote from: "Robert"
Group size is limited to 15. But this statement is confusing:
Quote
Within the backcountry, the group size limit is 15 people. Larger groups must split up and may not camp in adjacent zones.


the way i figure it is that if you have 16 people, you can't divide up into 2 groups and get 2 permits for the same zone for 8 people. though they might bend on one person, or you could just accidentally miscount :lol:
Title: What exactly is zone camping?
Post by: Robert on February 07, 2007, 05:14:01 PM
Quote from: "01ACRViper"

the way i figure it is that if you have 16 people, you can't divide up into 2 groups and get 2 permits for the same zone for 8 people. though they might bend on one person, or you could just accidentally miscount :lol:


Well I agree that's what they are trying to say but the use of "adjacent zones" is confusing. If anything should be that you can't be in the same zone.
Title: Zone camping etc.
Post by: okiehiker on February 07, 2007, 06:33:54 PM
There are four main types of camping in Big Bend (excluding illegal and RV)

1. Developed campgrounds.  These are Rio Grande Village, Chisos Basin and Cottonwood.  They include 191 individual and 11 group sites.  Most are first come first served but some are available by advance reservation.

2.  Roadside sites.  There are 72 roadside sites scattered throughout the park.  Each will acommodate 2 to 10 people.  These are primitive sites, often accessed only by rough roads.

3.  Designated backcountry campsites.  In the high Chisos backpackers must camp at designated sites in order to prevent overcrowding and resource damage in sensitive areas.  

4. Zone camping.  This also is backpacking camping.  You must camp at least 1/2 mile from AND be out of sight of any road so it is not car camping .  Zones accommodate 10 to 60 people.  Maximum group size for a backpacking party is 15 people.  EVEN IF the zone will take 60.  The NO ADJACENT ZONES rule is made for groups like the Boy Scouts who might come with 25 kids.  They tend then to get 2 permits and camp "on the edge" of adjacent zones... and voila... you have one group that is too large.  This is a no no.  :)

The rules are fairly simple once you understand them.  All permits except a few of the developed campgrounds are first come first served and available not more than 24 hours in advance of use.

I hope this helps.
Title: What exactly is zone camping?
Post by: happyhiker39 on February 08, 2007, 01:43:08 AM
Thanks everyone! You have been a tremendous help :D.  I liked getting all the descriptions of the different type of camping in the park.
Title: Re: What exactly is zone camping?
Post by: xseption on December 07, 2007, 03:16:28 PM

2.  Roadside sites.  There are 72 roadside sites scattered throughout the park.  Each will acommodate 2 to 10 people.  These are primitive sites, often accessed only by rough roads.


Can you give me an example of a roadside site? Would that be like Pine Canyon?

thanks!

~ edd
Title: Re: What exactly is zone camping?
Post by: jeffblaylock on December 07, 2007, 03:21:10 PM

2.  Roadside sites.  There are 72 roadside sites scattered throughout the park.  Each will acommodate 2 to 10 people.  These are primitive sites, often accessed only by rough roads.


Can you give me an example of a roadside site? Would that be like Pine Canyon?

thanks!

~ edd

https://cms.imr.nps.gov/bibe/planyourvisit/roadsidecamps.htm (https://cms.imr.nps.gov/bibe/planyourvisit/roadsidecamps.htm)
Title: Re: What exactly is zone camping?
Post by: xseption on December 07, 2007, 03:24:13 PM

https://cms.imr.nps.gov/bibe/planyourvisit/roadsidecamps.htm (https://cms.imr.nps.gov/bibe/planyourvisit/roadsidecamps.htm)


Thanks Jeff!
Title: Re: What exactly is zone camping?
Post by: RichardM on December 07, 2007, 03:27:34 PM
https://cms.imr.nps.gov/bibe/planyourvisit/roadsidecamps.htm (https://cms.imr.nps.gov/bibe/planyourvisit/roadsidecamps.htm)
And if the secure link doesn't work, try the more generic http://www.nps.gov/bibe/planyourvisit/roadsidecamps.htm (http://www.nps.gov/bibe/planyourvisit/roadsidecamps.htm)
Title: Re: What exactly is zone camping?
Post by: xseption on December 07, 2007, 03:35:53 PM

And if the secure link doesn't work, try the more generic http://www.nps.gov/bibe/planyourvisit/roadsidecamps.htm (http://www.nps.gov/bibe/planyourvisit/roadsidecamps.htm)


Jeff's link worked. Thanks!

~ edd
Title: Re: What exactly is zone camping?
Post by: RichardM on December 07, 2007, 03:39:02 PM

And if the secure link doesn't work, try the more generic http://www.nps.gov/bibe/planyourvisit/roadsidecamps.htm (http://www.nps.gov/bibe/planyourvisit/roadsidecamps.htm)
Jeff's link worked. Thanks!
Yeah, but it might not tomorrow.  The NPS sites are all controlled/hosted off a central server, probably in D.C.  Stuff gets shuffled around every now and then.  I've had lots of links work one day and not the next.  And then there's the occasional site reorg thrown in to make things fun.
Title: Re: What exactly is zone camping?
Post by: Al on December 04, 2008, 10:55:52 PM
There have been some GREAT posts on Zone Camping lately, to mention a couple:

http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/your-trip-reports/trip-nov-2126th-t7074.0.html (http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/your-trip-reports/trip-nov-2126th-t7074.0.html)

http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/your-trip-reports/exploring-the-sierra-quemada-and-tornillo-creek-t7081.0.html (http://www.bigbendchat.com/portal/forum/your-trip-reports/exploring-the-sierra-quemada-and-tornillo-creek-t7081.0.html)

The first time I zone camped was in Rocky Mountain National Park. A friend's parents were managing some cabins on the Big Thompson in Estes Park. While in college I was working on a project near Denver and arranged to spend a week with my high school bud up in Estes Park. We had planned to hike in RMNP. (We had hiked together for 10 days while in boy scouts at Philmont.) We packed our stuff and went to the ranger station. Much to our dismay EVERY back country campsite was booked! We were out of luck. BUMMER!

Having nothing better to do at this point, I started reading posts on the bulletin board in the ranger station and saw an explanation of zone camping. I pointed it out to my bud and BOOM we were back in business. We spent 3 days and 2 nights in the back country, camped by a beautiful mountain lake, etc. etc. etc.  It was a great trip. I have leaned toward zone camping ever since.

Zone camping doesn't mean you can't take an established trail, (or not) at least for part of your hike, it just means when you want to camp you can hike off the trail and find a glorious camp site that, in the case of Big Bend, may have never been camped before . . . or perhaps not. It makes one wonder and sucks you in to the vastness and remoteness of where you are. Talk about stress reduction. I know no equivalent.

Al

PS This   thing can be distracting.
Moderator note: after a while you learn to avoid double spaces...

PSS Richard please remember you are dealing with the great unwashed masses some of whom may never learn!