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Which Zone do you recommend for a newbie?

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Offline photopam

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Which Zone do you recommend for a newbie?
« on: November 15, 2018, 03:59:50 PM »
Which Zone do you recommend?

I'll be headed out there this Saturday, and I'm thinking all the back country sites will be taken.

Since I won't be on a route, I'm a little stuck on figuring out the Zone camping:  Which one to book, trail to go down, or parking lot to park in and find a spot from, etc. 
I'll have my 12 year old with me, so I want to be sure I know what I'm doing. 

We are going to try for the rim one night, so figure's crossed!!

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Offline randell

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Re: Which Zone do you recommend for a newbie?
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2018, 04:27:47 PM »
This kind of depends on what  your overall plans are - where you want to explore in the park. 

I usually look around on Google Earth for zone camping spots that look interesting. 
One of my favorite spots is here in zone NO3: 29.4047, -103.1509
It is relatively close to Panther Junction and scenic - I call it Hoodoo Valley.
Just park on the side of the road and walk half a mile in a straight line, it's easy walking.

Pic of area with our tent near the center:


Chisos framed between hoodoos
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Offline Jalco

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Re: Which Zone do you recommend for a newbie?
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2018, 04:34:22 PM »
It does, indeed, depend on your overall plans. 

One year, at Thanksgiving, my son and I hiked the Elephant Tusk trail to the base of ET.  We spent the night above the Fresno creek drainage.  On the drive back, we stopped at Mariscal Mines and explored that area a bit.

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Offline DesertRatShorty

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Re: Which Zone do you recommend for a newbie?
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2018, 05:30:58 PM »
Which Zone do you recommend?

I'll be headed out there this Saturday, and I'm thinking all the back country sites will be taken.

Since I won't be on a route, I'm a little stuck on figuring out the Zone camping:  Which one to book, trail to go down, or parking lot to park in and find a spot from, etc. 
I'll have my 12 year old with me, so I want to be sure I know what I'm doing. 

We are going to try for the rim one night, so figure's crossed!!

How many nights do you want to be out zone camping? If more than 1, do you want to move your camp or base camp? How far do you want to walk each day? How important is it to be near water to keep your pack weight down?

The Mule Ears area is a pretty safe bet. Lots to explore, water at ME spring, and there's a trail to get you out there and parking is easy. You could just set up a base camp near ME spring and do a day hike to the Mule Ear Peaks.

I like Randell's suggestion too, I was not aware of that area. You would probably hear road noise at night though.
I roamed and rambled, and I foller'ed my footsteps
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Offline tjavery

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Re: Which Zone do you recommend for a newbie?
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2018, 11:07:55 PM »
My family and I are doing exactly that on Saturday. Zone camping for 3 maybe 4 nights. Just looking for some easy-ish stuff.

Randell's suggestion is great. I've never camped there, but I've hiked a few times around those hoodoos. It would be a great place for a short overnight.

I've also done a short overnight on the Mule Ears trail. Great suggestion there too from DRS.

One spot we're thinking about doing is on the Chimneys trail. We're planning to hike west (starting from the east trail head) and go about 1.5 miles. Then wander off trail the required 100 yards and find a good spot to camp (probably right up against Kit Mountain). From that camp, the Chimneys are less than a mile.

I've done some short-distance overnights from the northern end of Old Maverick Road (just 1/2 mile from the road). Makes for a relatively easy "bedroom" in the desert :)

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Offline photopam

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Re: Which Zone do you recommend for a newbie?
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2018, 08:25:32 AM »
Thanks everyone,  we do not have an itinerary yet because it will be determined by what's available.   Saturday night we will most likely have to zone camp,  I like the idea of mule ears as I'd like to visit Castolon and that area.

Sunday or Monday we are hoping for a rim spot, or one close to watch the sunset.  So the other night will need a close zone spot if a backcountry spot is unavailable.   

I was looking at possibly blue creek or ward springs.  Would there be a close spot on either trail?  We're not looking at a major hike in,  except for the rim.

Thanks again everyone! 
Headed out tomorrow.

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Offline RichardM

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Re: Which Zone do you recommend for a newbie?
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2018, 08:33:13 AM »
I was looking at possibly blue creek or ward springs.  Would there be a close spot on either trail?  We're not looking at a major hike in,  except for the rim.
Blue Creek you could hike up a ways and stay at one of the spots typically used by OML hikers. Haven't heard of anyone camping in the Ward Springs area.

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Offline Hang10er

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Re: Which Zone do you recommend for a newbie?
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2018, 10:42:07 AM »
Croton Springs area is a good zone camping area.  It's close to main road and center of park.  You can park at the trailhead and quickly hike out the required distance. 

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Offline photopam

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Re: Which Zone do you recommend for a newbie?
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2018, 11:29:44 AM »
Thanks again everyone.   We ended up zone camping off Mules ears trail the first night.   We got a Backcountry campsite the second night, and a rim spot our third.   It worked out perfectly!!

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Offline mule ears

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Re: Which Zone do you recommend for a newbie?
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2018, 01:28:41 PM »
Thanks again everyone.   We ended up zone camping off Mules ears trail the first night.   We got a Backcountry campsite the second night, and a rim spot our third.   It worked out perfectly!!

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Glad it worked out, the zone camping is one of the secrets of making trips work during busy times.
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