Big Bend Chat
Big Bend National Park Q&A => Zone Camping => Topic started by: kevinwbell on March 09, 2011, 08:06:58 AM
We are planning on being in the park on the morning of Monday, March 14th. Our first plan is to find a spot in the Back Country for camping out of our vehicle, but realize we may not have any spots to choose from.
Any suggestions on Zone Camping spots as a backup plan? It will be myself, my wife, son(8) and daughter(6). We went to Mule Ears last year, but are staying a little longer this year and wanted to have a prioritized list planned for when we arrive.
Any help would be appreciated.
One clear advantage of Mule Ears is the strong spring of that name. There must be another area where a strong spring is near a good parking area, but at the moment my wits desert me. Anyone else?
IMO if you have a wife, 6 year old and 8 year old you should plan to:
- get a backcountry drive-in campsite and bring in all the water you will need.
- get a front country campground campsite (if available), maybe Cottonwood.
- use one of the established off-park private campgrounds (like Stillwells) and drive into the park for dayhikes.
- consider "Plan B" hotel rooms, cabins, and other off-park ideas.
Stillwells campground is off park and last I heard they have a small store, showers, and Hallie Stillwell Museum so might be the best choice, you can easily drive into the Park and can probably call them ahead of time and ask them about it/make reservations, etc.
Remember shower facilities in the Park are very limited, you can't reserve campsites ahead of time, you have no good way of knowing whats available ahead of time, and things will be very crowded, busy, and with long lines = Camp at Stillwells instead. TWWG
For backcountry drive in sites I am partial to Mariscal Mine area and Glen Springs area. Mariscal Mine sites have old buildings, the mine and some wonderful vistas of the Chisos and the Del Carmens. Glen Springs has the spring, the graveyard, corral and easy access to other vista areas.
I prefer Zone camping anyhow and it may be your only available option during Spring Break. Like Geezer mentioned, Mule Ear Spring is a good source for that zone. I have used my vehicle a few times as my water source when zone camping during very dry times. Set camp in a mile or so from where you park and make a “water run” once a day. Good luck.
I wish I had a suggestion for a SPECIFIC spot. We have always been in a backcountry designated site or backpacking. I am sure someone can give you specifics on a good pull out area or mile marker number to hike from to set up camp for your plan B if there are no backcountry sites available.
It's always good to have that backup plan!
Good to hear from you again Cookie ;) :icon_biggrin: