Big Bend Chat

Big Bend National Park Q&A => Zone Camping => Topic started by: kevinwbell on March 09, 2010, 10:08:52 PM

Title: Zone Camping...w/ young ones
Post by: kevinwbell on March 09, 2010, 10:08:52 PM
I would appreciate any insight on zone camping and highlights of any areas you would choose if you had only one night. 

The Wife and I are going to acclimate our kids to backpack camping, as we have previously not strayed too far from our car in previous camping trips.   We are taking our 5 year old daughter and 7 year old son. 

This is our favorite type of camping, but a first for our kids.  Want to make it as fun as possible and really find a great area.  Love the idea of finding an isolated spot and would love any suggestions or thoughts you might have to share.

Title: Re: Zone Camping...w/ young ones
Post by: jeffblaylock on March 09, 2010, 10:26:34 PM
What are you interested in camping near? How far are you willing to walk?

Good news about zone camping in Big Bend is it's all pretty isolated.
Title: Re: Zone Camping...w/ young ones
Post by: Al on March 09, 2010, 10:46:11 PM
Here's a trip Randell did with his young family.  Looks like great fun and not too strenuous to get there: (

If you search for mountaindocdanny, you will be blown away by his trips.

Title: Re: Zone Camping...w/ young ones
Post by: archangelus2 on March 09, 2010, 11:17:38 PM
Double-Triple-Quadruple check to make sure you know where you put your tent up at, since their are no trails to lead you to it and it can't be seen from the road. Make a point to get back to your tent before dark since you had to hide it in the middle of nowhere. Wear thick shoes/socks and long pants to avoid all the ankle biters.

Sounds like a good way to wean the kids off car camping, have fun!
Title: Re: Zone Camping...w/ young ones
Post by: guc126 on March 09, 2010, 11:35:45 PM
Think about Dog Canyon. The trail is a little over 2 miles to the canyon, level and easily discernable, and the thorny brush and cacti are not as dense as many other locations within the park. The kids will have a blast inside the canyon with the echo sound effects and exploring the many small caves and hollows. It'll probably look like the grand canyon to the 5 year old.
Title: Re: Zone Camping...w/ young ones
Post by: txhiker on March 10, 2010, 01:36:34 AM
Agree on Dog Canyon. You could also do Devils Den maybe or part of the Mule Ears trail.
Title: Re: Zone Camping...w/ young ones
Post by: elhombre on March 10, 2010, 10:53:44 AM
If you have the car, drive out Old Ore road and park at the ranch house beside Roy's peak vista campsite.  Hike down the creek on the back side of the campsite all the way to Tornillo creek.  The creek has great geological features for both the young and old.  The walk down will take 2.5 + hours with few stop, but I bet you stop to play on the rocks.  At the confluence in the SE corner, there are flat places up in the cactus for a tent or two.  Nice place with plenty of shade to be found during the day.  Also water to play in.  Please teach them the correct way and don't poop near the water and walk out all trash (Toilet Paper).

If you don't have the car, hike to mule ears springs.  There are a few nice spots below the springs off the trail approaching the springs.  They are in direct sun.  You could spend the night there, then hike to the overlook above Smokey creek in the morning, come back and be back at the car second day easy.   It's going to be warm if the sun is shining but shade can be found by exploring around the springs.  Once again, please teach them kids to protect the water sources. 

Finally, I would recommend hiking on a trail or in a creek bed.  Cross country trailblazing with a small kid is pretty hard on them because the scrub you and I brush by while walking are actually large obstacles to the small ones.  Trust me , I know.
Title: Re: Zone Camping...w/ young ones
Post by: kevinwbell on March 10, 2010, 01:31:05 PM
Great feedback!  This is extremely helpful.

As far as the questions about how far are we willing to walk...I think we would be comfortable with 1-2 miles, as long as it was not too strenuous of a walk for our 5 year old.  The less incline, the better.  We can take our time and rest along the way, the biggest thing is them enjoying it and making it they want to do it again.

I know there is so much to see in the Park, so a place that provides a bit of elevation for a view would be ideal.  These suggestions seem to be on target.

Thanks again.  This might actually allow me to look like I know what I am doing....