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Possible GUMO trip next week

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Offline Ravenpuff

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Possible GUMO trip next week
« on: November 01, 2019, 02:16:35 PM »
Hi all,

My husband and I took some time off next Wednesday through Saturday for some kind of trip but have yet to make real plans.  We thought of going to GUMO- we've never been.  It looks like it should be a good time weather and foliage wise.  I have a couple of concerns, though:

- Usually when we go to Big Bend, we do a few days of car camping at primitive roadside campsites and we drive around the park to get to day hikes.  I like the balance of seclusion and privacy with still being able to have a car full of amenities that the roadside campsites offer.  We have also done some backpacking in Big Bend and otherwise and I love that, but I'm probably not ready for a full Wednesday-Monday of it... yet :)  So anyway, my concern is that this "middle ground" camping I like isn't an option at GUMO, we would either need to stay in a campground with other folks or backpack to campsites in the mountains.
- It seems that you cannot easily drive around the park, right?  i.e., you can't drive from Dog Canyon to Pine Springs, you would have to go alllll the way through Carlsbad then around the park.

After doing some reading on here and with with those things in mind, I'm having trouble coming up with a way to "have it all".  Of course I'd like to hike Guadalupe Peak.  McKittrick Canyon seems like it can't be missed this time of year.  At first I thought we could stay at Dog Canyon and have more seclusion then day hike in these areas, but the logistics of that seem crazy.  So now I'm wondering about these options:
-  should we just camp in Pine Springs and do day hikes from there?  How accessible is McKittrick Canyon from there? There seems to be some Pine Springs campground hate on here-how crowded is the campground relative to the Chisos Basin campground?  I'm not a huge fan of driving hours out of the city only to sleep yards away from another tent but that may be the most convenient thing to do.
- A variation on above- we could do Guadalupe peak as an overnight but spend the rest of the time camping in the Pine Springs campground- are there enough other day hikes to do from this area to keep us busy for a few more days before or after Guadalupe peak?
- Or should we camp at Dog Canyon and do day hikes from there?  I'd hate to miss the park's namesake, but would the solitude here be worth it? It sounds like you can hike to McKittrick Canyon from there. It also sounds like some of the hikes here can be just as nice as Guadalupe peak.

I'm curious to hear yalls expert opinions and recommendations and how you have most enjoyed the park.  Of course, another option is to just go to Big Bend yet again before last minute primitive roadside camping trips there are way less feasible with the new reservation system.  Is it weird that I feel like I *should* go see somewhere new but I deep down, I really want to go back to Big Bend?  There's just something magical about it... I know all of you understand :)

Thanks!

- Allison

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Online Al

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Re: Possible GUMO trip next week
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2019, 03:35:59 PM »
Hi all,

My husband and I took some time off next Wednesday through Saturday for some kind of trip but have yet to make real plans.  We thought of going to GUMO- we've never been.  It looks like it should be a good time weather and foliage wise.  I have a couple of concerns, though:

- Usually when we go to Big Bend, we do a few days of car camping at primitive roadside campsites and we drive around the park to get to day hikes.  I like the balance of seclusion and privacy with still being able to have a car full of amenities that the roadside campsites offer.  We have also done some backpacking in Big Bend and otherwise and I love that, but I'm probably not ready for a full Wednesday-Monday of it... yet :)  So anyway, my concern is that this "middle ground" camping I like isn't an option at GUMO, we would either need to stay in a campground with other folks or backpack to campsites in the mountains.
- It seems that you cannot easily drive around the park, right?  i.e., you can't drive from Dog Canyon to Pine Springs, you would have to go alllll the way through Carlsbad then around the park.

After doing some reading on here and with with those things in mind, I'm having trouble coming up with a way to "have it all".  Of course I'd like to hike Guadalupe Peak.  McKittrick Canyon seems like it can't be missed this time of year.  At first I thought we could stay at Dog Canyon and have more seclusion then day hike in these areas, but the logistics of that seem crazy.  So now I'm wondering about these options:
-  should we just camp in Pine Springs and do day hikes from there?  How accessible is McKittrick Canyon from there? There seems to be some Pine Springs campground hate on here-how crowded is the campground relative to the Chisos Basin campground?  I'm not a huge fan of driving hours out of the city only to sleep yards away from another tent but that may be the most convenient thing to do.
- A variation on above- we could do Guadalupe peak as an overnight but spend the rest of the time camping in the Pine Springs campground- are there enough other day hikes to do from this area to keep us busy for a few more days before or after Guadalupe peak?
- Or should we camp at Dog Canyon and do day hikes from there?  I'd hate to miss the park's namesake, but would the solitude here be worth it? It sounds like you can hike to McKittrick Canyon from there. It also sounds like some of the hikes here can be just as nice as Guadalupe peak.

I'm curious to hear yalls expert opinions and recommendations and how you have most enjoyed the park.  Of course, another option is to just go to Big Bend yet again before last minute primitive roadside camping trips there are way less feasible with the new reservation system.  Is it weird that I feel like I *should* go see somewhere new but I deep down, I really want to go back to Big Bend?  There's just something magical about it... I know all of you understand :)

Thanks!

- Allison

BBNP and GMNP are not comparable as you have noted.  Sounds like you have a good handle on the two "group" campsites.  If it were my first trip, I would live with camping at Pine Springs.  Both Guadalupe Peak and the hike up into the bowl can be done as day hikes and are well worth the effort.  Both are around 2,500 ft. elevation change so they are a good workout even without a full pack but can also be done as overnight hikes. You will have to lug all of your water.  McKittrick Canyon is an easy day hike, should be done in a leisurely manner and would be perfect this time of year.  You can also drive up to White City and and go down into Carlsbad Caverns, which if you haven't done, is a must do in my opinion.  I would save Dog Canyon since it is so remote and you would not have the same opportunities to experience some of the main features in and near the park as one has from Pine Springs.  I would save it for the next trip. Anyway, in my opinion, for a first time visitor, GMNP is best experienced as far as car camping is concerned from Pine Springs.  BBNP is magical and my favorite between the two, but GMNP should at least be on your bucket list.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2019, 02:05:22 AM by Al »

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Offline wrangler88

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Re: Possible GUMO trip next week
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2019, 12:26:01 PM »
If doing those specific hikes are most important to you, then you should definitely stay at Pine Springs. If privacy is most important to you, then Dog Canyon would be the way to go. You're right in that there is no road directly between the two. It is quite a ways around. You dont actually have to go all the way back to Carlsbad to go between the two. Take Dark Canyon road to cut off some time. It would be a lot of driving to stay at Dog Canyon and drive around to the South side of the park each day. Mckittrick Canyon is easily accessed from Pine Springs. The turnoff is less than 15 minutes from the campground. And then its 10 minutes or so to get to the ranger station/trailhead.

Day hikes from Pine Springs could include:
Devils Hall
Smith Spring
Salt Basin Loop
Guadalupe Peak
The Bowl/Hunter Peak
Foothills Trail
Mckittrick Canyon
Wilderness Ridge
You can also drive an hour to the Salt Basin Dunes. These offer a unique look at the Western side of the mountains.

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Offline TexasAggieHiker

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Re: Possible GUMO trip next week
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2019, 07:14:42 AM »
There is a third option on camping. Just north of the lark in New Mexico is BLM land. Itís completely primitive and you can pull you car over and camp where ever you like. But I like staying at Pine Springs.
My suggestions for day hikes would be McKittrick Canyon and Smith Springs for fall colors. And of course Guadalupe Peak.

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Offline Ravenpuff

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Re: Possible GUMO trip next week
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2019, 07:56:46 PM »
Thanks so much for the suggestions! Sounds like itís a great park and it would be hard to go wrong whatever we decide to do.


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