Big Bend Chat

Big Bend National Park Q&A => Hiking the Desert => Topic started by: SA Bill on October 19, 2007, 09:35:04 PM

Title: Devil's Den Question
Post by: SA Bill on October 19, 2007, 09:35:04 PM
Quick question while I'm thinking about it:

I wanted to try DD this week but couldn't find it.    :willynilly:   By that I mean I got to the junction for Dog Canyon (DC) / Devil's Den (DD) with no problem. I turned right into the wash that leads to DD. I went what I thought was a fairly long way and to me it seemed that the wash was taking me away from where I thought DD should be so I backtracked and went to DC instead. Maybe I just didn't go far enough? Maybe I missed a turn off? What's the secret for next time?
  Thanks!
    Bill
Title: Re: Devil's Den Question
Post by: badknees on October 19, 2007, 09:58:20 PM
What's the secret for next time?
  Thanks!
    Bill

Compass and Map or GPS or better yet, all 3 :eusa_doh:
Title: Re: Devil's Den Question
Post by: SA Bill on October 19, 2007, 10:22:10 PM
Hi badknees!
Wellllll...it should have been easy...just follow the wash to DD! I made it to the wash okay.

I found some info that seems to show that I just didn't go far enough along the right hand wash. What threw me was the fact that the wash was turning back toward the parking area which I knew was the wrong direction. Indeed, the map I found shows just that happening before the trail heads back to DD. I just didn't go far enough. It's much farther to DD from the trail junction than I thought.

I'll take the GPS next time! Might be more straight forward to use the GPS and go cross-country to DD anyway.
  Thanks!
    Bill
Title: Re: Devil's Den Question
Post by: badknees on October 20, 2007, 01:42:21 PM
Hi badknees!
Wellllll...it should have been easy...just follow the wash to DD! I made it to the wash okay.

I found some info that seems to show that I just didn't go far enough along the right hand wash. What threw me was the fact that the wash was turning back toward the parking area which I knew was the wrong direction. Indeed, the map I found shows just that happening before the trail heads back to DD. I just didn't go far enough. It's much farther to DD from the trail junction than I thought.

I'll take the GPS next time! Might be more straight forward to use the GPS and go cross-country to DD anyway.
  Thanks!
    Bill

Bill,

I think we always OVERestimate how far we actually walk.  I always take a print of a 24k topo for places I have never been, and always take my GPS and a compass. Never failed me yet.

(http://www.mirrormagic.com/CasaGrande/dd.jpg)
Title: Re: Devil's Den Question
Post by: Sanjuro82 on October 21, 2007, 12:22:16 AM
This is the hike that we will be doing in December.  It's a trip report that I saved to my computer from another site.  We'll use the report as a guide only.  We plan on doing plenty of exploring of the area on our own.

Quote
Dog Canyon-Devil's Den Circuit

According to park personnel, this circuit is hiked by only one or two parties a year. That's a shame. It's SPECTACULAR!
Begin by driving the rough dirt road to Nine Points Draw campsite, off Hwy 385 several miles south of the park entrance at Persimmon Gap. This road is usually accessible to all vehicles, with careful driving.

From the campsite, note both canyons; Dog Canyon is somewhat hidden but the top is clearly visible to your left. Devil's Den is a jagged dark line snaking down the mountain to your right.

Begin the hike by striking out cross-country toward Dog Canyon. You will eventually hit a wash and can follow it upstream, heading in the direction of Dog Canyon. When you enter the short but beautiful canyon, hike up-canyon and out the other side.

Climb out of the wash to the right, and head south across the open desert hills. Following your progress on the topographic map you procured at park headquarters, aim for the pass above Devil's Den. Sometimes a faint trail exists on the right hand side of the drainage leading to the pass. From the pass, good views out across the Chihuahuan desert are inspiring and an old fence reminds you that this country was once inhabited by ranchers.

Descend the pass into the valley below, filled with giant dagger plants. Once in the wash, head downstream to the entrance of Devil's Den. There is usually a large pool of water here, and it can be swarming with bees and wasps. Both times I've hiked this route, the bees were present, and I was never stung. Just put on long sleeves and wade or climb right through.

The route down Devil's Den is very challenging. It involves climbing over slick rock pour-offs from 3 to 8ft high, sometimes down into icy pools of water up to 5ft deep! Sometimes the potholes are completely dry. Sometimes people have piled rocks or impromptu ladders to assist in the descent. Other times you're on your own. Unless you're a competent scrambler, don't try this route. Continue down canyon to the mouth.

If you get in over your head, backtrack to the entrance and turn right, ascending the ridge to the canyon rim. Follow a faint trail along the canyon rim with spectacular views into the canyon to the mouth.

Once outside the canyon, locate your car, a tiny shining speck out near the Nine Points Draw campsite, to the right of a small hill. Hike cross-country to complete your circuit.

This is a challenging hike that should only be undertaken by expert hikers/scramblers equipped with maps, compass, lots of water, and a rope.
Title: Re: Devil's Den Question
Post by: presidio on October 23, 2007, 09:44:35 AM
Quick question while I'm thinking about it:

I wanted to try DD this week but couldn't find it.    :willynilly:   What's the secret for next time?
    Bill

Just head for the big dark gash in the ground. After all, you can see it from the road.
Title: Re: Devil's Den Question
Post by: westtex on October 23, 2007, 12:45:52 PM
The dark zig zag of devils den is pretty clear looking southeast(I think?) from the trailhead.  I can see how the many dry washes in this area could be confusing if you did not know where you were headed. 

Oops I got turned around.
Title: Re: Devil's Den Question
Post by: jeffblaylock on October 23, 2007, 01:47:22 PM
Quote
The dark zig zag of devils den is pretty clear looking southwest(I think?) from the trailhead

It's east of the trailhead. The zig-zag is pretty obvious, unless you're looking at it at mid-day, when the high sun washes out the contrast. This photo is zoomed in a bit and, unfortunately for Windows users, a little dark, but it shows what pattern to look for in the Deadhorse Mountains.

(http://www.jeffblaylock.com/window/photos/1143.jpg)
Title: Re: Devil's Den Question
Post by: presidio on October 23, 2007, 02:14:01 PM
I can see how the many dry washes in this area could be confusing if you did not know where you were headed. 

Just stay on the 'ridge' tops, such as they are and you'll have no problem getting there. Hike crosscountry for a new and invigorating experience.
Title: Re: Devil's Den Question
Post by: Casa Grande on October 23, 2007, 04:23:08 PM
[This photo is zoomed in a bit and, unfortunately for Windows users, a little dark, but it shows what pattern to look for in the Deadhorse Mountains.

 :eusa_naughty: