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Cattail Falls Hike

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Offline VivaTerlingua

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Cattail Falls Hike
« on: October 25, 2018, 04:33:43 PM »
Given all the rain in the area I was thinking a visit to Cattail falls would be interesting.  Now that they've closed the road to the trail head, I was wondering if anyone had tried hiking up the creek bed where it crosses Oak Spring road instead of walking all the way up the road to the trail head.

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Offline badknees

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Re: Cattail Falls Hike
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2018, 04:46:51 PM »
Given all the rain in the area I was thinking a visit to Cattail falls would be interesting.  Now that they've closed the road to the trail head, I was wondering if anyone had tried hiking up the creek bed where it crosses Oak Spring road instead of walking all the way up the road to the trail head.

I've hiked around there a few years back. It's hilly and the wash is difficult to climb out of. Hint....the short way is not the easy way in this case....Take the road.
Not all those who wander are lost.
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Offline RockDoc

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Re: Cattail Falls Hike
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2018, 06:57:00 PM »
I have hiked the draw a couple of times. Itís not difficult. Donít know how recent rains would effect it. There are many places where it can be deep but not bad when you get near the falls. As in many draws in B.B. the rocks turn in to boulders as you near the falls. I have seen black bears in the draw as well. Easier to hike to the trail head but a bit of adventure to take the draw.

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Offline Homer Wilson

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Re: Cattail Falls Hike
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2018, 09:33:52 PM »
I've been in that drainage before. It may be a little shorter in distance, but hiking the road is definitely easier and faster.

The falls were going full blast in September and probably still are. Definitely worth a visit

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Offline TheWildWestGuy

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Re: Cattail Falls Hike
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2018, 12:05:37 AM »
It's really too bad that overuse of this area by tourist companies (like Green Tortoise Tours) bringing in busloads of tourists for a "desert waterfall hike" caused too much overuse and the eventual closing of the access road and removal of both the trail and the waterfall from all the maps produced in the last several years.    I was in REI recently and looked at the BBNP Map and neither the trail nor the waterfall were on the map.  Not even the access road.  Perhaps it's a good thing because only those that do their own research and read posts on BBC will know about the trail and waterfall in the future.   That probably weeds out 95% of the people.

My advice - walk the road up to the old trailhead/parking area then keep going past the gate to the "tie-down" tree and take a sharp right to the cattail falls trail past the old Homer Wilson Ranch House (burned down long ago) and hike to the falls and back.  Do Not try hiking directly up the arroyo to the falls, its full of cats claw and other nasty stuff and you will miss the historic homesite and tie-down tree and not be on a real trail.   Shorter does not equal Faster.     TWWG

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Offline tx1c

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Re: Cattail Falls Hike
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2018, 10:47:19 AM »
My son and I did the hike last month.  But as first timers in that part of the park, we took the trail. 
On the maintenance road in, we did encounter some people who wanted to hike the Oak Spring Trail but were not confident that they were in the right place.  I showed my topo map and assured them that they were. 

Quote
and you will miss the historic homesite
I didn't know about it, so we missed it. 

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Offline Imre

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Re: Cattail Falls Hike
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2018, 10:54:08 AM »
Didn't the park service put the water tank on the site of the former ranch house?
For every complex problem there is a solution that is simple, obvious, and wrong.
- H.L. Mencken

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Offline badknees

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Re: Cattail Falls Hike
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2018, 11:20:01 AM »
Didn't the park service put the water tank on the site of the former ranch house?

Don't think so. I've looked at some old photos and it looks like the house was not too far from the lay down tree.
Not all those who wander are lost.
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Offline SpringSteve

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Re: Cattail Falls Hike
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2018, 04:46:13 PM »
Was wondering if anyone has hiked to Cattail Falls from the Basin via the Window and Oak Spring trails.  Looks like its about an 11 mile hike with about 1600 feet of elevation loss and gain.  Me and a friend are heading to BB on Saturday and thinking about doing this hike on Sunday morning...would love to hear some insights from people that have actually done it.

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Online jim2

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Re: Cattail Falls Hike
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2018, 05:54:26 PM »
Are you planning on leaving a car at Sam Nail then driving up to the Basin to begin your hike? If so I say go for it!
Get an early start, the Window is very popular few folks early, spend a little time at The Window. The real view is at the top of the Oak Spring Cut Off, this is where you'll want to spend some time. The view is great on the way down to the Cattail Falls trail, then the  junction of OSC Trail and CT Falls trail is a good shady spot for a break. From there to the falls is easy enough and well worth the effort.
The hike out to Sam Nail would be far easier than returning to the Basin, but if you are up for the return trip to the Basin it'll be worth it
« Last Edit: October 31, 2018, 06:21:45 PM by jim2 »

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Offline Homer Wilson

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Re: Cattail Falls Hike
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2018, 01:04:03 AM »
I've done it twice. First time was a little over a half day hike, but we had to really push the pace. It's a pretty cool hike though. By far the easiest of the three desert to chisos trails.

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Offline SpringSteve

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Re: Cattail Falls Hike
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2018, 04:14:09 PM »
Are you planning on leaving a car at Sam Nail then driving up to the Basin to begin your hike? If so I say go for it!
Get an early start, the Window is very popular few folks early, spend a little time at The Window. The real view is at the top of the Oak Spring Cut Off, this is where you'll want to spend some time. The view is great on the way down to the Cattail Falls trail, then the  junction of OSC Trail and CT Falls trail is a good shady spot for a break. From there to the falls is easy enough and well worth the effort.
The hike out to Sam Nail would be far easier than returning to the Basin, but if you are up for the return trip to the Basin it'll be worth it

We only have 1 vehicle so we can't set up a car shuttle.  After reading your reply I think we might start at Sam Nail and hike to Cattail Falls and then on to the Window.  Then we'll head back to Sam Nail.  It would be a little shorter hike with less elevation gain.

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Offline Demon Deacon

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Re: Cattail Falls Hike
« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2018, 04:23:10 PM »
We did Sam Nail up to the Window and back in January 2017. Did not stop at Cattail that hike. My GPS track says it was 7.53 miles round trip, 1,614 ft ascent, 1,569 descent, and 4:24:58, at a fairly leisurely pace and taking our time at the Window. I trust the accuracy of the distance a little more than the ascent/descent figures, but they're at least fairly accurate probably.

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Cattail Falls Hike
« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2018, 06:04:55 PM »
Are you planning on leaving a car at Sam Nail then driving up to the Basin to begin your hike? If so I say go for it!
Get an early start, the Window is very popular few folks early, spend a little time at The Window. The real view is at the top of the Oak Spring Cut Off, this is where you'll want to spend some time. The view is great on the way down to the Cattail Falls trail, then the  junction of OSC Trail and CT Falls trail is a good shady spot for a break. From there to the falls is easy enough and well worth the effort.
The hike out to Sam Nail would be far easier than returning to the Basin, but if you are up for the return trip to the Basin it'll be worth it

We only have 1 vehicle so we can't set up a car shuttle.  After reading your reply I think we might start at Sam Nail and hike to Cattail Falls and then on to the Window.  Then we'll head back to Sam Nail.  It would be a little shorter hike with less elevation gain.

Yeah, I think that's the right choice. Good luck!!!!! Post pics, if you can.
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline RichardM

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Re: Cattail Falls Hike
« Reply #14 on: November 01, 2018, 07:16:30 PM »
Why not split into two hikes? Do the Window and Oak Springs Cutoff from the Basin. This makes for a great sunset hike if you're comfortable hiking back by moonlight/starlight. Hike Cattail from Sam Nail and back as a warmup.

 


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