Big Bend Chat

Big Bend Community => Places of Interest Surrounding the Park => Topic started by: SHANEA on June 12, 2007, 01:06:54 PM

Title: Pinto Canyon...
Post by: SHANEA on June 12, 2007, 01:06:54 PM
I recently created a Google Bot alert on Pinto Canyon...  If you've never been there, worth the trip.  I think it's best to go from Presidio to Marfa instead of the reverse...

GREAT LINK HERE... http://www.surgent.net/other/fm170.html

http://preview.tinyurl.com/3cfjlc

Quote
Pinto Canyon is south of Marfa between Marfa and Ruidosa. Drive down paved FM 2810 for 32 miles. Travel past end of pavement about 5 miles and you will drop into Pinto Canyon. The road is no more that a a steep , ruggged Jeep trail thru the canyon. Ride either direction. But you will change over 1000' in elevation over about 2-1/2 miles. Some portions are very steep and rough. The road slopes down from Pinto Canyon to the Rio Grande and you could almost coast the whole way. Its about 20 miles from end of pavement to Ruidosa.

Great Beauty and solitude; a challenging aerobic ride.

You can travel entire distance by any 2WD vehicle but Canyon portion is very rugged. Road is graded gravel between Pinto Canyon and Ruidosa. You will pass by Chiantia Hot Springs. Look for tiny, tiny sign 4 Miles N. of Ruidosa.

One great ride thru Chihuauahaun Desert , canyons, past abandoned ranches, adobe buidlings and a silver mine. There are several stream crossings. Store at Rudidosa on Texas FM 170 may or may not be open. Bring everything you need, especially water.  1. this is very isolated country with little population. Rudsosa pop 15. So be prepared. store in Ruidosa open for sodas, food, but no gas. nearest gas is Presidio or Marfa.

2. for you herbalists : there is a 100% chance you will be stopped by customs(who are looking for drugs!). not just at immigration checkpoints on main Highways but anywhere along any roads at anytime. they DO NOT need probable cause to pull you over.


http://www.joenickp.com/travel/roadtonowhere.html

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The Road to Nowhere

Texas Monthly
BY JOE NICK PATOSKI
October 1997

For a singular West Texas adventure, take a drive through Pinto Canyon to tiny Candelaria.

The line on the map begins at Boca Chica on the Gulf of Mexico and hugs the Rio Grande from its mouth to the Pecos River. Ten times the riverside route changes highway numbers as it passes through Brownsville, Laredo, Eagle Pass, Del Rio, and points west, but only once does it stray far inland from the international boundary—between Langtry and Lajitas, where the Rio Grande is entombed in canyon lands so steep and rugged that not a single settlement occupies Texas soil along this section of river. Beyond Lajitas lie Redford, Presidio, Ruidosa, Candelaria, and . . . nothing. Just empty space on the map. Approximately 750 driving miles from salt water, Candelaria is in the middle of nowhere, the town at the end of the road. The few visitors who make it up this far usually follow FM 170 up the Rio Grande from Big Bend National Park, but I prefer to go cross-country from Marfa through Pinto Canyon. Most maps show the Pinto Canyon road (FM 2810) as petering out in the desert, but trust me, it goes through to Ruidosa, where you join FM 170 for the drive upriver to Candelaria. For those adventurous enough to take it, the rewards are scenic vistas and a sense of isolation that are remarkable, even by West Texas standards.

My favorite drive in Texas begins west of downtown Marfa, by the Texaco station. In less than a minute civilization is a memory as the road is swallowed by the waist-high grasses of the Marfa Highlands. The 7,730-foot Chinati Peak rises from the horizon under a perfect blue sky marred only by a distant thunderhead, and the rolling terrain slowly gains altitude. Telephone lines and barbed-wire fences disappear, and nothing is left but road, land, and sky.

Thirty-two miles from Marfa the pavement ends and the excitement starts. At first the dirt road is almost as wide as the paved portion, but after a couple of miles, it drops precipitously, twisting and turning down hairpin curves from a ridgetop into Pinto Canyon. Scrub oak and mesquite appear in this sheltered basin, where some of the low-water crossings are so jammed with gravel and stones that you have no choice but to slow to a first-gear crawl. I made it through with my Honda Accord's oil pan intact, but I strongly recommend a high-clearance vehicle.


http://www.twtex.com/forums/showthread.php?p=247728

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Rio Grande river road from Candelaria to Esperanza?
Title: Pinto Canyon...
Post by: Hoodoo on June 12, 2007, 06:05:06 PM
Thanks Shane,
I had already read the first two articles.  :) Almost have the wife talked into the Pinto Canyon/Hot Springs trip, but probably not without a stop over at Lake Amistad/Del Rio/Acuna.

Had to do a little work on this one however,
Quote
Quote:
Rio Grande river road from Candelaria to Esperanza?


I knew from Garmin Topo and Google Earth that there is a whole network of roads from Candelaria to El Paso and thought about choosing a route and trying it one day. I even think Google Earth pointed me to an old fort  from the late 1800s out there, don't know if any ruins remain.

I asked some of my business associates from El Paso about the back roads in that area. There only comment was there is considerable border patrol and drug activity. Don't know how credible they were in that regard but I put that trip on the back burner for now until I get more information.

Hoodoo
Title: Yep...
Post by: SHANEA on June 12, 2007, 11:04:03 PM
Quote from: "Hoodoo"
considerable border patrol and


Don't know about the drug runners.  Used to be under Pablo Accosta when he was running the plaza.  Several easy low water crossings.  We went up 30-40 miles from Candaleria along the river.  Two vehicles.  Very narrow road.  You will get scratches on your vehicle.  Very spooky too - dense brush, absolutely no one around, etc.  Getting late decided to turn around and head back to BBRSP.  Certainly didn't want to traverse it at night.  Plan was to go up quite a ways and hopefully cut over to Valentine.  Roads of Texas and topos show a lot of roads in the area - impossible to tell what is public/private.  

On this trip I don't recall seeing any DHS CBP, on a subsequent trip up through Pinto Canyon we saw 3-4 DHS CBP on the ground and at least one fixed wing.

(http://i148.photobucket.com/albums/s10/kz5bw5kz5bw5/70282498305_0_ALB-1.jpg)

This is where state maint ends and the dirt road starts.  You are on your own from here.
(http://i148.photobucket.com/albums/s10/kz5bw5kz5bw5/98570598305_0_ALB.jpg)

Very narrow "sandy" packed sand mostly - road.  Didn't need 4x4 or anything...  Now, if it was raining...
(http://i148.photobucket.com/albums/s10/kz5bw5kz5bw5/52351598305_0_ALB.jpg)

River gaging station and a great place to cross into Ole Mexico.   Many tire tracks going through the river.
(http://i148.photobucket.com/albums/s10/kz5bw5kz5bw5/87107498305_0_ALB.jpg)
(http://i148.photobucket.com/albums/s10/kz5bw5kz5bw5/18195498305_0_ALB.jpg)
(http://i148.photobucket.com/albums/s10/kz5bw5kz5bw5/83182498305_0_ALB.jpg)
(http://i148.photobucket.com/albums/s10/kz5bw5kz5bw5/18107498305_0_ALB.jpg)

Looks like a good place for an ambush...
(http://i148.photobucket.com/albums/s10/kz5bw5kz5bw5/67107498305_0_ALB.jpg)

Spectacular scenery - I call this the West Texas Sphinx (http://i148.photobucket.com/albums/s10/kz5bw5kz5bw5/61451598305_0_ALB.jpg)

(http://i148.photobucket.com/albums/s10/kz5bw5kz5bw5/31295498305_0_ALB.jpg)

There was one spot that had a fantastic overlook, etc.  I think it is county land and you might actually be able to setup a camp there.  Would be a great camping site.
(http://i148.photobucket.com/albums/s10/kz5bw5kz5bw5/20295498305_0_ALB.jpg)
(http://i148.photobucket.com/albums/s10/kz5bw5kz5bw5/32018498305_0_ALB.jpg)

We had a difficult time figuring out where we were and how much further to go.  I'm pretty sure we didn't have a GPS with us.
(http://i148.photobucket.com/albums/s10/kz5bw5kz5bw5/45570598305_0_ALB-1.jpg)
(http://i148.photobucket.com/albums/s10/kz5bw5kz5bw5/80814498305_0_ALB.jpg)

Time to go back to camp...
(http://i148.photobucket.com/albums/s10/kz5bw5kz5bw5/92351598305_0_ALB.jpg)
Title: Pinto Canyon...
Post by: Hoodoo on June 13, 2007, 08:11:12 AM
Very nice!
Here is a link to the hot springs.

http://www.chinatihotsprings.com/Home.html

Hoodoo
Title: Pinto Canyon...
Post by: Roger, Roger on June 13, 2007, 08:15:39 AM
Awesome pics and interesting info.  

There is a road (The Green River Road is the common name) which goes basically due South out of Van Horn all the way to the Rio Grande.  I've been halfway down the road many times, as it's one of the routes to our land in the Eagle Mountains.  But I've always wanted to head all the way down there and make the drive over to Candelaria, and then up to Marfa.  I just don't have anyone in my family that's willing to get in the car with me for 8 hours and do that kind of thing.
Title: Pinto Canyon...
Post by: rgibson on June 13, 2007, 09:40:40 AM
Though roads are shown on maps,  there are locked gates to impede your progress.

Have traveled  the river road from El Paso.

Have traveled the river road from Candeleria.

Eventually, locked gates stopped the journeys from both directions.

There is another hot springs in the locked area.  See "Border Healing Woman", a book.

It is about a lady with the last name of Babb.  There are alot of her family in the Big Bend area.  The Dallas Oil Man, H L Hunt bought the place with the hot springs and would go there alot in the last ten years or so of his life to get rejuvineated.
Title: Pinto Canyon...
Post by: Hoodoo on June 13, 2007, 12:53:41 PM
Roger, Roger,
I have a similiar problem here. My free time is always in competion with other's interests. That's OK but sure hampers my adventures/misadventures.

The green river road. Is that the road that drops down from Chispa to the Rio Grande?

rgibson,
Yep, I have encountered a lock gate or two in my explorations. Have to always be prepared with enough gas/time to retrace your route from whence you came.

Would those be the Indian Hot Springs?

Hoodoo
Title: Pinto Canyon...
Post by: rgibson on June 13, 2007, 01:23:15 PM
Quote from: "Hoodoo"
rgibson,
Yep, I have encountered a lock gate or two in my explorations. Have to always be prepared with enough gas/time to retrace your route from whence you came.

Would those be the Indian Hot Springs?

Yes, it is the official Indian Hot Springs.  However, lots of places are called indian hot springs.  This one was the "Border Healing Woman" who was named Jewel Babb.   And, later owned by H L Hunt.
Title: Pinto Canyon...
Post by: Hoodoo on June 13, 2007, 02:11:46 PM
Thanks rgibson.

Roger,Roger,
Disregard the question about Chispa. I found the Green River Road.

Hoodoo
Title: Re: Pinto Canyon...
Post by: SHANEA on January 13, 2008, 11:28:06 AM
For a singular West Texas adventure, take a drive through Pinto Canyon to tiny Candelaria. (http://www.texasmonthly.com/1997-10-01/feature4.php)

It's the full article...
Title: Re: Pinto Canyon...
Post by: Wisconsin on January 13, 2008, 04:37:27 PM
We have friends that went up Pinto Canyon from Presidio to Marfa and got stopped by Border Patrol, also got a thorough going over by BP.  This was a couple in their 60's.

We have been told by folks who live in the area (Presidio) to stay out of that area  past Candeleria, due to drug trafficing, that it is a bad place to travel.

Have not been to Pinto Canyon, so my info is second hand, but I guess I would be careful traveling past Candeleria.

Safe travels,
Title: Re: Pinto Canyon...
Post by: SHANEA on January 13, 2008, 07:20:07 PM
We have friends that went up Pinto Canyon from Presidio to Marfa and got stopped by Border Patrol, also got a thorough going over by BP.  This was a couple in their 60's.

We have been told by folks who live in the area (Presidio) to stay out of that area  past Candeleria, due to drug trafficing, that it is a bad place to travel.

Have not been to Pinto Canyon, so my info is second hand, but I guess I would be careful traveling past Candeleria.

Safe travels,

Shoot, your probably very safe up there with the amount of white vehicles driving around that have green stripes on them along with airplanes in the sky.  Story is recounted somewhere on the board, but we went up that way several years ago and FRED got tailed by the border patrol for a long time.  We must have seen 3 or 4 vehicles, at least one airplane, etc. 

It is a very nice drive up through Pinto Canyon and I would highly recommend it.  I've been wanting to go from Marfa to Candeleria (instead of Candeleria to Marfa).  I've also wanted to take the river road all the way up to I-10 in the Van Horn area.   :icon_eek:
Title: Re: Pinto Canyon...
Post by: cjacob on January 13, 2008, 08:29:45 PM
We have friends that went up Pinto Canyon from Presidio to Marfa and got stopped by Border Patrol, also got a thorough going over by BP.  This was a couple in their 60's.

We have been told by folks who live in the area (Presidio) to stay out of that area  past Candeleria, due to drug trafficing, that it is a bad place to travel.

Have not been to Pinto Canyon, so my info is second hand, but I guess I would be careful traveling past Candeleria.

Safe travels,

Count on me for that road trip.

Shoot, your probably very safe up there with the amount of white vehicles driving around that have green stripes on them along with airplanes in the sky.  Story is recounted somewhere on the board, but we went up that way several years ago and FRED got tailed by the border patrol for a long time.  We must have seen 3 or 4 vehicles, at least one airplane, etc. 

It is a very nice drive up through Pinto Canyon and I would highly recommend it.  I've been wanting to go from Marfa to Candeleria (instead of Candeleria to Marfa).  I've also wanted to take the river road all the way up to I-10 in the Van Horn area.   :icon_eek:
Title: Re: Pinto Canyon...
Post by: aggiehiker on February 21, 2008, 03:15:21 PM
In '68 when I was in 6th grade we lived in Presidio. My dad ran the construction for the weir dam upriver and also the one on River Road below Presidio. We used to drive many of the back roads around Candelaria looking for old cementaries. Would love to do that again and am glad to see others exploring this area.
Title: Re: Pinto Canyon...
Post by: deeperrin on May 16, 2009, 12:43:00 PM
I know this post is getting to be an old one, but I thought I would breath some new air into it with a few photos from the Pinto Canyon Road.  We drove this road from Marfa to the http://www.chinatihotsprings.com/ (http://www.chinatihotsprings.com/) Chinati Hot Springs and then back to FM-170 at Ruidosa, Texas.  I was wondering if anyone had driven then road from FM-170 through to the Chispa Road?  I have some land off of Chispa Road and wanted to make the Pinto Canyon / Chispa Road drive.  I know some skilled dualsport drivers have done it, but I was wondering if any 4x4 enthusiast have made the entire haul?

(http://www.bigboxpro.com/images/Pinto_Canyon_Road%201.jpg)
Start of the 10 miles of road in the Pinto Canyon Ranch

(http://www.bigboxpro.com/images/Pinto_Canyon_Truck.jpg)
An old truck along the way

(http://www.bigboxpro.com/images/ruidosa%20texas.jpg)
This is right before you make it into Ruidosa, Texas


Enjoy,
Derrick Perrin
deeperrin@bigboxpro.com

Title: Re: Pinto Canyon...
Post by: RichardM on May 16, 2009, 11:21:22 PM
I know this post is getting to be an old one, but I thought I would breath some new air into it with a few photos from the Pinto Canyon Road. We drove this road from Marfa to the http://www.chinatihotsprings.com/ (http://www.chinatihotsprings.com/) Chinati Hot Springs and then back to FM-170 at Ruidosa, Texas.  I was wondering if anyone had driven then road from FM-170 through to the Chispa Road?  I have some land off of Chispa Road and wanted to make the Pinto Canyon / Chispa Road drive.  I know some skilled dualsport drivers have done it, but I was wondering if any 4x4 enthusiast have made the entire haul?

http://www.panoramio.com/photos/original/22166326.jpg (http://www.panoramio.com/photos/original/22166326.jpg)
Start of the 10 miles of road in the Pinto Canyon Ranch

http://www.panoramio.com/photos/original/22166658.jpg (http://www.panoramio.com/photos/original/22166658.jpg)
An old truck along the way

http://www.panoramio.com/photos/original/22170117.jpg (http://www.panoramio.com/photos/original/22170117.jpg)
This is right before you make it into Ruidosa, Texas

Enjoy,
Derrick Perrin
deeperrin@bigboxpro.com
Hmmm, panoramio doesn't seem to want me to see your pics...
Title: Re: Pinto Canyon...
Post by: SHANEA on May 17, 2009, 10:48:21 AM
I drove up Chispa road, what 170 becomes at Ruidosa, probably 15-20 miles -well past the gauging station.  It was slow going due to the overgrowth, but the road was in fine shape 10 years ago or so.  Very boring, but spooky drive - expect a drug lord at every bend - one way most of the way and few places for vehicles to pass.  I believe in the hayday of Pablo Acosta - crossings were used to ferry the cash crops into the states.   I bet now days the DHS/CBP keeps a sharp eye on the road with the influx of agents in the Marfa sector - easy to drive across the river at several points.  No doubt there are road sensors too.  Ran into a hoard of Border Patrol, pre DHS/CBP, going up Pinto Canyon road to Marfa.    BTW - I certainly wouldn't expect any cell service out that way if you get stuck or have a couple of flat tires...   :rolling:

Many good links out there with information if you do a search for Chispa road texas

Some good pics of the area @ http://tinyurl.com/shanea011 (http://tinyurl.com/shanea011) - neat PVC shelter they setup.
Title: Re: Pinto Canyon...
Post by: deeperrin on May 18, 2009, 03:43:25 PM
The link was to my set of photos.  That is my PVC shelter. 
The PVC shelter is off of the Chispa road near Valentine.  That part of the road is manned by the Boarder Patrol from Van Horn, and there are sensors on the road.  There are very few times that we get back to the pavement without a visit from the green and white. 

I am looking to take a 4x4 trip from the Chispa road all the way to FM-170.  I just wish there was a way to know if anything more than a motorcycle could make it?

Thanks
Derrick
Title: Re: Pinto Canyon...
Post by: fartymarty on April 12, 2014, 01:39:54 AM
My brother in law and I rode Pinto Canyon road from Ruidosa to the pavement of F.M.2810 and then turned around and went back to the Chinati Hot Springs for a look see. We then returned to the pavement of Hwy 170. Here is a sort of boring time lapse of it.

http://vimeo.com/88422507 (http://vimeo.com/88422507)
Title: Re: Pinto Canyon...
Post by: Summit on April 12, 2014, 07:21:04 AM
I drove up Chispa road, what 170 becomes at Ruidosa, probably 15-20 miles -well past the gauging station.  It was slow going due to the overgrowth, but the road was in fine shape 10 years ago or so.  Very boring, but spooky drive - expect a drug lord at every bend - one way most of the way and few places for vehicles to pass.  I believe in the hayday of Pablo Acosta - crossings were used to ferry the cash crops into the states.   I bet now days the DHS/CBP keeps a sharp eye on the road with the influx of agents in the Marfa sector - easy to drive across the river at several points.  No doubt there are road sensors too.  Ran into a hoard of Border Patrol, pre DHS/CBP, going up Pinto Canyon road to Marfa.    BTW - I certainly wouldn't expect any cell service out that way if you get stuck or have a couple of flat tires...   :rolling:

Many good links out there with information if you do a search for Chispa road texas

Some good pics of the area @ http://tinyurl.com/shanea011 (http://tinyurl.com/shanea011) - neat PVC shelter they setup.

Nice pics!

Hook 'em Horns (and I liked the pics of longhorns, too). 
Title: Re: Pinto Canyon...
Post by: Hoodoo on April 12, 2014, 11:14:40 AM
My brother in law and I rode Pinto Canyon road from Ruidosa to the pavement of F.M.2810 and then turned around and went back to the Chinati Hot Springs for a look see. We then returned to the pavement of Hwy 170. Here is a sort of boring time lapse of it.

http://vimeo.com/88422507 (http://vimeo.com/88422507)

Nice Marty, did you take a dip in the hot springs?

Next time slow down a little and smell the creosote.  :icon_lol: :icon_wink:

Don