Big Bend Chat

Big Bend or Bust! => Suggested Itineraries => Topic started by: benoit on January 17, 2013, 01:01:13 PM

Title: "three" days trip in BBNP
Post by: benoit on January 17, 2013, 01:01:13 PM
Hi everyone,

So, i'm benoit, coming from france to visit my girlfriend in fortworth. We have planned to move to big bend this week end for three days (yeah we are kind of late!).

I am getting a headache trying to find a proper itinerary for our three days trip. So let's post here and see if some of you got good advices.

We'll move after her job day on friday evening at 6pm and we will have the night break midway on the road, in midland or odessa (does one of know a cheap hotel there ?:).

Next morning, we will leave around 7 and we will arrive at 11 in big bend, getting our cards and then... well this is still not clear.

We have in view the classics :
- south rim hike
- lost mine trail
- windows
- and for the last night, visiting marfa and other little cities

We were thinking to having an overnight on south rim and then go to lost mine trail but.. someone told us that those two spots are a bit similar.
As you can see the program is really vague and undefined but as you can guess we would like to get the best of those three days. (we'll live on tuesday morning)

We are fully equiped and can pass a night far from the car but not more cause i like to walk light and the trip is not enough prepared. We are both good walkers and can walk 15 miles a day or more.
Oh, the car is a corolla so we can't use bad roads!

Any further advices ?
Thx,
benoit
Title: Re: "three" days trip in BBNP
Post by: trtlrock on January 17, 2013, 02:22:52 PM
Assuming this may be your only time in Big Bend Nat'l Park, I would...

1) spend the 1st day (your arrival day) getting your permits, doing the Lost Mine Trail and/or driving the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive to Santa Elena canyon and back. Spend the night in the Basin, either at a campsite, or in a lodge/cabin.

2) Leave early the next morning and do the South Rim hike, with one night camping up in the high Chisos. [1 night, 2 days]

3) If you have time after arriving back in the Basin, drive down towards Boquillas & Rio Grande Village & see the east side of the park.

4) Have fun.

Bear in mind that the amount of daylight hours is limited, the weather is unpredictable (but it will be cold at night), and that you will need to be flexible as to what camp sites are available, as they are all first-come first-served.
Title: Re: "three" days trip in BBNP
Post by: brave6 on January 17, 2013, 09:12:27 PM
If you don't have a room set up for Midland/Odessa now then you likely won't have one Friday.  Most of the oil companies rent out rooms by the week.

You would be better off trying for a room in Big Spring or Monohans.
Title: Re: "three" days trip in BBNP
Post by: badknees on January 17, 2013, 09:48:05 PM
If you don't have a room set up for Midland/Odessa now then you likely won't have one Friday.  Most of the oil companies rent out rooms by the week.

You would be better off trying for a room in Big Spring or Monohans.

I agree. Midland and Odessa would be difficult at best.
Title: Re: "three" days trip in BBNP
Post by: Al on January 17, 2013, 10:07:29 PM
If you can get a room you will be lucky due to the revival of oil and gas exploration in the Permian Basin.  I was reading that the shale play in the Permian will be bigger than North Dakota or the Eagle Ford in south Texas.  Figure $300/night for a room in a Holiday Inn Express in Midland/Odessa if you are lucky enough to find a room.  Go south young man and make a reservation before you leave so you won't be shocked by the price!

Title: Re: "three" days trip in BBNP
Post by: benoit on January 17, 2013, 10:07:35 PM
Thanks a lot for the advices, that's very valuable. I think we will follow the trtlrock proposition. We will precise the details for the choice of the camping, hotel etc tomorrow.
I will keep you in touch.

Thanks again!
Benoît
Title: Re: "three" days trip in BBNP
Post by: Al on January 17, 2013, 10:17:46 PM
You may want to consider camping in Balmorhea State Park the first night.

http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/balmorhea (http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/balmorhea)
Title: Re: "three" days trip in BBNP
Post by: trtlrock on January 18, 2013, 08:41:17 AM
If you have limited time on Saturday I would skip the LMT and do the RMSD to St. Elena Canyon instead.
Title: Re: "three" days trip in BBNP
Post by: RichardM on January 18, 2013, 08:46:48 AM
Looks like the demand for motel rooms has fallen a little bit. Hotels.com is showing rooms available, although nothing under $100 in Midland (http://www.hotels.com/search.do?destination=midland%2C+tx&searchParams.arrivalDate=01%2F18%2F13&searchParams.departureDate=01%2F19%2F13&rooms=1&searchParams.rooms%5B0%5D.numberOfAdults=2&children%5B0%5D=0&asaReport=HomePage%3A%3ANoSuggest&destinationId=&searchParams.landmark=&hotelId=&searchParams.resolvedLocation=CITY%3A1486541%3AEXACT_RED%3AHIGH#vt=LIST&rl=CITY%3A1486541%3AEXACT_RED%3AHIGH&pfm=1&dn=midland,+tx&cd=01/18/13&dd=01/19/13&nr=1&pn=1&so=PRICE&pfcc=USD&r=2&cpr=0). There are only a few motels in Monahans and they seem to be more expensive. The online reviews for some of them are pretty scary. Hotels.com is showing a few rooms available in Big Spring (http://www.hotels.com/search.do?destination=big+spring%2C+tx&searchParams.arrivalDate=01%2F18%2F13&searchParams.departureDate=01%2F19%2F13&rooms=1&searchParams.rooms%5B0%5D.numberOfAdults=2&children%5B0%5D=0&asaReport=HomePage%3A%3ANoSuggest&destinationId=&searchParams.landmark=&hotelId=&searchParams.resolvedLocation=CITY%3A1487400%3AEXACT_RED%3AHIGH).
Title: Re: "three" days trip in BBNP
Post by: Flash on January 18, 2013, 09:21:23 AM
There is a Hampton Inn in Fort Stockton...  :eusa_think:
Title: Re: "three" days trip in BBNP
Post by: RichardM on January 18, 2013, 09:30:42 AM
There is a Hampton Inn in Fort Stockton...  :eusa_think:
Lots of motels in Fort Stockton. I usually bypass them and head to Alpine.
Title: Re: "three" days trip in BBNP
Post by: trtlrock on January 18, 2013, 09:35:35 AM
There is a Hampton Inn in Fort Stockton...  :eusa_think:

yeah -- if you can make it to Ft. Stockton, then you could arrive at PJ much earlier & have more time to play with on Saturday. Maybe even hike the Chimneys Trail while you're on the RMSD. Be sure to return from St. Elena in time for sunset @ Sotol Vista if you can.

heck -- at this point, might just want to consider sleeping in your car. Hot showers available at Big Bend Motor Inn @ Study Butte. You could go there for breakfast Saturday & freshen up after getting your permits @ PJ. Not too far out of your way, and would let you see the NW side of the park as well...
Title: Re: "three" days trip in BBNP
Post by: benoit on January 18, 2013, 09:50:57 AM
thanks for all again,

I have found some hotels at 75 in midland and odessa that still have "rooms".. might make a reservation soon, waiting for my girlfriend opinion.
I feel like we might also go to monahans state park and sleep under the stars  :-\ it's 5 degrees during the night...
But going till fort stockton or further is to far, we are living FW at 5:15 and we might get tired early.
As you guys notice, the planning for saturday depends on the break night location so it will become clearer soon.
Title: Re: "three" days trip in BBNP
Post by: trtlrock on January 18, 2013, 09:51:11 AM
Also, if you come into the park via Rt.385 from Marathon, I would leave the park via Rt.118 to Alpine. Both roads are scenically spectacular, and it would be a shame to come in and leave by the same route.
Title: Re: "three" days trip in BBNP
Post by: catz on January 18, 2013, 11:55:28 AM
The South Rim is a must, but I think I would do it as a (long) day hike.  It will likely be below freezing at night/early morning, not the best backpacking conditions.  If you really want to backpack somewhere where you can easily drive to the trailhead, I recommend hiking beyond Mule Ears Spring (on the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive).  The spring is very reliable and there are two excellent camping sites, one about a half mile past the spring and the other about a mile beyond, or about 4 or 5 miles from the trailhead.  They are both good, although I personally prefer the second one.  Go a mile, mile and a half beyond the spring; just before the trail goes sharply downhill into a deep, wide valley, the campsite is on the right, over a small rise.
Title: Re: "three" days trip in BBNP
Post by: RichardM on January 18, 2013, 01:54:38 PM
The South Rim is a must, but I think I would do it as a (long) day hike.  It will likely be below freezing at night/early morning, not the best backpacking conditions.  If you really want to backpack somewhere where you can easily drive to the trailhead, I recommend hiking beyond Mule Ears Spring (on the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive).  The spring is very reliable and there are two excellent camping sites, one about a half mile past the spring and the other about a mile beyond, or about 4 or 5 miles from the trailhead.  They are both good, although I personally prefer the second one.  Go a mile, mile and a half beyond the spring; just before the trail goes sharply downhill into a deep, wide valley, the campsite is on the right, over a small rise.
For a first time to Big Bend, I would recommend sticking to the major trails like South Rim. Save the backcountry zone camping for the second trip. ;)
Title: Re: "three" days trip in BBNP
Post by: trtlrock on January 18, 2013, 02:12:54 PM
The South Rim is a must, but I think I would do it as a (long) day hike.  It will likely be below freezing at night/early morning, not the best backpacking conditions.  If you really want to backpack somewhere where you can easily drive to the trailhead, I recommend hiking beyond Mule Ears Spring (on the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive).  The spring is very reliable and there are two excellent camping sites, one about a half mile past the spring and the other about a mile beyond, or about 4 or 5 miles from the trailhead.  They are both good, although I personally prefer the second one.  Go a mile, mile and a half beyond the spring; just before the trail goes sharply downhill into a deep, wide valley, the campsite is on the right, over a small rise.
For a first time to Big Bend, I would recommend sticking to the major trails like South Rim. Save the backcountry zone camping for the second trip. ;)

And with limited daylight hours, I think the South Rim wouldn't be as much fun if you rush it. With a little luck, you'll have a great sunset & sunrise at your camp site. Try for NE4 or SW3 camp sites for the best & nearest-to-the-rim views. Nighttime will be below freezing (in all likelihood) whether you're camping high or low...

On Saturday (if you have time), the Chimneys Trail or the hike out to ME Spring & back would be a lot of fun. Not sure I would sacrifice Santa Elena Canyon & the whole of the RMSD + Sotol Vista sunset to accomodate a day-hike, though...
Title: Re: "three" days trip in BBNP
Post by: benoit on January 18, 2013, 03:39:25 PM
we are going to finish the plan on the road  :ecomcity:
for the first night, it will be in the monahans sandhill state park!
thanks for all mate !
I will make a little report to you when we'll back

B.
Title: Re: "three" days trip in BBNP
Post by: FatPacker on January 18, 2013, 04:14:46 PM
this may be too late for you,
but we stayed in Monahans once and the drive in the next day was not bad at all.....     and as to campsites, if it is windy try to get NE4 if not, definitely get SE3 for the best sunrise of your life!

Title: Re: "three" days trip in BBNP
Post by: FatPacker on January 18, 2013, 04:19:40 PM
at sunrise near SE3
Title: Re: "three" days trip in BBNP
Post by: benoit on January 23, 2013, 10:38:11 AM
Hi guys,

Back from Big Bend. That was an extremely amazing trip. Much better than what I was expected!
On the first night we slept in the monahans state park. Quite sad that we didn't have the time to make a walk cause the place is really nice.
On the afternoon south rim hike, camping at the chisos camping.
Day two : Sam Nail Ranch, chimneys trail, Mule ears spring trail, santa elena canyon "trail" and then sleep in cottonwood
Day three : Ernst tinaja, rio grande village trail to hot springs (further than that in fact) and the nature trail from the rio grande village camping.

I feel we have done a good overall view of the park. We stayed in the main camping but they were really uncrowded, peaceful and full of surprises (javelinas!).
I was really impressed by the variety of the sites, and got especially attracted by the rivers areas, which have something primitive that really touched me. Even the desert, after some days, start to become a source of happiness. I can also say that I have discovered what a real night is !

I hope i will have the opportunity to come back to make some longer trail and go further into the area!  :eusa_dance:

Thanks for your advices !  :great:
And see you next time ! :)
Title: Re: "three" days trip in BBNP
Post by: trtlrock on January 23, 2013, 10:43:23 AM
Glad you had a great time! -- Nothing like that in France, eh?
Title: Re: "three" days trip in BBNP
Post by: RichardM on January 23, 2013, 11:03:55 AM
Sounds like a great trip! I hope you took a camera along...
Title: Re: "three" days trip in BBNP
Post by: benoit on January 25, 2013, 09:15:34 AM
nothing like that in france ! :)
but if you go there one day i advice you the crossing of the vosges, le parc du queyras, le parc des ecrins, AND the crossing of the corsica.. (gr20) :)

hum by the way, we are going to austin this week end.. do you know a big day trail (10 miles minimum?)

And yeah I took a lot of pictures... :)
Title: Re: "three" days trip in BBNP
Post by: trtlrock on January 25, 2013, 09:36:25 AM
but if you go there one day i advice you the crossing of the vosges, le parc du queyras, le parc des ecrins, AND the crossing of the corsica.. (gr20) :)

Really glad you had a good time. In '96 I was lucky enough to do the GR5 from Holland to Nice. The Vosges & the Jura were spectacular! Spent maybe 3 hours in the cathedral in Metz staring at the stained glass windows. Nothing like that in the Bend... :icon_lol:

GR20 is definitely on the to-do list.
Title: Re: "three" days trip in BBNP
Post by: chris on January 25, 2013, 09:37:19 AM
Probably the easiest (in terms of accessibility and physical difficulty) hiking in Austin is the Barton Creek Greenbelt.  It cuts right through the southern part of town (i.e. Austin itself), has several access points/lengths you can choose, and there's plentiful information about it on "the Google."  This past Sunday my girlfriend and I hiked its full length, from the Lost Creek neighborhood through towards Barton Springs/Zilker Park and back.  It was just shy of 16 miles and 7 hours (including stops).  No major changes in elevation or tough terrain made it a breeze compared to Big Bend hikes!
Title: Re: "three" days trip in BBNP
Post by: catz on January 25, 2013, 11:46:20 AM


A possible alternative would be to hike the entire loop around Lake Lady Bird (about 12 miles).  The trail is not 100% complete (they're working on filling in the gap).  This is a flat, high quality hike-and-bike trail (except for the three mile gap, where it consists of a not-very-scenic stretch of city sidewalks).

But I think the Barton Creek Greenbelt would be better, even though it is an out-and-back.
Title: Re: "three" days trip in BBNP
Post by: benoit on January 25, 2013, 01:15:59 PM
In '96 I was lucky enough to do the GR5 from Holland to Nice. The Vosges & the Jura were spectacular! Spent maybe 3 hours in the cathedral in Metz staring at the stained glass windows. Nothing like that in the Bend... :icon_lol:

GR20 is definitely on the to-do list.

wow ! you had a big walk ! I have this on my list too :)
For tomorrow we will probably do the greenbelt creek trail !
thanks for the tip

benoit
Title: "three" days trip in BBNP
Post by: kevint on January 25, 2013, 02:18:09 PM
I haven't been there personally but you might google "McKinney Roughs."
Title: Re: "three" days trip in BBNP
Post by: Flash on January 25, 2013, 02:21:40 PM
Bull Creek Park: Look for the wagon wheel ruts in the creek bed...
Title: Re: "three" days trip in BBNP
Post by: badknees on January 25, 2013, 06:58:49 PM
I can also say that I have discovered what a real night is !

 :13: :13: