Friends of Big Bend National Park
Big Bend Conservancy

Over-estimating your experience or under-estimating the terrain in a place like Big Bend can result in serious injury or death. Use the information and advice found here wisely. Climb/Hike/Camp/Drive at your own risk.

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1st time Visitors from NL

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Offline Maurits

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1st time Visitors from NL
« on: September 23, 2013, 04:28:27 PM »
Hi all!

We are 2 Dutch guys and we'll be visiting BB for 2 full days in October (14, 15). We're really looking forward to visit BB, it's actually one (among others of course!) of the main reasons for visiting Texas! Unfortunately it was not possible to stay in the park anymore.

We're reasonably fit&experienced hikers and planning an itinerary but could do with some good advice!

Or plan so far:
Day 1: hiking the South Rim Trail  and/or the Emory Peak Trail.
Day 2: the RMS-drive (with stops)

Since it's a very busy time of year to visit BB when we are there, were doubting about 'doing' the RMS-drive. We're looking for solitude and want to enjoy the beauty of BB as much as possible. Would the River Road be a good option?

So if you have any ideas that could help us to make the most out of our stay in BB, just shoot!

Thanks!

 


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Offline trtlrock

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Re: 1st time Visitors from NL
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2013, 04:54:40 PM »
River Road will take all day, and I wouldn't endanger my vacation by taking a rental car on River Rd, with a relatively high possibility of a flat tire, etc.

RMSD is a great idea. Combine that (you should have time) with a drive down to Rio Grande Village & back and you should have a great time. I would do RGV in the morning, then RMSD to St Elena, then back the same way, trying to time it to end up at Sotol Vista Overlook for sunset.
John & Tess

"...and I'll face each day with a smile, for the time that I've been given's such a little while..." - Arthur Lee

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Offline The Scorpion

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Re: 1st time Visitors from NL
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2013, 05:04:50 PM »
Welcome, although the park is "busy" in October, the amount of people you will see is still very small, and you wont encounter many crowds. The south Rim is a nice hike, its about 14 miles long. You could go up Emory peak as well while you are doing the south rim trail, but it will add time. This will consume 1 full day.

Please take plenty of water, even October can see temps up in the 90's. So many people underestimate the climate and their need for water. You should always have no less than 3 liters with you on any of the trails. Even experienced hikers in good shape have found themselves in trouble in the park.

Depending on the type of vehicle you have will determine if you can do the river road. There are a few areas where you might need 4 wheel drive, a high clearance vehicle is pretty much needed. Best to check the road conditions several days before you plan to do the river road, any amount of rain can make the road pretty tricky. The river road from the east side to the west side will pretty much take all day as well.

James

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Offline badknees

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Re: 1st time Visitors from NL
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2013, 05:49:12 PM »
Hi all!

Since it's a very busy time of year to visit BB when we are there


I don't think you will have anything that resembles a crowd in mid October. Should be very quiet.
Not all those who wander are lost.
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Offline steelfrog

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Re: 1st time Visitors from NL
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2013, 06:37:22 PM »
Should be great that time of year!

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Offline jim2

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Re: 1st time Visitors from NL
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2013, 06:43:11 PM »
i go to the park most octobers for a week. traffic will not be a problem. the r.m. scenic drive is a great way to spend a day in the park. some good hikes are tuff canyon, upper burro mesa, santa elena canyon. stop at as sotol vista, and homer wilson overlook. please post a trip report.

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Offline Quatro

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Re: 1st time Visitors from NL
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2013, 09:05:52 PM »
Unfortunately it was not possible to stay in the park anymore.

The Chisos Mountain Lodge in the park is the most convenient place to stay.  And it does look like there are no rooms available for your trip dates right now.  Sometimes people cancel their reservations so keep checking back with the hotel.

If nothing is available, I would stay in Terlingua/ Study Butte (2 towns right beside each other).  Some people like to stay here:

http://bigbendfarflung.com/lodging/

I haven't stayed in Terlingua.  Maybe someone else can provide another lodging suggestion.

I like your plan of the South Rim on Day 1 and desert hikes off Ross Maxwell highway for day 2.  I would do the South Rim and add Emory Peak only if there is time.  As others have advised, take more water than you think you will need.
When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro - HST

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Offline Geezer

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Re: 1st time Visitors from NL
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2013, 10:57:56 PM »
As you are young and fit, doing the Rim and Emory peak in one day should be easy. E. Peak provides a different view of the park. Just get an early start and allow enough time to really take in the views. And take a couple of good headlamps. I once made it down from Emory Peak by starlight -- but not recommended. Also, take sunscreen, hat and longsleeve shirt. Four liters of water each would not be too much for such a strenuous day. Afterward you could recuperate in the hot spring. Search "hot Spring" on the BB web site.

RMSD is a good idea for day two. You can't get stuck on it.

I would not expect crowds in October.

Have fun and send us a trip report!

Geezer




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Offline elhombre

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Re: 1st time Visitors from NL
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2013, 07:58:49 AM »
The rim hike is the one must do hike.  Don't miss it.  Second day should include a trip to cattail falls as a minimum.  Less than two hours round trip walking with time added on siting around the falls.  Then make your way down to Santa Elena canyon and walk the trial all the way up into the canyon.  This will keep you out of the car longer and on the trails more.    :great:
For 2 years the Fake News Media, Obama's FBI, CIA & DOJ, and Swamp dwelling Politicians COLLUDED, Illegally Spied,and LIED to America about POTUS in order to overturn an election

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Offline Maurits

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Re: 1st time Visitors from NL
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2013, 02:02:12 PM »
Thank you for all your advices! They are really helpful.

About the River Rd: we would't want to risk a flat tire. We're renting a 4WD, but that's no guarantee of not getting one. But for some reason the RR sounds&looks very appealing.

The RMSD is a very popular one, for good reasons of course. And, correct me if I'm wrong, I thought that SE Canyon is also a popular spot to start a river tour for many people. That's why I had my doubts concerning the drive.

We would love to experience a sunset, but since we're not staying in the park we're wondering if it's safe to do the drive back in the dark (Terlingua).

Since I just don't have the time to read through everything that is already written, I apologize before I'll ask my next question:
What is your favourite hike and drive in BB and why?



 

 

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Offline trtlrock

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Re: 1st time Visitors from NL
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2013, 02:15:24 PM »
RR sounds&looks very appealing.

It is. But since you're only here for 2 days, why risk a flat on RR? Furthermore, as scenic as RR is, I think the sights to see (and hike) from RMSD are better, especially for someone with little time to spend in BiBe.

I thought that SE Canyon is also a popular spot to start a river tour for many people. That's why I had my doubts concerning the drive.

Sure, there will probably be people at SE Canyon. But it's a must-do. It won't be crowded by any means.

if it's safe to do the drive back in the dark (Terlingua).

Piece of cake -- that's what headlights are for.  ;)


What is your favourite hike and drive in BB and why?

Yes, if you've only got time for 1 hike, then (weather permitting) the South Rim is a must-do. Shorter, wonderful hikes off the RMSD are Tuff Canyon, Homer Wilson ranch and up Blue Creek a bit towards Red Rocks, or Lower Burro Mesa Pouroff. Chimneys Trail or Cattail Falls off RMSD if you have time. Indian Head from Study Butte.

Best (easy-on-pavement) drives would be RMSD, Basin Road, other side of park down to RGV...
« Last Edit: September 24, 2013, 02:30:42 PM by trtlrock »
John & Tess

"...and I'll face each day with a smile, for the time that I've been given's such a little while..." - Arthur Lee

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Offline RichardM

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Re: 1st time Visitors from NL
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2013, 02:56:21 PM »
To give you an idea of what "crowded" in Big Bend means, the last time I did the South Rim hike it was what was considered crowded. That means we saw almost 20 people during the whole day on the trail. Now then, crowds in the Basin can be a problem with finding a room or campsite or getting a table at the lodge dining room, but once out on the trails, people spread out fairly well.

I thought that SE Canyon is also a popular spot to start a river tour for many people. That's why I had my doubts concerning the drive.

Sure, there will probably be people at SE Canyon. But it's a must-do. It won't be crowded by any means.
I would be surprised if more than one tour started there per day. Not an issue.

if it's safe to do the drive back in the dark (Terlingua).

Piece of cake -- that's what headlights are for.  ;)
Just stay under the speed limit and there should be no problems. Keep an eye out for wildlife.


What is your favourite hike and drive in BB and why?
South Rim hike, for the views. Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive for the geology and many hikes available.

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Offline The Scorpion

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Re: 1st time Visitors from NL
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2013, 05:34:35 PM »
Don't forget to have your passport with you, there are immigration check points north of the park that you will have to go through.

If you are worried about security along the border and being out at night, the Big Bend area is in fact very safe. Many people in the Study Butte / Terlingua area might be a bit odd, but they are indeed friendly and a great bunch of people.





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Offline Maurits

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Re: 1st time Visitors from NL
« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2013, 07:03:29 PM »
Thanks again for your posts! Based on the advice we'll skip the River Road.

How far can you actually hike into SE Canyon (we don't mind about getting our feet wet)? We would like to take a canoe trip...but..I've read that the water level is very low (most of the time) and therefore the tour companies cannot guarantee it.

Any thoughts on hiking vs. taking a canoe trip?





 





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Offline Flash

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Re: 1st time Visitors from NL
« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2013, 09:45:24 PM »
The Santa Elena Canyon trail is not very long, I'd say less than a mile one-way. I suggest avoiding the hike in the early-to-mid-afternoon range as the rock walls can toast your brains from the reflected heat of the sun! Very enjoyable as an evening or morning hike. You basically hike until you either run into a gigantic boulder or walk into the River, because there is no where else to go. When the River is low, you can in fact easily wade upstream a ways.  :)

 


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