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2nd Trip Must Dos or Suggestions?

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Offline With Deacon

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2nd Trip Must Dos or Suggestions?
« on: August 24, 2015, 09:34:55 AM »
I'm excited to report that our group of four is returning in Jan2016 for our 2nd trip to Big Bend.  We loved it so much this past January, that we decided to go again.

Here's what we did the last time around:

We arrived Thursday around midday, hiked a good chunk of Mule Ears, and watched the sunset at Homer Wilson's Ranch.

Friday, we did a canoe trip a few miles up Santa Elena Canyon and hiked around Indian Head Mtn in the evening.

Saturday,  we went to Boquillas Canyon, hiked Hot Springs, and took it easy a bit to get ready for our big hike on Sunday.

Sunday, we did South Rim, and Monday we went home (sadly).

For our 2nd visit, we've talked about exploring the State Park a bit and maybe doing the River Road as well as doing some of the desert hikes.

Any suggestions?  Our trip will be the exact same length this time around as well.

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Offline Imre

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Re: 2nd Trip Must Dos or Suggestions?
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2015, 09:52:33 AM »
Dog Canyon and the Devil's Den come to mind.
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Offline catz

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Re: 2nd Trip Must Dos or Suggestions?
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2015, 09:59:18 AM »
Based on this, I'm assuming backpacking is not part of the plan.  Also, the state park takes considerable time to get to and is much more rugged than the National Park.  That said, there are some nice short day hikes there that are accessible to a normal passenger car.  Anything off the main entrance road will definitely require 4 wheel drive and high clearance.  Personally, I think you should save the state park for a trip of just a few days solely for itself.

River Road in the National Park, especially the western end, will likely require high clearance and possibly four wheel drive in spots.

Some excellent day hikes in the National Park:

--Lost Mine Peak

--Window Trail, including the short (but steep) turnoff up to the high point of the Oak Spring Trail 

--Pine Canyon (normally accessible by a regular passenger car if you take it very slowly after you turn off Glenn Spring Road)

--Top of Burro Mesa Pouroff

--Cattail Falls (normally accessible to a regular passenger car if you take it slowly)

--Starting at Homer Wilson, take the Dodson Trail to where it tops out and/or take the Blue Creek Trail through the hoodoos

--Mariscal Canyon Overlook (depending on road conditions, you might need high clearance to get to the trail head)

Trying to do all of these in 4 days is asking too much but I think you will be delighted with whichever ones of these you are able to fit in.
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Offline Demon Deacon

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Re: 2nd Trip Must Dos or Suggestions?
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2015, 10:04:21 AM »
Thanks Imre. Those are both on the initial list since we didn't get to that part of the park last time.

We should all have passports this time around for a crossing to Boquillas. Would either of those be doable in the morning with an afternoon in Boquillas? I haven't researched drive times yet of course.... Any other half-day hikes that might make more sense with a Boquillas crossing?

For a last day all day hike, would Marufo Vega be good, rather than doing the South Rim again?  Or is there another long day-hike I'm not thinking of?  Overnighters aren't really an option as we will all be flying and will therefore be restricted as far as gear.

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Offline Demon Deacon

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Re: 2nd Trip Must Dos or Suggestions?
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2015, 10:19:22 AM »
Based on this, I'm assuming backpacking is not part of the plan.  Also, the state park takes considerable time to get to and is much more rugged than the National Park.  That said, there are some nice short day hikes there that are accessible to a normal passenger car.  Anything off the main entrance road will definitely require 4 wheel drive and high clearance.  Personally, I think you should save the state park for a trip of just a few days solely for itself.

River Road in the National Park, especially the western end, will likely require high clearance and possibly four wheel drive in spots.

Definitely a full trip!! Thanks for the suggestions catz. A lot of those are on my "investigate" list too.

Am I correct that the River Road/FM 170 over by the State Park is paved accessible in a non 4x4 SUV?  We definitely don't plan to tackle it in the National Park, but I think I've heard good things about the road over that way as far as scenery.

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Offline Jalco

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Re: 2nd Trip Must Dos or Suggestions?
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2015, 10:56:31 AM »
Based on this, I'm assuming backpacking is not part of the plan.  Also, the state park takes considerable time to get to and is much more rugged than the National Park.  That said, there are some nice short day hikes there that are accessible to a normal passenger car.  Anything off the main entrance road will definitely require 4 wheel drive and high clearance.  Personally, I think you should save the state park for a trip of just a few days solely for itself.

River Road in the National Park, especially the western end, will likely require high clearance and possibly four wheel drive in spots.

Definitely a full trip!! Thanks for the suggestions catz. A lot of those are on my "investigate" list too.

Am I correct that the River Road/FM 170 over by the State Park is paved accessible in a non 4x4 SUV?  We definitely don't plan to tackle it in the National Park, but I think I've heard good things about the road over that way as far as scenery.

FM170 is a paved road.  The portion between Lajitas and Redford is indeed scenic.  There are several state park trails easily accessible from it: Closed Canyon (a slot canyon leading down to the Rio Grande), Rancherias Canyon, Rancherias East/West trailheads.

I echo the remarks regarding visiting the other ("inland") parts of the state park.  It's a drive in itself just getting to the central headquarters area.  The state park merits a dedicated trip, in my opinion.

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Offline Demon Deacon

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Re: 2nd Trip Must Dos or Suggestions?
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2015, 11:03:34 AM »
Based on this, I'm assuming backpacking is not part of the plan.  Also, the state park takes considerable time to get to and is much more rugged than the National Park.  That said, there are some nice short day hikes there that are accessible to a normal passenger car.  Anything off the main entrance road will definitely require 4 wheel drive and high clearance.  Personally, I think you should save the state park for a trip of just a few days solely for itself.

River Road in the National Park, especially the western end, will likely require high clearance and possibly four wheel drive in spots.

Definitely a full trip!! Thanks for the suggestions catz. A lot of those are on my "investigate" list too.

Am I correct that the River Road/FM 170 over by the State Park is paved accessible in a non 4x4 SUV?  We definitely don't plan to tackle it in the National Park, but I think I've heard good things about the road over that way as far as scenery.

FM170 is a paved road.  The portion between Lajitas and Redford is indeed scenic.  There are several state park trails easily accessible from it: Closed Canyon (a slot canyon leading down to the Rio Grande), Rancherias Canyon, Rancherias East/West trailheads.

I echo the remarks regarding visiting the other ("inland") parts of the state park.  It's a drive in itself just getting to the central headquarters area.  The state park merits a dedicated trip, in my opinion.
Perfect. Thanks Jalco. Then perhaps we can make a day of the drive and the side hikes you mentioned.

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Offline mule ears

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Re: 2nd Trip Must Dos or Suggestions?
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2015, 01:12:47 PM »
Thanks Imre. Those are both on the initial list since we didn't get to that part of the park last time.

We should all have passports this time around for a crossing to Boquillas. Would either of those be doable in the morning with an afternoon in Boquillas? I haven't researched drive times yet of course.... Any other half-day hikes that might make more sense with a Boquillas crossing?

For a last day all day hike, would Marufo Vega be good, rather than doing the South Rim again?  Or is there another long day-hike I'm not thinking of?  Overnighters aren't really an option as we will all be flying and will therefore be restricted as far as gear.

You could certainly do either Dog Canyon or Devils Den as a hike before going to Boquillas but they are best done together as they are so close to each other or done as a loop like this thread.  It is an hours drive from the Dog Canyon/Devils Den trailhead to the Boquillas Crossing.

You could do Ernst Tinaja before heading to Boquillas.

You can do Marufo Vega, the entire loop, in a day if you get going early, it will be a long day like the south rim.  Or you could do it out to the Split Rock campsite and back.  Another one on that side of the park is Banta Shut-In but it takes a bit more route finding but is just as long a day.
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Offline bam.bam

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Re: 2nd Trip Must Dos or Suggestions?
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2015, 09:43:14 AM »
Deacon, you might want to play with the google map a little bit and just consider driving the river rd( FM-170) see if your time allows for  this (Midland to Balmorhea, to Fort Davis,to Marfa to Presidio to Terlingua to west park  entrance). Adds a couple of hour but the terrain you will be seeing will be WOW vs so so...FM-170 also takes you by the state park. I would not miss out on driving the FM170 river road at least once... imho
PS stop at the ice house in Lajitas for soft drinks and fresh sandwiches, there in the boonies but she has unbelievably fresh lunches..

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Offline Demon Deacon

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Re: 2nd Trip Must Dos or Suggestions?
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2015, 09:57:04 AM »
Thanks bam.bam. We were actually just discussing that this morning. We will all be flying into ELP and driving to Alpine for the night before hitting the park. We figured we can do the small 30 minute backtrack to 67 in Marfa and then head down that way, since we didn't do that on our first trip.  That saves us from an out and back drive from Study Butte, where we will be staying.

And thanks for the alternates mule ears.  I'll investigate those too.

I also came across an outfitter that offers a 6 hour day hike from the resort in Lajitas to the top of Mesa de Anguila.  Would this hike be worth it as a day hike? I was under the impression that Mesa de Anguila was an isolated multi-day trek, but perhaps that's if you take it all the way to Santa Elena?  Not sure we want a guided hike per se, but is the hike to the Mesa alone worth it?

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Offline catz

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Re: 2nd Trip Must Dos or Suggestions?
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2015, 10:31:13 AM »

I also came across an outfitter that offers a 6 hour day hike from the resort in Lajitas to the top of Mesa de Anguila.  Would this hike be worth it as a day hike? I was under the impression that Mesa de Anguila was an isolated multi-day trek, but perhaps that's if you take it all the way to Santa Elena?  Not sure we want a guided hike per se, but is the hike to the Mesa alone worth it?

To answer your question, no, I don't think so.  Although it is interesting and very remote, to really get the most out of the Mesa you need to get to the Santa Elena overlook.  That is not possible as a day hike. You have so many other possibilities that I would concentrate on them.

If you decide you want to go up on the Mesa, you don't need a guide, either.  The trail up is very straight forward:  you can clearly see the slot up onto the Mesa from the trail head (near the golf course parking lot).  The ascent begins after about a mile-long trek across open desert.  The ascent is very steep but relatively short (you may not realize how steep it is until you come back down).  Once on top, it has many ups and downs, but is quite easy to follow until beyond Canyon Flag, which is about halfway across the Mesa.  Take plenty of water.
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Offline Demon Deacon

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Re: 2nd Trip Must Dos or Suggestions?
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2015, 10:39:41 AM »
Perfect. Thank you catz. That was my feeling on the subject, but second guessed a bit when I saw the day hike mentioned. Another trip perhaps....

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Offline With Deacon

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Re: 2nd Trip Must Dos or Suggestions?
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2015, 01:55:49 PM »
Thanks to everyone on this forum for being so helpful.  We spend more time on sports forums, which are very often *the worst.*

Anyway, even though I have another exciting trip coming up in just about 3 weeks, I am already anxious for our return to Big Bend!

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Offline Demon Deacon

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Re: 2nd Trip Must Dos or Suggestions?
« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2015, 03:18:14 PM »
Thanks to everyone on this forum for being so helpful.  We spend more time on sports forums, which are very often *the worst.*

Anyway, even though I have another exciting trip coming up in just about 3 weeks, I am already anxious for our return to Big Bend!
So much this. Thanks for all of the insight on the forum. This is easily the most civil message board I have encountered and the most willing to help.  Even though I'm nearly 2,000 miles away, this has kept me connected since I joined in January and ready to roll on our second trip.

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Offline bam.bam

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Re: 2nd Trip Must Dos or Suggestions?
« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2015, 03:48:59 PM »
Deacon, do you know of El Cosmico in Marfa. you can camp there, rent a   tent or rent  one of many 1940'ish Spartan Trailers that have been restored to perfection.  Nice restaurants at the end of the street also. Its not as much of a party town as alpine but its nice. Sometimes they have a live band, we happened to get to enjoy an unplanned visit by the Shivering Tembers whom were touring the area and needed a place to stay, so the played,,Most of their business is return customers so that tells you something....

 


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