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First trip, Improved or unimproved back roads?

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Offline smitopher

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First trip, Improved or unimproved back roads?
« on: March 01, 2019, 11:05:45 AM »
So I will be camping with a group of acquaintances in Chisos Basin Campground for 3 days.

I'm planing to take a back road drive.  My vehicle is an almost completely stock Subaru Outback.  I thought that it needed hiking boots so my buggy will have a set of BFG KO2 hiking boots (aka tires, stock 17" wheels with OEM sized tire).

So which back road would y'all suggest for a first time day trip on the back roads?  I've been on off road guided rallies in Death Valley and Baja California, driving my previous vehicle, a MB ML 320, but this one will not be guided.

I'm not looking to challenge my off road driving skills, just get somewhere remote and awesome and soak in the magnificent desolation.

TIA.

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Offline wotantx

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Re: First trip, Improved or unimproved back roads?
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2019, 11:19:57 AM »
Old Maverick Rd is a good way to introduce yourself to dirt road driving in Big Bend.  There's also Dagger Flat Auto Trail.  The road to Grapevine Hills. Those are the "safest" ones. If you feel a little more adventurous, Paint Gap is a rough but not challenging road. I have no idea what your ground clearance is, but 9" is probably *just* enough for that road.

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Offline BlindWilly

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Re: First trip, Improved or unimproved back roads?
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2019, 12:41:06 PM »
With Beefier tires you should be just about fine on any road/trail in the National Park.
Here is what is considered the toughest trail in the park. Take a look at it and see if it's close to the tougher ones you have driven.
"No matter where you go, there you are"
-Buckaroo Bonzai

www.txpedition.com

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Offline RichardM

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Re: First trip, Improved or unimproved back roads?
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2019, 03:14:10 PM »
River Road, in addition to the ones listed above. Also drive to Pine Canyon and hike the trail. :)

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Offline rocketman

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Re: First trip, Improved or unimproved back roads?
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2019, 10:17:05 PM »
With Beefier tires you should be just about fine on any road/trail in the National Park.
Here is what is considered the toughest trail in the park. Take a look at it and see if it's close to the tougher ones you have driven.

Thanks for the memories Willy!  I did BGR my first trip out to the Bend, along with OOR and River Rd in the NP, then we hit the State Park for a trip down Fresno and back.

To the OP, if you decide to do Black Gap and/or River Rd, you should make some time to visit Mariscal Mine.
Making ice cubes FROM THE SUN!!!

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Offline LinuxGeek28

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Re: First trip, Improved or unimproved back roads?
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2019, 09:32:29 AM »
+1 for Old Ore Road (driven N to S).  I took a near-stock Forester (w/ good AT tires) on OOR and my biggest difficulty was not having a low enough gear for some of the steep hills.  OOR is especially nice late in the day when the setting sun in on the Sierra del Carmens.  You should stop and hike a little of Ernst Tinaja. 
In the spring, Glenn Springs road is always a good choice.  Lots of blooming plants and good views of the Chisos from the south. I'd probably run that one as an out and back as I find the River Road really tedious. 

Be ready for desert pin striping OOR, Glenn Springs Rd is a little wider...

Don't even think about Black Gap with a stock Outback.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2019, 01:28:27 PM by LinuxGeek28 »

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Offline Imre

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Re: First trip, Improved or unimproved back roads?
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2019, 11:22:44 AM »
Quote
Also drive to Pine Canyon and hike the trail
+1
For every complex problem there is a solution that is simple, obvious, and wrong.
- H.L. Mencken

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Offline smitopher

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Re: First trip, Improved or unimproved back roads?
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2019, 01:13:49 PM »
Thank y’all

Stock Outback clearance is 8 in.

Black Gap would be out of my league. ;-)

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Offline Jalco

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Re: First trip, Improved or unimproved back roads?
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2019, 05:26:45 PM »
I vaguely remember seeing a short video of someone traversing the pinch on Black Gap (south to north) in a Subaru w/ a kayak loaded on top.....

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Offline BlindWilly

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Re: First trip, Improved or unimproved back roads?
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2019, 03:26:23 PM »
Here's Glenn Springs road. It's not as hard as Black Gap, but it was a little bumpy...
This was edited to 2X speed, I didn't drive this fast on the backroads.
"No matter where you go, there you are"
-Buckaroo Bonzai

www.txpedition.com

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Offline wotantx

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Re: First trip, Improved or unimproved back roads?
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2019, 09:10:43 AM »
Here's Glenn Springs road. It's not as hard as Black Gap, but it was a little bumpy...
This was edited to 2X speed, I didn't drive this fast on the backroads.


Wimp. :hee20hee20hee:

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Offline BlindWilly

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Re: First trip, Improved or unimproved back roads?
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2019, 01:03:34 PM »
HAHA!!!
"No matter where you go, there you are"
-Buckaroo Bonzai

www.txpedition.com

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Offline smitopher

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Re: First trip, Improved or unimproved back roads?
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2019, 12:14:53 PM »
Just got back.

Spring Break.  The park was jammed.  Nearly all back country sites were booked.

They put me in Paint Gap 2.  It was good, although PG3 is right next door.  Road was very easy and just about any vehicle can make it.

The permit folks were EXTREMELY dubious about dragging my trailer to Pine Canyon.  It was not available anyway.
What do you guys think?

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Offline PacingTheCage

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Re: First trip, Improved or unimproved back roads?
« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2019, 04:21:48 PM »
Took my wife’s Outback to Pine Canyon several years ago, with no trailer, and had no issues. Stock everything.

On the same trip I also drove it to the trailhead for Juniper Canyon/Dodson. Did not have any issues but I was lucky to not tear up more than one tire. Just drove very slow. Not advisable to do what I did. It was a stupid decision.


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