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First trip to BiBe..site/trail help

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Offline TXtransplant

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First trip to BiBe..site/trail help
« on: February 07, 2016, 04:17:43 PM »
Hey guys my wife and I are planning our first trip to Big Bend and are needing a little help. We are planning on making it to Big Bend the morning of March 13th and leaving Wednesday March 16th. I have been reading quite a bit on here and know that it will be pretty busy due to it being spring break, but I still don't know what I don't know. We are planning on camping out of a central location and doing day hikes from there. Any thoughts and advice is appreciated.

Our current plan is: Day 1: arrive that morning, find what is available and set up camp. That day we want to explore a little and do some shorter hikes, maybe the lost mine with window trail or mule ears? Maybe check out the hot springs. Day 2: hike the south rim and emory peak. Day 3: check out the hikes on the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive and spend some time in Santa Elena Canyon. Day 4: Pack up, explore a couple hours and head out of the park around noon.

What do you guys think about that plan?? One of my questions is concerning campsites. We will be driving an Accord so we cannot venture too far out for campsites. We would prefer a roadside site or backcountry site that would allow us to park and hike out a mile or less to set up camp, and still allows close access to some of the hikes we are thinking AND that might be available during a busy spring break week. Thoughts?

Also what are some of your favorite shorter hikes in the park?

Thanks in advance for all the help! I look forward to posting pics on our return.

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Offline Casa Grande

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Re: First trip to BiBe..site/trail help
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2016, 05:28:06 AM »
In regards to camping during Spring Break,  it is unbelievably packed during that time.  Your best chance of getting a backcountry site is to arrive at Panther Junction the second it opens and see what they have.    They may only have zone camping or deep backcountry sites (such as along River Road, and your car won't make that).  Your best bet may be to get a zone and park off Ross Maxwell, hike in a bit and set up camp out there.  With Zone camping , you set up camp wherever you can find a place with a few rules to follow.  That might be your only option the first night.   You'll likely have better luck getting a nice drive up backcountry site (ie, Croton, Paint Gap, Nine Point, etc.) the other nights. 

Regarding hikes, if you're gonna do the South Rim and Emory in one day, get up early and get on the trail before Sun up, you'll need all the daylight you can get.   

A good desert hike can be Chimneys.   Lost mine trail is popular in the Chisos, start early to avoid the crowds.  Spring  Break is a mess, relatively speaking.

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Offline TXtransplant

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Re: First trip to BiBe..site/trail help
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2016, 04:31:41 PM »
Your best bet may be to get a zone and park off Ross Maxwell, hike in a bit and set up camp out there.  With Zone camping , you set up camp wherever you can find a place with a few rules to follow.

Thanks for the input!

What zones are close off of Ross Maxwell? CO7, CO6, SO2? Or should I not even worry about it until we get to Panther Junction and see what's available then go from there. We are pretty flexible, I just don't know how long it takes to get from one place to another in the park.

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Offline Casa Grande

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Re: First trip to BiBe..site/trail help
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2016, 04:48:19 PM »
You're welcome.  I wouldn't worry about where too much.   You might even get lucky and not even have to worry about Zone Camping and get a primitive roadside.  Just make it a plan B for somewhere to crash for the first night.  Chances are, you'll be able to reserve a decent primitive car site the second night and beyond.

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Offline Casa Grande

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Re: First trip to BiBe..site/trail help
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2016, 04:52:43 PM »
And, if you drive the posted 45 speed limit (highly recommend), getting from PJ to Santa Elena Canyon (far west side), for example, will take you about 45 minutes. Anywhere else, somewhere in between.

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Offline TXtransplant

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Re: First trip to BiBe..site/trail help
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2016, 05:52:23 PM »
Thanks, that's good to know about the approximate drive time. Looking forward to seeing the beauty of the park

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Offline Geezer

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Re: First trip to BiBe..site/trail help
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2016, 07:28:02 PM »
If you have to zone camp, there are some nice level sites on south side of Dodson Tr., about a mile in from the parking area at Homer Wilson Ranch House (which is on Ross Maxwell Dr.). Dynamite sunset views there.

Geezer

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Offline TXtransplant

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Re: First trip to BiBe..site/trail help
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2016, 07:04:43 PM »
If you have to zone camp, there are some nice level sites on south side of Dodson Tr., about a mile in from the parking area at Homer Wilson Ranch House (which is on Ross Maxwell Dr.). Dynamite sunset views there.

Awesome, thanks for the input!  Would that be zone CO4?

 


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