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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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Mariscal Rim Trail

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Offline alcap

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Mariscal Rim Trail
« on: November 04, 2008, 08:03:48 AM »
I'm going down to the Park next Sunday for 4-5 days. At least one thing I'd like to do is the Mariscal Rim Trail.
Can someone tell me the best way down to the trailhead from Chisos Basin, road conditions and approx time frame for round trip hike?

Thanks All,
Alcap

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Offline sleepy

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Re: Mariscal Rim Trail
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2008, 09:19:36 AM »
Last time I did it, I travelled River Road West.  You need to check road conditions at the VC, as the recent rains have reportedly done some damage to most back country roads.

I think it took me about 3-4 hours round trip.  It is a spectacular hike.  Lots of calcite sparkles next to fossils in the badlands, expansive views back towards the Chisos and a most vertigo inducing perch above the canyon. 
It's never too late to be what you might have been-Geroge Elliot

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Offline jeffblaylock

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Re: Mariscal Rim Trail
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2008, 10:11:14 AM »
The Mariscal Rim trailhead is about the furthest place from the Basin. The shortest advisable route is probably down Glenn Springs Road to the River Road westbound toward the Talley spur road. The latter is about 7 rough miles long. The last time I was at Talley, I remember it taking 2 1/2 hours to get to it from Buenos Aires, a backcountry campsite near the terminus of the River Road West. Once you reach the trailhead, the hike takes as long as you want it to -- there is no particular endpoint, just whenever you feel like turning around.

If you're going to do this hike:
(1) Take plenty of water
(2) Take plenty of supplies (including sleeping bag and shelter) in case your vehicle breaks down or gets stuck, as help will not be on the way
(3) Check with rangers on current road conditions -- heavy flooding and rains have damaged the backcountry roads; and
(4) Consider spending a night or two at Talley. There's probably not enough daylight to drive there from the Basin, do your hike, and drive back.

If you spend 2 nights at Talley, you can explore the Mariscal Rim to your heart's content, and even get some distance on the Cross Canyon Trail, before returning to an already established campsite.

Some pics from the trail:







Jeff Blaylock
Austin, Texas

"We'll be back, someday soon. We will return, someday, and when we do the gritty
splendor and the complicated grandeur of Big Bend will still be here. Waiting for us."--Ed Abbey

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Offline Casa Grande

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Re: Mariscal Rim Trail
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2008, 10:16:36 AM »
I'm jealous, that hike is on my extreme short list!

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Offline PyramidBlaster

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Re: Mariscal Rim Trail
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2008, 10:17:40 AM »
Ouch! beat me to it!

Yes...I've been researching this hike as well, and was going to approach via River Road East...To Talley Road. It can also be done from the Solis area, which is a more difficult route. (basically the Cross-Canyon trail, a much more strenuous route!)

Right now the River Road west is closed all the way to Talley, and as I recall it wasn't a picnic to get there via River Road East prior to the flood. I'd hit up a ranger for more info, to be sure---The road is dicey right now...

From the NPS BiBe site:

(about halfway down)
http://www.nps.gov/bibe/planyourvisit/bc_dayhikes.htm

handout for the trail:
http://www.nps.gov/bibe/parknews/upload/SG_MariscalRimTrail.pdf

A little about the Cross-Canyon trail:
http://books.google.com/books?id=miwHVuFjsYUC&pg=PA101&lpg=PA101&dq=Big+Bend+cross-canyon&source=bl&ots=gM1TyBIwXe&sig=NdUXN7D_2v7ne6i0TH_w3MYSKQI&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=3&ct=result#PPA99,M1
"The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents."-H.P. Lovecraft

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Offline alcap

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Re: Mariscal Rim Trail
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2008, 11:16:24 AM »
Thanks for the advise everyone, I haven't been to that area of the park at all in my previous visits, never traveled the river road.
I'll be in a Tacoma 4x4 so that should get me where I need to go, and I'm pretty conservative about risk taking when traveling alone.
But I do really, really want to get out and explore this area.
Any other suggestions, words of wisdom, cautions, etc. ?
Alcap

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Offline jeffblaylock

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Re: Mariscal Rim Trail
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2008, 12:39:17 PM »
But I do really, really want to get out and explore this area.

Only you know that for sure.

I would not advise this hike/drive if it's your first time out there, especially if you're alone. It is very, very remote.

That said, it is beautiful, rugged, solitary, and uplifting. The drive is long and difficult, though you should be fine in a 4x4.
Jeff Blaylock
Austin, Texas

"We'll be back, someday soon. We will return, someday, and when we do the gritty
splendor and the complicated grandeur of Big Bend will still be here. Waiting for us."--Ed Abbey

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Offline alcap

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Re: Mariscal Rim Trail
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2008, 02:05:22 PM »
Again, thank for response Jeff. I"ll give this a lot of thought before deciding where to go.
Alcap

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Offline presidio

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Re: Mariscal Rim Trail
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2008, 04:40:27 PM »
(4) Consider spending a night or two at Talley. There's probably not enough daylight to drive there from the Basin, do your hike, and drive back.

If you spend 2 nights at Talley, you can explore the Mariscal Rim to your heart's content, and even get some distance on the Cross Canyon Trail, before returning to an already established campsite.


But keep in mind that vehicle security can be an issue way down there. Very isolated. Remember, like in Alien, in the Big Bend backcountry no one can hear your car alarm scream. It is the only place I have ever experienced a break-in (way back in 1972...and, oddly/nicely, nothing was taken, just a window smashed...have never been able to figure that one out), but even a casual glance around places like this along the river will reveal remnants or little piles of broken window glass depending on how long its been since the last victim.
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Wendell (Garret Dillahunt): It's a mess, ain't it, sheriff?
Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones): If it ain't, it'll do till the mess gets here.
--No Country for Old Men (2007)

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Offline alcap

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Re: Mariscal Rim Trail
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2008, 07:03:27 AM »
Well ya'll have about talked me out of this. I'll try and think of a good idea next :icon_smile:
Alcap

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Offline PyramidBlaster

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Re: Mariscal Rim Trail
« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2008, 10:55:46 AM »
I've been in your shoes. It's simply not a hike to be taken lightly, as if any in the park really are...It's high on my 'to do' list as well.

Dog Canyon & Devil's Den are really pretty cool--and can be done in the same hike if you're up for it...Just a suggestion....
"The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents."-H.P. Lovecraft

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Offline westtex

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Re: Mariscal Rim Trail
« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2008, 08:44:45 AM »
I have heard that finding the trail from Talley side is quite difficult after the flood.  Some of the Talley campsites don't even exist anymore.
resist much, obey little

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Offline 01ACRViper

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Re: Mariscal Rim Trail
« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2008, 08:53:06 AM »
I have heard that finding the trail from Talley side is quite difficult after the flood.  Some of the Talley campsites don't even exist anymore.

i can see this being a major problem. it wasn't the easiest thing to find when there was a trail. but this should discourage you. if you get a topo map of the area, it shouldn't be hard to head in the right direction.

i did this hike alone in december of 06. i didn't park at the designated parking area, i parked a few hundred yards back up the road in a wash, so the house across the river couldn't see my car sitting there.

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Offline presidio

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Re: Mariscal Rim Trail
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2008, 04:18:06 PM »
i can see this being a major problem. it wasn't the easiest thing to find when there was a trail. but this should discourage you. if you get a topo map of the area, it shouldn't be hard to head in the right direction.

Exactly. Just because there is a 'designated' trail head doesn't mean you have to start from it.

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i did this hike alone in december of 06. i didn't park at the designated parking area, i parked a few hundred yards back up the road in a wash, so the house across the river couldn't see my car sitting there.

Good idea, but you were lucky the NPS didn't see it....they likely would have had a problem with you being 'off road'.
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<  presidio  >
_____________
Wendell (Garret Dillahunt): It's a mess, ain't it, sheriff?
Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones): If it ain't, it'll do till the mess gets here.
--No Country for Old Men (2007)

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Offline alcap

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Re: Mariscal Rim Trail
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2008, 08:32:21 PM »
I'm going to try and get back before the February Falcon closing and do it this time.
Thanks again for all the comments and suggestions.
Alcap

 


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