Big Bend Chat

Big Bend or Bust! => Suggested Itineraries => Topic started by: texasthom on February 02, 2012, 10:43:43 PM

Title: Planning a trip the weekend of the 13th of April
Post by: texasthom on February 02, 2012, 10:43:43 PM
Yes, Friday the 13th....

Leave Austin at maybe 4:00 am, get to the park around noon?

I have been to BB once. I spent 11 hours in the park (camped at Chisos in late August) and summited Emroy at night in shoes 2 sizes two small. It was kind of a last minute thing.... I am hoping to further explore the park and actually enjoy it....

Anyway, I had some questions.....

Is it possible to reserve campsites? I looked online and couldn't... Is it possible to call? Is a reservation even necessary this time of year? Is the park busy? I want to stay at Chisos at least one night. How is camping by the river. Unfortunately, I will not be primitive camping....

How is the weather this time of year? Snakey?

Are there places nearby (obviously outside the park) to go rockhounding (preferably free)?

I would like some suggestions for sights to see outside of Chisos as well.... Realistically, how much can I do in a half day, a full day, and another half day... I don't even remeber how long it took to summit Emory, how long does that take?

Thanks for your help guys & girls.... This board is fantastic!
Title: Re: Planning a trip the weekend of the 13th of April
Post by: RichardM on February 03, 2012, 12:34:02 PM
The campsites are only reserveable through April 15. See http://www.recreation.gov/campsiteCalendar.do?page=matrix&calarvdate=04/13/2012&contractCode=NRSO&parkId=74044
However, the reason they can't be reserved after then is it's not worth their trouble to manage reservations because there are much fewer visitors after then. You should have no trouble getting a site then. Expect it to be pretty warm by April, so be on the lookout for snake activity and watch where you step. I'm not aware of any free rockhounding sites outside the park. Check with the Stillwell Ranch (http://stillwellstore.com/) folks. Stop by the Many Stones shop in Study Butte for info on that side of the park. The Emory Peak hike is over 10 miles, so plan on it taking most/all of a day. For outside of the Chisos, I'd recommend spending a day driving down the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive to Santa Elena Canyon. There are lots of hikes and viewpoints available along the way.
Title: Re: Planning a trip the weekend of the 13th of April
Post by: texasthom on February 13, 2012, 10:23:12 AM
Thank you for your response....

I did have some other questions as well.

May I have more than one tent at a campsite?

Also, are fires permitted? I assume they are not.
Title: Re: Planning a trip the weekend of the 13th of April
Post by: catz on February 13, 2012, 10:41:17 AM
No fires.  Two tents allowed.

On one of your half days, I recommend either the Lost Mine Trail or the Window trail.   

On your full day, I recommend the South Rim Trail.  It's a long hike (start early and allow all day for it) but is arguably the best hike in the park.  Have lunch at the Rim.

On the other half day (the morning one), I second Richard's suggestion of traveling the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive.  Two possible hikes (but a half day would probably let you do only one):  Top of Burro Mesa pouroff or Mule Ears Spring.

If the clouds cooperate, excellent sunset views are to be found at the Sotol Vista overlook on the Ross Maxwell.
Title: Re: Planning a trip the weekend of the 13th of April
Post by: steelfrog on February 13, 2012, 10:52:50 AM
How adventurous are you?  The best "bang for the buck" hike in the park is Casa Grande.  No trail (use trail).  You can PM me for details if interested.

Half day options:  Casa Grande or Lost Mine Trail; full day--I second the South Rim loop--be aware of Peregrine falcon closures though; it's not quite a full day if you don't go all the way around NE rim, which I think the falcon closure will prevent anyway.