Friends of Big Bend National Park
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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rough schedule...need help and advise

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Offline caseyb4442

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rough schedule...need help and advise
« on: January 22, 2008, 02:09:31 PM »
8 adults and 8 kids going to big bend from dallas this summer.....
leave sat morn. stop at monahans state park, balmorhea state park, is that enough for one day--- stay night in alpine or fort davis or fort stockton.  sun -- explore forts, mc donald ovserv., see marfa lights at night... stay in the same area?   mon head for terlingua and stay three nights to do all hiking, rafting in big bend....thursday head back for dallas?  more time needed in big bend itself?  too much time  on the way --staying in alpine?
help.......
thanks

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Offline okiehiker

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Re: rough schedule...need help and advise
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2008, 02:33:44 PM »
First off... you can spend the rest of your life in trans-Pecos Texas and never see too much of it, so you are not spending too much time on any of it.  It is just a question of what you really want to see and do. 

Personal preferences...

1. more time at Balmorhea... less/none at Monahans Sandhills.  You should see it someday, but a first-trip priority.

2. Don't double back from Balmorhea towards Ft. Stockton.  Going from BSP to Ft. Davis/marfa area is fine.

3. (question..) are you camping?  staying in motels?  This makes a big difference.
If you are camping plan to stay in the park.  Summer trip, I would make the high Chisos hiking a priority.  If you are rafting/canoeing then staying at Terlingua is a good jumping off point with the outfitters. 

4. Look through the threads on this site and you will find more suggested activities and hikes than you can do in a year.

5. Have a great time.  Don't second guess what you have decided to do.  You will be back to do the rest later!
Funny... I have a story about that...

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Offline jeffblaylock

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Re: rough schedule...need help and advise
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2008, 02:45:29 PM »
You seem to be moving around an awful lot in an effort to sample the trans-Pecos area, which is fine, if you're scouting out places to go for a future trip. But it sounds like the future is now if you're towing seven other adults and 8 chillun with you. So I'd pick a couple of places to stay and work from there rather than be in constant motion from place to place.

Balmorhea is a worthy first night spot, as well as the next day and night. Then head off toward Big Bend and spend the next several nights in Terlingua (if hotel-ing) or the Basin (if camping) and explore the area. Okie is right -- plenty of advice throughout the board regarding hikes and floats and scenic drives.

Summer must-hikes: Lost Mine Trail (1/2 day), Window Trail (1/2 day).
Must-drives:  Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive in the park, FM 170 from Terlingua to Presidio
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 Roy

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Re: rough schedule...need help and advise
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2008, 03:05:58 PM »
Try it this way.
Sat. nite, stop at Fort Stockton, or make it all the way to Marathon, if you can.
Sun, get to Big Bend early, find lodging in the park or in Terlingua/Study Butte;  drive the roads in the park.
Mon-Wed;  hiking, rafting, whatever, in Big Bend.
Thurs;  leave early, drive the roadr from Lajitas to Presidio;  turn north to Marfa and find lodging;  head out to see the Lights.
Fri;  drive to Fort Davis and McDonald;  explore the area; NOTE-Make sure you drive the loop around the mountains and stop at the roadside park there for lunch;  can't remember the name of the place but someone else will.  Drive to Balmorhea;  make sure you've got reservations if you want to stay in the cabins.
Sat;  head for home;  maybe stop at Monahans if you want although this would mean a little backtracking. 

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Offline Al

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Re: rough schedule...need help and advise
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2008, 03:15:33 PM »
If it were me, I'd go to Carlsbad NM for two nights, and do the caverns and check out the Guadalupes/McKittrick Canyon, etc.  drive down through Van Horn, being sure to stop at the rest area at the base of the mountains and take some pictures and then straight to Big Bend and stay in Terlinqua/Study Butte or the Basin.  Then do what they say . . .

Al

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Offline caseyb4442

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Re: rough schedule...need help and advise
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2008, 09:49:01 AM »
thank you all for your help.  everything is giving me great ideas and food for thought.  we will be staying in cabins or motels.  any advise on those in terlingua area would be great.
i do feel like we will be back on other trips....it sounds like the environment our family will love.
thank you all..

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Offline Roy

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Re: rough schedule...need help and advise
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2008, 10:14:03 AM »
Link to area motels, etc.
The only one I've had problems with is the El Dorado;  that was several years ago.

http://www.visitbigbend.com/wheretostay.html

The road I mentioned in my post above is 166;  the park is the Lawrence E. Wood roadside park.  There's more than one roadside park out there;  this is a large park with a number of picnic tables and grills.  When going north out of Ft. Davis it will be on your left as you get to the base of the mountains, right after you take a sharp left turn.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2008, 10:24:25 AM by Roy »

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Offline JimNewOrleans

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Re: rough schedule...need help and advise
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2008, 10:27:58 AM »
since 8 kids (oh my!) keep in mind that since you say it's a summer trip you'l be spending the middle of each day, probably from 11:00 to 3:00 or so, at very least,  either inside or in vehicles..... if in vehicle, you will see fantastic scenery, but probably little to no wildlife.   You should probably plan hikes in the early a.m. or after 5:00, whcih will limit it to 3 hr walks, but still a lot of options.    Depending upon kids ages, probably driving infinitely better than inside!

Having said that, nighttime SLOW drives, or walks with flashlights on the more developed trails, is great way to see wildlife and really enjoy the desert....
Only stayed monahans once, but it was dead of winter - I can see where kids would dig it, but probably only for a short period of time,  and again, in summer I think it would be absolutely unrelenting on those dunes...

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Offline aggiehiker

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Re: rough schedule...need help and advise
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2008, 03:31:33 PM »
Summer will be hot at the dunes, but the kids will love sliding down them. Don't stay too long-spend more time swimming at Balmorhea.

Definitely drive Ross Maxwell to Santa Elena and do the hike into the Canyon. It's easy and you get to see how small you really are. Castelon has a nice store, bookstore and small museum and the ice cream is real cold!

Driving down Maverick Road is a little bumpy, but you will experience a wonderful part of the desert. There are many places to get out and hike as well as Luna's Jacal where you can see how many people lived in the desert. A side trip to Terlingua Abaja off this road is well worth it especially if you cross the creek and explore the ruins. The kids will love this area.

The Basin is also a must, even if you don't have much time to spend in there. There's a couple of stores, a restaraunt, and the wonderful drive in and out. If you can, do either the Windows trail or the Lost Mine trail. Both are relatively easy and will offer incredible views of the area-especially from Lost Mine trail.

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Offline riverrat

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Re: rough schedule...need help and advise
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2008, 07:11:23 PM »
Do take more than one day at Balmorrhea...the kids will LOVE the smimming there. Reserve the motel rooms there ASAP. I'd devote one day to staying there and playing then that evening head to McDonald Obs (preferably the night of the star party which I think is on Tuesdays) for some great opportunities to see the stars. The next you could head into Monahans (if you're determined to go but it's gonna be HOT) then back to Balmorrhea to swim and get the grit off of you. Hit the sack early then get up early and head on in to Big Bend. 

What ages are the kids? That might make a bit of difference once in the Bend...Study up on all the trip reports here and then decide what would fit your group's abilities.

You won't regret anything that you decide to see and do while there. The possibilities are pretty much endless.

Living so close to paradise, it is unbelievable.

 


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