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Trip Planning: Best Locations for Flowers?

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Offline tjavery

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Trip Planning: Best Locations for Flowers?
« on: January 19, 2007, 03:24:59 PM »
I want to plan a spring trip to see the massive wildflower bloom that will happen in a few months  :D  Seriously, massive or not, I would love to see loads of blooming plants in the park. I've never been in the spring.

Based on y'all's past experiences, where are the best locations and approx. what time (i.e. early March, early April, etc.) are optimum to see blooms? And I mean any sort of blooms: bluebonnets, cactus, yucca, etc.

I know March is a busy time for the park, so I'm thinking of just zone camping in lesser-visited areas. I'd like to just wander about the desert at a slow pace, take loads of photos, and drink some beer!

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Offline Roy

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Trip Planning: Best Locations for Flowers?
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2007, 04:12:16 PM »
End of February might be even better, depending on temps, etc..

Dagger Flat for sure;  and if you feel a like a pretty good hike, go to the real Dagger Flat, not the one on the auto trail.  You get there by hiking through Dog Canyon and then south a ways before heading back west across the ridge lines;  talk to the Rangers and get a topo map. There's no trail, but the place is marked on the Trails Illustrated map.

You should see big patches of dogweed both sides of the road close to Tornillo Creek.

Walk along drainages;  even if they're dry, the extra moisture they trapped when it rained promotes plant growth;  the little drainage that goes to the canyon from the Dog Canyon exhibit can be nice;  or walk along Tornillo Creek from the Fossil Bone exhibit.

Bluebonnets and such are more plentiful along the roads, including the dirt roads;  the extra moisture from runoff makes a big difference to the flowers.  Two-three years ago there were some great stands of bluebonnets between Tuff Canyon and Cerro Castellan;  great contrast with the geology along there.  Another time I drove down the Glen Springs road after a good rain and I think every cenizo in sight was blooming.

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Offline tjavery

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Trip Planning: Best Locations for Flowers?
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2007, 05:29:15 PM »
Excellent! Thanks for the advice. Yes, bluebonnets would be spectacular in the basalt & ash areas near Cerro Castellan. Red, white, and BLUE!

Quote from: "Roy"
...go to the real Dagger Flat, not the one on the auto trail.  You get there by hiking through Dog Canyon and then south a ways before heading back west across the ridge lines...


I've been wanting to go there  :D  Is that route a better alternative than hiking the rim of Devil's Den and then entering the area (south) behind it?

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Offline Roy

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Trip Planning: Best Locations for Flowers?
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2007, 06:53:17 PM »
Never been to Devil's Den (for some reason), never heard of anyone cutting across there but it seems to make sense, at least on paper.  I'd ask the Rangers first.  Did someone (OkieHiker?) post something about a steep pouroff back there?

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Offline okiehiker

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Devil's Den
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2007, 11:04:58 PM »
I think Devil's Den is the best route through to Dagger Flat.  

A couple of notes.  There will be good water in tinajas in Devil's Den itself.  The route to take is the south rim of the gorge.  It is a VERY easy route.  

Dagger Flat is not flat.  If you have hiked Onion Flat, Tornillo Flat, etc. you will be surprised.  This terrain is complex, undulating, often overgrowna dn can be quite challenging.  

That said, if you are there at the right time this spring it should be unbelievably beautiful.  Make sure to take lots of pictures.  

Within Devil's Den itself there are some pour-offs, and though challenging, there is nothing dangerous.  Just do a dayhike into the gorge, and then carry your packs around to the right.
Funny... I have a story about that...

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Offline 01ACRViper

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Re: Devil's Den
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2007, 02:23:15 AM »
Quote from: "okiehiker"
I think Devil's Den is the best route through to Dagger Flat.  

A couple of notes.  There will be good water in tinajas in Devil's Den itself.  The route to take is the south rim of the gorge.  It is a VERY easy route.  

Dagger Flat is not flat.  If you have hiked Onion Flat, Tornillo Flat, etc. you will be surprised.  This terrain is complex, undulating, often overgrowna dn can be quite challenging.  

That said, if you are there at the right time this spring it should be unbelievably beautiful.  Make sure to take lots of pictures.  

Within Devil's Den itself there are some pour-offs, and though challenging, there is nothing dangerous.  Just do a dayhike into the gorge, and then carry your packs around to the right.


Devils Den had a lot of water in it as of January 8th. we had to get wet at one spot, and evey other tinaja was avoidable. i think the best route is up the rim, down through the gorge. it was at most a 30 minute hike around the rim, so even if you have to hike up, go through the canyon, then back up around the rim it would be well worth it. beautiful hike.

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Offline Roy

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Trip Planning: Best Locations for Flowers?
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2007, 08:40:03 AM »
Found my notes this AM;  I DO have info on Devil's Den route to Dagger Flat but avoided it due to a recommendation to leave packs behind and having to do some sliding, possibly into pools of water, on some of those pour offs.  One spot is described as needing about 20' of rope to haul packs through one of the pour offs.  Sounds like it might not be that tough, and would be a good deal shorter than my route.  

My concern;  hiking solo with a pack full of high powered camera gear that doesn't do water or rock slides very well.

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Offline jeffblaylock

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Trip Planning: Best Locations for Flowers?
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2007, 04:46:22 PM »
River Road West is one of my favorite spots:



http://www.jeffblaylock.com/window/2005/03/river_road_colo_1/index.php

http://www.jeffblaylock.com/window/2006/03/bluebonnets_and_6/index.php

http://www.jeffblaylock.com/window/2003/12/river_road_blue/index.php

You should find places to pull off the road and wander around the arroyos curving around Cerro Castellan.

Cacti should also be blooming on the higher desert flats. Devil's Den and the real Dagger Flat have been mentioned. Also good would be the Ore Terminal Trail and the Mule Ears Spring trail. Dominguez trail would probably be a good one, too, but I've not been on it (yet).
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 tjavery

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Trip Planning: Best Locations for Flowers?
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2007, 12:51:59 PM »

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Offline Boojum1

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Trip Planning: Best Locations for Flowers?
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2007, 10:35:29 PM »
I've seen the Spanish Dagger in Dagger Flats in quite spectacular bloom the first week of April.  Bluebonnets are early...the end of February or so.  Succulents generally bloom later but on that April trip I saw at least 7-8 species in bloom.  Its all good, but then, I'm a quasi-botanist (lots of rust).
Pithy quote free for years

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Offline Roy

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Trip Planning: Best Locations for Flowers?
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2007, 10:22:44 PM »
Outstanding shot Jeff.  Gotta remember to go there myself.

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Offline Roy

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Trip Planning: Best Locations for Flowers?
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2007, 07:02:00 AM »
TJ, you need to read the "Has anyone been here" thread in Q&A, if you haven't already.

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Offline tjavery

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Trip Planning: Best Locations for Flowers?
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2007, 07:41:48 AM »
Quote from: "Roy"
TJ, you need to read the "Has anyone been here" thread in Q&A, if you haven't already.


10-4 Thanks!

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Offline jimbob

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Trip Planning: Best Locations for Flowers?
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2007, 01:30:11 AM »
The southern end of Ross Maxwell Drive is the best in a good year.  Year 2001 around the end of February was spectacular.  Below is a picture taken somewhere between Tuff canyon and Cerro Castolon.



This is another picture taken the same year near Chimneys Trailhead. The flowers were wonderful; unfortunately the light wasn’t all that great.


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Offline Al

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Trip Planning: Best Locations for Flowers?
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2007, 10:35:43 PM »
I especially like the second picture.  Well framed!

Al

 


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