Big Bend National Park Info

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Matt L.

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I originally posted this as a reply in the New Members area but thought it was out of place there. So here it is again.

Big Bend National Park and Big Band Ranch State Park are pretty well documented so be sure and grab some literature at the park headquarters in both cases. The national park as some nice mile by mile trail guards with lots of historical information about activities in the area. I could name off the roads in the national park but what I would say it to consider starting starting near either park entrance and map a path on dirt to the other entrance. I like to start at the North end of Old Ore Road and travel South toward the hot springs. Lots of camp sites but you will need to reserve the site you think you will be stopping at. After a dip in the hot springs we take River Road East to Glenn Spring Road. Glenn Spring Road gives you access to the East end of Black Gap Road, the only none maintained path in the park. Black Gap is great, my favorite in the national park because it can be tough and normally nobody else is out there. Black Gap reconnects to the River Road about 11 miles from where you turned off at Glenn Spring. If you continue on West on River Road you will hit pavement in about 27 miles near Castolon on Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive. Follow Ross Maxwell West to Santa Elena Canyon for a terrific view and hike into 1000 ft cliffs and a swimming area on the Rio Grande. After your time at Santa Elena travel North on Old Ore Road toward the West park entrance near Study Butte.
The state park trails are more remote, less traveled, and in many cases much more difficult than the national park. Let me know if you would like some info about those trails. Also look into Terlingua Ranch and for a navigation challenge try starting at either South or North County Road. There are hundreds of miles off these roads and no great maps that I have seen. North and South county roads do meet somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Hope this helps!!
 
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Some great tips, Matt, and great suggestions for starting at one entrance of the park and riding dirt to the other.

Have to be careful when not in the National and State Parks but on the Terlingua Ranch roads, however, especially in monsoon season. Most of the roads on the ranch are owned by the property owners and are supposed to be maintained by the property owners association (POATRI). Some are better maintained than others, depending on who is out on their property or how many owners voice the need.

Many--most I'd say--of the property owners there aren't real keen on people making their roads worse in the rainy season, which is easy to do when running through even slightly washed out portions of road. Easy for us as occasional visitor to motor on through and not think much of it, but makes those spots harder for the full-timers there. Many just stay homebound 'til the roads dry.

Additionally, I would not venture off any road or up any drive while on the ranch. Poke around online and you can find property maps for the ranch showing the boundaries of the separate areas like Aqua Fria, Solitario, Cedar Springs, etc. so you know if you are on Terlingua Ranch maintained roads or not.

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Matt L.

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Some great tips, Matt, and great suggestions for starting at one entrance of the park and riding dirt to the other.

Have to be careful when not in the National and State Parks but on the Terlingua Ranch roads, however, especially in monsoon season. Most of the roads on the ranch are owned by the property owners and are supposed to be maintained by the property owners association (POATRI). Some are better maintained than others, depending on who is out on their property or how many owners voice the need.

Many--most I'd say--of the property owners there aren't real keen on people making their roads worse in the rainy season, which is easy to do when running through even slightly washed out portions of road. Easy for us as occasional visitor to motor on through and not think much of it, but makes those spots harder for the full-timers there. Many just stay homebound 'til the roads dry.

Additionally, I would not venture off any road or up any drive while on the ranch. Poke around online and you can find property maps for the ranch showing the boundaries of the separate areas like Aqua Fria, Solitario, Cedar Springs, etc. so you know if you are on Terlingua Ranch maintained roads or not.
Great thoughts. Always respect the land owners. Most of the land outside the parks is private property. Watch the signs.
 

USStrongman

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This is great info and helps me piece together the whos and the whats. We are camping on a friend of a friends 1,500 acre property that includes one of the overlooks into the ghost town and current town. He also has a lading strip and a Cessna 172 and flies people over the parks for a topo view. That will be base camp and every day we will head out and explore. Having thanksgiving dinner at the hotel in town with a group camping with us. This is our first family OL trip. My wife nd I have done NM and CO many times, but my daughter is joining us this time. She wants a Jeep for her first car next spring and this will be a great time to let her get some off road experience.
 

Matt L.

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This is great info and helps me piece together the whos and the whats. We are camping on a friend of a friends 1,500 acre property that includes one of the overlooks into the ghost town and current town. He also has a lading strip and a Cessna 172 and flies people over the parks for a topo view. That will be base camp and every day we will head out and explore. Having thanksgiving dinner at the hotel in town with a group camping with us. This is our first family OL trip. My wife nd I have done NM and CO many times, but my daughter is joining us this time. She wants a Jeep for her first car next spring and this will be a great time to let her get some off road experience.
That sounds awesome. I wish I were headed that way. You got me daydreaming.
My daughter turned 16 yesterday and now has my Jeep. She and my son learned to drive on the backroads of Big Bend and Colorado. They are more comfortable driving a full-size truck on cliffs than a car on a street. It is great having the family together on backcountry trips. I hope you guys have a great time. If I end up in the area I'll message you so we will recognize each other on the trail.
 
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ATune2

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Matt,

I stumbled across this thread today while doing some research on a future trip I would like to take (you know, keeping myself sane during the quarantine). My truck is a 4x4 Tacoma on stock suspension with slightly oversized tires. On the national park service website, it claims that every trail that isn't a maintained dirt road needs high clearance or 4 wheel drive. Do you think I could make it down Old Ore Road, Glenn Spring Road, and River Road East and West on my current configuration? I really want to get off the beaten path and on some trails but I'm not sure my truck is capable enough yet.

Your feedback will be much appreciated,

Aidan
 

Road

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Matt,

I stumbled across this thread today while doing some research on a future trip I would like to take (you know, keeping myself sane during the quarantine). My truck is a 4x4 Tacoma on stock suspension with slightly oversized tires. On the national park service website, it claims that every trail that isn't a maintained dirt road needs high clearance or 4 wheel drive. Do you think I could make it down Old Ore Road, Glenn Spring Road, and River Road East and West on my current configuration? I really want to get off the beaten path and on some trails but I'm not sure my truck is capable enough yet.

Your feedback will be much appreciated,

Aidan
.

I know you were asking Matt, though I'm going to chime in, too, as he hasn't been on the forums since beginning of last Dec.

I've done all those except the entire length of Old Ore with my high-clearance van, towing a trailer, so you should have no problem. That said, you should ALWAYS check with the Vistor's Center at Panther Junction as well as the Alerts page at their NPS site for updated road conditions. They can change rapidly depending on a number of things.

grapevinehills-170914_0039-900.jpg

Stay safe, stay clean, stay positive!


.
 
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ATune2

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.

I know you were asking Matt, though I'm going to chime in, too.

I've done all those except the entire length of Old Ore with my high-clearance van, towing a trailer, so you should have no problem. That said, you should ALWAYS check with the Vistor's Center at Panther Junction as well as the Alerts page at their NPS site for updated road conditions. They can change rapidly depending on a number of things.

View attachment 145757

Stay safe, stay clean, stay positive!


.
Thanks man, I appreciate it!!
 
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huachuca

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Matt,

I stumbled across this thread today while doing some research on a future trip I would like to take (you know, keeping myself sane during the quarantine). My truck is a 4x4 Tacoma on stock suspension with slightly oversized tires. On the national park service website, it claims that every trail that isn't a maintained dirt road needs high clearance or 4 wheel drive. Do you think I could make it down Old Ore Road, Glenn Spring Road, and River Road East and West on my current configuration? I really want to get off the beaten path and on some trails but I'm not sure my truck is capable enough yet.

Your feedback will be much appreciated,

Aidan
"4x4 Tacoma, stock suspension, slightly oversized tires" - that's me and we've driven every road in the National Park without any problems other than a flat. But, as Road advised, check with staff for current conditions. A little rain makes a big difference.
IMG_1502.JPG
 
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Matt L.

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Matt,

I stumbled across this thread today while doing some research on a future trip I would like to take (you know, keeping myself sane during the quarantine). My truck is a 4x4 Tacoma on stock suspension with slightly oversized tires. On the national park service website, it claims that every trail that isn't a maintained dirt road needs high clearance or 4 wheel drive. Do you think I could make it down Old Ore Road, Glenn Spring Road, and River Road East and West on my current configuration? I really want to get off the beaten path and on some trails but I'm not sure my truck is capable enough yet.

Your feedback will be much appreciated,

Aidan
Sorry for the late reply. Yes, your truck can make it easily, minus any technical problems, of course. The only non-maintained road is Black Gap, and you can make that one too.

If you already went, I hope your trip was great.