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Topic: Big Bend family trip, no idea what to plan for.< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 15 2012, 6:45 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I  haven't been to Big Bend since I was a kid but would like to take a family trip the days before Thanksgiving 17-21 which I hear are pretty busy.  I have a 5yr old boy and a 9yr old girl and would like to get plenty of hiking in, either day hikes or backpacking but would like to see as much as we can without overdoing it with the kids.

I honestly don't remember much about Big bend so I have no idea what to plan for.  I was thinking maybe a night in Cottonwood cg,  if there's space, check out the Santa Elena canyon, maybe 2 nights in the chisos bc, If I can get the permits.  One drawback is we'll be going in a sedan so no high clearance roads for us.

Any ideas or particular sites we should fit in while we are there?  Any help would be appreciated.  I can also go in Dec when the kids are out of school so if you think I should wait till then please let me know.

Thank you.


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 15 2012, 11:52 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Well...............don't let your kids get very far away from you, even at the lodge.

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 16 2012, 11:45 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

A very do-able day hike for kids and enjoyable for adults is to start at Rio Grande Village and hike to the Hot Springs and back (about 6 miles round trip)

Rio Grande Village used to be called Boquillas.

Another great day hike is the Window in the Chisos Basin.

Steve


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 17 2012, 2:04 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

A kid friendly dayhike is the Grapevine Hills trail, mostly desert floor hiking with a little scrambling at the end to the "balanced rock".

The Lost Mine trail is a little more advanced dayhike but the views are great.

The weekend of Thanksgiving is busy, don't be suprised if the campgrounds are full.


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 17 2012, 10:14 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

We went in 2007, when our kids were 8 and 9.  If these forums had decent search software, not to mention archives that go back that long, you could probably find a TR.  We spent a night rafting (not St. Elena cyn, as that was short on water, but the more remote Mariscal Canyon.  Doing this also meant that, since the raft company drove us in there, we did get to do some roads that the rental car could not).  Also hiked to the mouth of Santa Elena, and the Burro Mesa pour-off, and spent a night at one of the primitive campsites (drive-in, but no services).  Then headed up to the Chisos Basin, hiked the Window, and spent two nights backpacking the mountains.

Water is a big issue for backpacking, especially when you are already probably carrying some gear for the kids.  My husband did the something like 5 miles RT to our first camp with a pack full of water, cached it, then hiked in again with the kids and me.  We kept pack mileage short, and dayhiked out to the south rim (had dinner there and hiked back with our headlamps).

We were there in late March, so conditions would be warmer and with more daylight than November or December.

Feel free to PM me if you want any other info about doing the trip with our kids.  We hit the Village only briefly, for showers and laundry.


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 18 2012, 7:34 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(RebeccaD @ Oct. 17 2012, 10:14 pm)
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If these forums had decent search software, not to mention archives that go back that long, you could probably find a TR.  

Yeah, they purged the archives a few years ago, despite the fact that disk space has become vanishingly inexpensive.

Anyway, for more great info, try Big Bend Chat

Steve


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 18 2012, 3:34 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Big Bend is a great place to take kids. If you can't get a car camping spot in the Basin, you might try a Juniper Flat or Boulder Meadow backcountry spot - only about a mile from the parking lot.

http://www.nps.gov/bibe....res.pdf

(Page 33 shows the best view in Texas, but you'll have to wait until the kids are a little older)
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 18 2012, 6:41 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

You should check out Big Bend Ranch State Park while you're there. Kind of like the NP, except they're glad you came by.

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 18 2012, 9:20 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

When we went, we camped at Cottonwood the whole week and just drove to wherever we wanted to hike.  It was really fun!  We had three families with kids under the age of 10 - the youngest kids were probably 6 at the time.

We hiked the Lower Burro Mesa and the Upper Burro Mesa trails, the Boquillas Canyon trail that somebody else mentioned, the Santa Elena Canyon, a couple of trails in the Chisos Basin area it seems, and a bunch of other trails that I don't remember any more, and we paddled the Rio Grande one day.  The kids all did a junior ranger project and got a badge, which they liked.

What a great park!  It's on my RETURN TO list.


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 18 2012, 9:31 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

That's a great time of year to hike the South Rim, as the color change on the trees near the branch off to the South Rim from the Colima trail is pretty. You'll have to carry lots of water for everyone though if you want to backpack it, as I'm not sure there is reliable water (I didn't see any when I dayhiked it a couple of years ago in late November).
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 19 2012, 12:47 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks for the responses everyone.  Are the BC permits first come first serve year round?  Still in the early planning but either Im doing something wrong or only the group campground is available in cottonwood on any week till Oct 2003.  Either way there are still plenty of campsites open in the Basin.  

Rebecca I will take you on on that as soon as I at least set a week to go.

Thanks again


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 21 2012, 11:12 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Santa Elena Canyon is a must do.  The border was supposed to be re-opening.  Not sure if it has yet but if it has you could go across to Mexico I think.  A little more challenging hike if I remember was Cattail Falls, which is not marked on the map but was one of the highlights.  There's a whole forum page dedicated to Big Bend called bigbendchat.com.  Go there and I'm sure you can get more info than you'd ever want.
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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 21 2012, 11:16 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(crgowo @ Oct. 19 2012, 12:47 am)
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either Im doing something wrong or only the group campground is available in cottonwood on any week till Oct 2003.  

This is either because
A) the campground is first come first served
B) recreation.gov hasn't opened it up for reservations yet

Just call the park.  They're really good with frontcountry questions.


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 21 2012, 11:11 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Except for the group sites Cottonwood is not reservable

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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 22 2012, 10:41 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Just got back from BiBe and a 2 night trip on the South Rim. It was really nice. I would think the Boulder Meadow backcountry site would be ok w/kids and dayhike. We were there Oct 12 n 13th and there was lots of water (we got rain).

Have fun!!!! And, yes, keep the kids close. I'm guessing you've seen reports of previous mountain lion attacks. I think the latest was last Feb near the Chisos Mountain Lodge, so be cautious.


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PostIcon Posted on: Oct. 23 2012, 3:59 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Big Bend is one of the least visited National Parks but fills up around Christmas.  I'd stick to the Chisos or the state park if it's your first time (mountains and exposed ridges, so pack for any storms).  There's some low lying areas away from the main loop but are a pain to navigate, agricultural run-off in the (salty) water, etc...

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