Big Bend National Park trip - Page 3 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-19-2015, 01:08 PM   #29
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Rob, I've seen Class A's, tour buses and tractor trailers in the Basin so you should be able to make it as well. If you have concerns, there's a small parking lot on the right just as you turn onto the road leading up to the Basin where you could drop the Oliver and make the drive with only the F150 to check it out.

The Basin Campground is indeed tight and the back section (loop 3) has a very small hairpin at the end. I'd suggest parking at the entrance and doing a walk through to familiarize yourself with the layout. Do you have a site reserved and if so, which one?
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Old 01-19-2015, 01:28 PM   #30
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Ah, thats encouraging then. Shoot if a Class A and tour bus can do this should be reasonable for me. I do remember that parking lot too. Will probably stay away from loop 3 then. Good idea to do a walk through have had to do this a few times even with out T@b with small tight campgrounds. Not Reservations yet, we are still in the early stages of planning with a bunch of stuff on our bucket list already. Thanks for all the good info.
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Old 01-19-2015, 01:28 PM   #31
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Thanks for posting this with pics, I have always wanted to go to Big Bend NP. Especially in April. So far away from where I live... Thanks again.
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Old 01-19-2015, 01:32 PM   #32
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LOL, Big Bend is far from where almost anyone lives. Seriously it has to qualify for being the most off the beaten path of all the Nat Parks, in the lower 48 at least. But it is a very unique place and well worth the effort. April as I understand is a better month than March due to the annual bird migration. Apparently its quite the flyway with migratory birds. The yucca cactus bloom is nothing short of amazing down there. Giant yuccas!

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Originally Posted by D Davis View Post
Thanks for posting this with pics, I have always wanted to go to Big Bend NP. Especially in April. So far away from where I live... Thanks again.
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Old 01-19-2015, 01:55 PM   #33
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Hi Rob,
Yes the road into Chisos is curvy but nice. I believe the trailer size "limit" is 20 ft. and 24 ft. for motorhomes according to the NPS website.

I only counted a handful of sites that would work with our 17 ft. Casita and 1/2 ton pickup truck.
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Old 01-19-2015, 04:57 PM   #34
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With a Jeep Grand Cherokee and a 17' trailer I thought the road was nothing. The campground is tight though.

We spent the first week of April there. Beautiful flowers everywhere. Warm days cool nights.

Furthest we have ever gotten in a car from civilization.


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Old 01-19-2015, 06:47 PM   #35
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Rob - If you're planning a March visit, you should check site availability ASAP and make your reservations. That's the busiest month in the Park due to the college kids coming down for Spring Break. If you can't get into the Basin, RGV (not the private parking lot by the same name) on the east end isn't bad and neither is Cottonwood on the west side. And April is a great time to visit.

Diane - We're up in the northeast corner of NC and have made the trip several times. There are lots of great camping opportunities between here and Big Bend to break up the drive.


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Old 01-19-2015, 07:52 PM   #36
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Had not even thought about that, makes sense, will do. The more I look at Cottonwood the more appealing it seems, given our rather self sufficient capabilities with the Oliver once its built. Wish I could be there in Apr, but just not in the cards this go around. It is worth noting for anyone else planning a visit in Big Bend apparently they are in a serious drought with very limited water supplies. Prepare accordingly.

Thanks for the heads up Al & Cindy
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Old 01-19-2015, 10:45 PM   #37
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Thanks, Al & Cindy K.
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Old 01-22-2015, 07:09 PM   #38
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Great Info we should have our new Oliver this summer and plan on going to Quartzite next Feb and stopping in Big Bend on the way back probably in March so great heads up on the college kids for Reservations. I have been wanting to do the Bend for a couple years now. Thanks for the Pic's and info.
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Old 01-22-2015, 08:04 PM   #39
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Hi Rob,
Our plans are to be at Ft. Davis, then Rio Grande Valley Campground early in March, the 7 to the 11th.
GL Mark
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Old 01-22-2015, 09:23 PM   #40
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We checked out all 3 of the NPS campgrounds while there this month. We stayed at Chisos Basin with our 16' Scamp and Dodge Dakota quad cab all 5 nights. We had picked our site based on the sites available and looking at the map. Our site # 42 was along the road on the 2nd loop, just a small siding where you pull over, so when you unhook it's almost like being parked on the side of a residential street. We just hoped that no-one would take that curve too fast when the freezing rain hit or they might end up in our bedroom. The view was spectacular though!
It would be a good idea to check Google maps satellite view before you pick a site at Chisos, some are better for large combinations than others.

They were still finishing up work on the Chisos dump station so there was no place to dump at Chisos Basin while we were there (looks like just minor finishing work left to do as of last week).

The Cottonwood campsite would be ideal for access to Santa Elena canyon hikes or kayaking. It appeared they only have one potable water outlet there, the rest of the faucets stated "non-potable".

The NPS Rio Grande village campsites were nice, and good for touring from that part of the park. There are also showers available for a fee at the camp store there, along with a laundromat.
The recommendation to spend a little time at each campground is a great one!

The road to Chisos was not as bad as I feared. It's a steady climb uphill but never steep long enough to cause any problems. I think our Subaru Outback would have performed well although we used our V8 Dakota. Good brakes for the downhill portions are probably more important than power on this road.

Fuel and propane are pricey at Big Bend. I had to exchange a bottle while there for about $30 (they can refill at the RV village but only on certain days when the propane guy works). Surprisingly, fuel was about 20 cents cheaper (but still pricey) at the RV village station than the Panther junction station, even though it was farther from civilization. Guess that can fluctuate often though. We used more propane for our heater than expected due to the low temps while we were there.

We drove down the Grapevine road to Balanced Rock and were surprised to see 2 boondocking areas along the road (no toilets or water). Seems you can camp there as long as you get a permit, don't know if those are free or not. Those are pretty close to Panther Junction so would be a good central touring base.

We will definitely go back again!
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Old 01-23-2015, 11:01 AM   #41
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Good information John & Marilyn. I remember the grapevine road did some hiking out in that area. Its also worth mentioning we also saw some campers isolated over by the Mariscal mines. This is a long, rough gravel road drive that starts at Rio Grande Village and comes out close to the Castalon District if memory serves me right and we also saw some boon docking taking place on the gravel road up to dagger flats from Rio Grande Village. It might be a bit tight and extreme to haul a travel trailer through these parts however. The campers we saw were either tent or truck campers.
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Old 01-23-2015, 01:36 PM   #42
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Roadside camping is available for up to fourteen nights with a site specific back country camping permit for $10 ($5 with a geezer pass). A few of those located along the 'improved primitive dirt roads' might work for an egg. Road conditions change significantly after any rain so I'd suggest first asking Park staff for recommendations and then dropping the camper and checking out potential sites with only your vehicle before committing. NOTE: We've driven in and tent camped and overnight backpacked into the back country but I have no first hand experience with roadside camping there in a trailer.

Roadside camping sites Primitive Roadside Campsites - Big Bend National Park (U.S. National Park Service)

Park map w/all roads, campgrounds and roadside camping sites Primitive Dirt Roads - Big Bend National Park (U.S. National Park Service)


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