Big Bend National Park trip - Fiberglass RV


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Old 02-02-2014, 12:18 PM   #1
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Big Bend National Park trip

Hi fellow fiberglassers!
We managed a trip out to Big Bend out in west Texas. With 60 degree days and 30 degree nights, it was perfect camping weather. Maybe not so much for the tent campers all around us but they thawed out when the sun came up over the mountains. The Chisos Basin Campground is right in the heart of the park. NO hookups but plenty of solar opportunity and water nearby. Only one other trailer while we were there and it was a 13' Scamp!

We posted some photos on our site: coolcampcreations.com

Enjoy!
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Old 02-04-2014, 09:38 PM   #2
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Old 02-09-2014, 08:02 PM   #3
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At Big Bend too

We just left Big Bend today, after 5 nights at the Rio Grande Village Campground, which is pretty nice with 100 sites, about half pull-thru. All nights cool to cold, 20s, two days cold, two warm. There is a 25-site commercial campground with hook-ups at Rio Grande Village, but the others offer no hook-ups. Used a Mr. Heater and two 1lb propane bottles each night, worked well, though we had a lot of condensation, even with a window open.

Big Bend is an amazing place with a wide variety of natural wonders to see. It is really out there geographically, so no cell service and two spots with WIFI in a 1,000,000 acre park, half of it is considered wilderness. Two weeks would be a better length of time to visit. February is a good time as it fills up in March. Our campground was about 1/3 occupied. Saw no FGRVs in the park.
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Old 02-09-2014, 08:39 PM   #4
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It is an amazing park for a remote, rugged escape from society during winter. Your right...the NP fills to capacity during the Texas spring break in March.
Did you travel across the river to Boquillas, Mexico? I was wondering what that was like these days?
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Old 02-09-2014, 09:01 PM   #5
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I can't speak about crossing over to Boquillas, nowadays things are a lot more serious concerning the border.

I did manage to see Santa Elena canyon on the Rio Grande. Threw rocks across to the Mexican side of the river ... literally a stone's throw away from Mexico!
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Old 02-09-2014, 10:24 PM   #6
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Paddling down through the Santa Elena Canyon in rented kayaks is a fantastic experience until they shoot down at you from the Mexican side! Lots of bike trails to ride which I find enjoyable. Did you find the hot spring along the river? In 2000, we hiked to the top of Emerald Peak where I proposed to my wife. I figured if she could endure dry tent camping and my desire to hike and bike the Chisos Mountains, she was worth keeping.
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Old 02-09-2014, 10:44 PM   #7
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Went across when at rally in area. Piece of cake...park rangers at border station get you started, take row boat across ($5), can walk, horse, donkey or truck to village. Assigned a "host" who takes you to mexican customs office, show pass port, fill out a short paper and host follows you around to answer questions. Two resturants in village, owner of one visited with while we ate (she has dual citizenship and went to high scool in Stockton, Tx. After that border crossing was closed 12 years ago.) When ready to cross back over, go to mexican customs to check out, go to river, go to ranger station on park side, they call el paso, and you speak with a customs officier showing your pass port thru this machine.

Boat was $5 round trip and truck ride was $5 round trip. "Host" got a tip....I think they rotate these jobs so people in village has a chance to earn a little money. Resturant owner said going shopping was 160 miles rd. Trip on a dirt road. Village lost population when crossing was closed for 10+ years. Houses being fixed, lots of solar units, new health center, and a new school.
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Old 02-10-2014, 06:13 AM   #8
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Thanks for that great report. We are over due for a trip back down to enjoy the area. Before the border crossing closed, we found the Mexican adventure very enjoyable.
The town had no power, very poor, but just the most friendly, appreciative, and humble people on earth. I was happy to spend my US tourist dollars in support. That was before the extreme drug violence started.
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Old 02-10-2014, 08:00 AM   #9
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We are headed for BBNP first week of April.

Is that a "busy" time for campground reservations?

Also how rough are the back country dirt roads? We are flirting with the idea of trying one of the back country sites with our Lil Snoozy towed by a Jeep Grand Cherokee. Absent rain should we expect any issues with the dirt roads?
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Old 02-10-2014, 09:10 AM   #10
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Sad that border was closed due to 9/11

I can't add much to Imogene's report as we experienced the same last week. Carrying organic material or minerals across in not allowed, except for walking sticks made from cactus. The whole experience seemed very safe as did the rest of our stay in TX and along the border. The majority of people we encountered were snowbirds from MI, MN, & WI, most of them seniors. There were more younger folks in BB.

Not sure about taking a trailer into back-country, suggest you contact the park. Trailers over 20' and RVs over 24' are discouraged on the roads to Chisos and Cottonwood campgrounds due to several tight switchbacks. I realize this wouldn't be a problem for FGRVs. We preferred the RG Village CG, which did have several mega 5th-wheels. Staying there does leave you 25 or 50 miles from some of the better trails. All Ranger programs were held at Chisos, 25 miles, during our stay.

Throwing rocks into or across canyons is strongly discouraged throughout the park.
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Old 02-10-2014, 09:36 AM   #11
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Have you called the park or made reservations? April is a great time to visit. Texas spring break is the second full week of March. Campgrounds could be busy. It seldom rains @ BBNP. But when it does...the desert blooms and comes alive. The backcounty roads are rough but travelable with common sense. Sand and rock. Watch out for that loose sand which will suck you down to your axles. Keep a watch out for mountain lions, havalina, bandits, and rattlers. Bring your friend Colt. Keep food put away while unattended. Take plenty of fresh drinking water at all times while out and about. Have fuel, food, and supplies because it's desolote. Very very little cell phone coverage. Most of all...enjoy!
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Old 12-02-2014, 06:58 PM   #12
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I understand the road into the Chisos Basin campground is curvy and has the 20' trailer limit (Our 16' Scamp is safe), but is it very steep? Paved?
We're thinking of going there the first week of January 2015.
Any favorite loops/sites in Chisos Basin? Looks like loop 1 is filled already for our time frame.
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Old 12-02-2014, 07:04 PM   #13
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Road is paved, smooth, yes curvy, but we had no problem with our Casita last year. In fact we hope to be there for New Year's Eve this year!


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Old 12-02-2014, 07:13 PM   #14
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Here's our posting from last year:

http://www.coolcampcreations.com/201...-park.html?m=1


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Old 12-02-2014, 08:00 PM   #15
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We were there last April http://wanderingourway.wordpress.com...national-park/ is our blog post about it.

Wonderful place! Who knew they had mountains in Texas?

The road to Chisos is paved and curvy but not that bad, a big semi could make it easily.

The campground, though, is very tight and twisty. Our 17' Snoozy was plenty to maneuver through there.

If you are coming south from I10 Fort Davis SP is right on your way and pretty nice too.


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Old 12-02-2014, 09:24 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brian m. View Post
Here's our posting from last year:

Cool Stuff for the Cool Camper: A Trip to Big Bend National Park


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Thanks Brian, I just realized we met you at Bluebonnett this year, we got some "half the size, twice the fun" T-shirts.
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Old 12-02-2014, 09:26 PM   #17
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Awesome! Hope our paths cross out at Big Bend.


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Old 12-03-2014, 12:07 AM   #18
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Chisos looked interesting when were there, but one has to remember it's about 1000 ft above Rio Grand Village. In warmer months it can be cooler at Chisos and nice. Colder, well the warmer Rio Grand Village is nice.
One problem with Chisos one of the times were there, it snowed at Panther Junction and above. The road to Chisos was closed and campers couldn't get in or out. The only services for food and propane are where you couldn't get to them. At Rio Grand Village the store for gas, food, laundry, showers, and propane is close at hand.
Something to think about.
Also there's an interesting walk along the river and up over a low peak.

Not going to make it back this year, but Anne says we are next year.
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Old 12-03-2014, 07:24 AM   #19
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As Brian noted, you won't have any problems getting to the Basin campground with your Scamp. We've made the trip multiple times in both a 16 and our current 19. Site 047 is our favorite. Three different views of it.




Big Bend is our favorite NP but be aware that Christmas / New Years and Spring Break (mid March) are the two busiest times so be sure to get reservations. Because the Park is so large, we always spend several days there and often camp in all three campgrounds to minimize the driving and they each offer a different camping experience.

If you want any suggestions for trails or backroad drives, let me know. I'd also suggest a visit to the ghost town of Terlingua which is just outside the Park on the west end and a meal there at the Starlight Theater.

Edit - Missed Byron's post. He's right about snow in the Basin and the road closing. We've been there a few times when that happened - once while we were on an overnight hike on the South Rim (that got me a lot of points with Cindy!!). But the high desert is awesome with the white stuff on the ground; be sure to take the Lost Mine Trail if you do get snow. Also, there is a restaurant and a convenience store in the Basin so you won't starve if you can't get out.

Enjoy your visit - Al & Cindy
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Old 12-03-2014, 12:09 PM   #20
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Thanks for good info. I am hearing from more and more people how beautiful Big Bend is. I's been on our list for a while now. (Nice TV and TT combination - like ours, just different color Tacoma.)
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