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Old 02-22-2010, 08:15 AM   #1
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Boondocking Big Bend National Park

We are headed to Big Bend in a couple of weeks and would like your tips on boondocking (with a generator) inside the park. Specifically, which campground or area that you have tried.

Thanks to all!
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Old 02-22-2010, 09:01 AM   #2
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Of the 3 established campgrounds Rio Grande Village is your only option. Generators are prohibited at the Cottonwood campground, and Chisos Basin has a 20' trailer length limit.

Camping is permitted in a few backcountry locations, if you are up for travel on rough roads.
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Old 02-22-2010, 09:05 AM   #3
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Make reservations as available spaces fill up quickly!
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Old 02-22-2010, 06:55 PM   #4
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We stopped at BB on our return from New Mexico last September. The drive from the visitor center to Cottonwoods was worth it. And we had the entire campground to ourselves!
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Old 02-22-2010, 09:02 PM   #5
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BB is gorgeous, I am sure you will enjoy! I don't have our pictures handy at the moment, but we boondocked in (I think) Rio Grande Village - right on the river. In fact, we spent Thanksgiving there and fried up a turkey. No problems with the generator (limited times), but you need to tank up on water before hand - I don't believe there are any utilities there at the sites. Just watch out for the Havelena's - not a friendly bunch.
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Old 02-22-2010, 09:06 PM   #6
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[QUOTE= Just watch out for the Havelena's - not a friendly bunch.[/QUOTE]

Do you recommend firearms?
Bob
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Old 02-22-2010, 09:13 PM   #7
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Do you recommend firearms?
Bob
I don't think they'd taste that good!?!
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Old 02-23-2010, 01:07 AM   #8
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visiting BigBend Natl Park area

Hey, KeepBreathing-- nice rig and fun blog there.

You asked only about camping, but I'll put in my 2 cents about misc. in case you h/not visited here before.
Big Bend / Brewster County / Trans-Pecos area is wonderful.
Look carefully at maps, mileage, terrain, etc.-- all spread out.

Getting to BBNP, drop-dead gorgeous approach --
starting in morning from Marfa, go south. Starting about halfway to Presidio, the scenery is great, gets better. (Optional lunch stop at El Patio in Presidio. Few other chow-choices there.)
From Presidio, east on the river road toward BBNP. Allow time for multiple gawk-stops for Rio Grande vistas. Making eastward drive in afternoon (Presidio to BBNP), you avoid squinting into sun and glare as you sightsee.

Just before BBNP, Terlingua & Study Butte have a couple places to eat, optional.
Then into the park itself.
Enjoy BBNP. Hike, lounge, drive, etc. Others can make more specific rec's.
Leaving park,drive slowly enough to enjoy views northward to Marathon.
Now you are on you own to next destination.

But, depending on # of days & your personal interests, pls. consider, before or after your BBNP stay, other exploration --
---couple hours/half day/full day in Alpine (Museum of the Big Bend at Sul Ross Univ.? A morning latte at Bread & Breakfast?)
---same in Marfa (burger at Jett's Grill in Paisano Hotel? or other eatery. Art galleries? Donald Judd fndtn? the "Marfa Lights"?)
---same in Ft. Davis (loop-tour-drive, ~ 170 mi. long? Old Fort Davis, Natl Hist. site? Malt at Caboose, a converted RR car across from fort? Drinks at old Hotel Lympia?).
--- Marathon (a beer at historic Gage Hotel?)

Many things to do besides BBNP, too many to list here. Depending on your interests, google and read.

Welcome to the Last Frontier; Happy & Safe Travels,

from a couple of ex-fulltimers (now living near Alpine)
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Old 02-23-2010, 06:25 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by al66pine View Post
Hey, KeepBreathing-- nice rig and fun blog there.

You asked only about camping, but I'll put in my 2 cents about misc. in case you h/not visited here before.
Big Bend / Brewster County / Trans-Pecos area is wonderful.
Look carefully at maps, mileage, terrain, etc.-- all spread out.

Getting to BBNP, drop-dead gorgeous approach --
starting in morning from Marfa, go south. Starting about halfway to Presidio, the scenery is great, gets better. (Optional lunch stop at El Patio in Presidio. Few other chow-choices there.)
From Presidio, east on the river road toward BBNP. Allow time for multiple gawk-stops for Rio Grande vistas. Making eastward drive in afternoon (Presidio to BBNP), you avoid squinting into sun and glare as you sightsee.

Just before BBNP, Terlingua & Study Butte have a couple places to eat, optional.
Then into the park itself.
Enjoy BBNP. Hike, lounge, drive, etc. Others can make more specific rec's.
Leaving park,drive slowly enough to enjoy views northward to Marathon.
Now you are on you own to next destination.

But, depending on # of days & your personal interests, pls. consider, before or after your BBNP stay, other exploration --
---couple hours/half day/full day in Alpine (Museum of the Big Bend at Sul Ross Univ.? A morning latte at Bread & Breakfast?)
---same in Marfa (burger at Jett's Grill in Paisano Hotel? or other eatery. Art galleries? Donald Judd fndtn? the "Marfa Lights"?)
---same in Ft. Davis (loop-tour-drive, ~ 170 mi. long? Old Fort Davis, Natl Hist. site? Malt at Caboose, a converted RR car across from fort? Drinks at old Hotel Lympia?).
--- Marathon (a beer at historic Gage Hotel?)

Many things to do besides BBNP, too many to list here. Depending on your interests, google and read.

Welcome to the Last Frontier; Happy & Safe Travels,

from a couple of ex-fulltimers (now living near Alpine)
All very good recommendations. The name "Rio Grande Village" is a bit of a misnomer. It is in fact a convenience store and check in area that sells about 12 retail items (I exaggerate). There are actually two campgrounds there - one with water and electricity, but it is literally a parking lot! We originally had reservations there, then quickly changed to the boondocking campground 100 feet away, and it was terrific - steel cages to be used to protect food from the Havelena's, which are kind of like wild boars that roam the campground.

Bring comfortable shoes for hiking, and there are the mud pits which we did not get to, but are highly recommended by everyone - kind of like a natural hot tub.

But the area is drop dead gorgeous, and the last I knew was the least visited of all the national parks - only I think because it is so out there - for us in a good way. Enjoy!
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Old 02-23-2010, 11:11 AM   #10
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Just a heads up in case you haven't already heard this, but BBNP is a very popular destination for spring breakers......you may be one....and the park fills up fast. March 6 is the start date for arrivals according to park headquarters. We will be there next week, staying in a cabin in the basin. Have only camped in the desert once, in a small motorhome with friends on a backcountry road, KBar#2. Most of those type campsites are really geared to tent camping as there's not a lot of room to manuver, and the roads can be pretty rough. Also, they don't reserve backcountry sites until the day before which makes it pretty hard if you're looking for a place for the night of arrival. I suggest you call Panther Junction ranger station in the park to get the most up to date information and maybe suggestions. If this is your first trip, prepare to be blown away. We return every year at this time, this being our 13th trip.

Joy M.....watching a beautiful snowfall in San Angelo of all places!
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Old 02-23-2010, 12:51 PM   #11
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BBNP & Brewster County, TX.

Deauxrite / KeepBreathing

Ditto above re extremely limited food & bev's in BBNP, so suggesting--
---come w. your food, bev's & other supplies,
---secure supplies in Alpine or Marfa grocery stores, or
---depend on other limited choices elsewhere.

FYI, in case you or other forum members are googling, the Havelena critters
described and pix'ed above are javelinas, about knee-high to adult humanoids.

Keep your camera & binocs handy.

(Good photos, jdthor & nilesrob and good camping advice, joy m.)

al66pine
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Old 02-23-2010, 12:52 PM   #12
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I haven't been there, since 1996, but from what I remember it was gorgeous; we tent camped at the time. I remember going to the hot springs there and having an enjoyable time, until I found out that the slimy stuff in the water was bat poop....then the bats came out...
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Old 02-23-2010, 01:13 PM   #13
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Y'all that live in Texas have seen what the weather has been like. It's 32 degrees here in Boerne, TX right now and we are expecting an inch of snow this afternoon. Marfa's lows have remained in the 20's all this week so the weather in Big Bend is going to be similar or colder in the Chiso's. So bring warm clothes and a gen will be necessary to boondock in order to keep the battery up to run the furnace blower. Javelina's in the park are not freindly. Avoid contact. Firearms are not allowed in National Parks so don't even consider shooting one.
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Old 02-23-2010, 02:39 PM   #14
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...It's 32 degrees here in Boerne, TX right now and we are expecting an inch of snow this afternoon...
We got 4" this morning. Low tonight is expected at 25*...
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