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Itinerary suggestions for 3 days April 25-28

Chicago
posts: 14
reviews: 2
Itinerary suggestions for 3 days April 25-28

Husband and I could only get reservation at Chisos Lodge for 4 nights. We like to hike (5 miles per day) but also like to raft. Does anyone have suggestions for best way to spend time in the parrk and get the most bang for buck in 3 days? We are renting an SUV. Husband is avid photographer. Are there any "don't miss" photo ops? Thank you in advance for assistance.

San Antonio, Texas
posts: 2,180
reviews: 27
1. Re: Itinerary suggestions for 3 days April 25-28

-- The South Rim is a can't miss photo op if the sky is clear, but it's a 13 mile roundtrip hike (though not too steep anywhere).

-- The drive along the Rio Grande between Big Bend and Presidio, Tx is really pretty in the late afternoon sun too when the mountains are painted orange. Of course, you want to be doing the opposite direction from Presidio to Big Bend at that time (nothing too scenic about looking straight into the sun, lol).

-- If you do the Window Trail (~4 miles roundtrip I think) you might be able to see some black bears. I have a friend who got some great bear pics on it and we had a black bear come down from that trail into the Chisos Basin campground when I stayed there before (I saw it walk back up that trail exiting the campground).

-- The escarpment on the Mexican side of the border just before Santa Elena Canyon is really pretty, as is the canyon itself. It can't be more than a mile and a half as a roundtrip hike through the canyon. I never have taken a boat through the canyon, but I imagine that's the way to see it (can't get too far on foot).

Edited: 12:18 pm, February 19, 2012
Chicago
posts: 14
reviews: 2
2. Re: Itinerary suggestions for 3 days April 25-28

Thank you. How long does it take to drive around the entire park?

Houston, TX
posts: 2,894
reviews: 25
3. Re: Itinerary suggestions for 3 days April 25-28

Just back today from two nights at Big Bend, staying in a Casa Grande unit at Chisos Mountain Lodge. It took us about 45-60 minutes to drive from the Persimmon Gap entrance to the Lodge, with a couple of quick photo stops along the way. It was about 45-50 minutes from the Lodge to the Rio Grande Village area; we drove directly there and made our stops (Boquillas Canyon overlook, etc) on the return. It took us a little more than an hour to drive from the Lodge to the Santa Elena Canyon on the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive. We were advised that for that section of the park we should do the drive on a clear, sunny morning (canyon looks best under those conditions) and be there early in the morning. The volunteer who gave us this advice at the Persimmon Gap entrance station also advised us to drive straight to the canyon and do all the stops, overlooks etc on the way back, since that way you look right at them on the drive, rather than seeing them over your shoulder, if that makes sense to you. We did this, and it was great. Do not miss the Sotol Vista overlook--absolutely stunning view over western side of park, all the way to the canyon. While we thought the geography of the park was fantastic everywhere, the drive to the canyon was our hands down favorite.

Hope you have a great trip.

Chicago
posts: 14
reviews: 2
4. Re: Itinerary suggestions for 3 days April 25-28

Thank you. Did you feel like you covered the park fairly well in 2 days?

Houston, TX
posts: 2,894
reviews: 25
5. Re: Itinerary suggestions for 3 days April 25-28

For us, yes, two days was enough, but we didn't do any long hikes, float trips or off-road things. We spent our time with the drives, overlooks and short walks and star gazing at night. The first night wasn't too good for seeing the stars due to a rain/snow storm, but the second night was clear and fantastic.

San Antonio, Texas
posts: 2,180
reviews: 27
6. Re: Itinerary suggestions for 3 days April 25-28

The drive between Presidio and Big Bend would probably take an hour or hour and a half without stops, I would guess. My friends and I took much longer doing it since we kept seeing stuff we wanted to jump out of the car and explore. Good call on the stargazing, TxOffWeGo; it is absolutely spectacular in Big Bend, with one of the darkest skies in the United States. The McDonald Observatory isn't too far away from the park (60-90 miles?) if you're interested in that also. If one of your days there coincides with a Star Party and the skies are clear you can look through a 36" telescope out there. They had it pointed at Jupiter the time I went.

Chicago, Illinois
posts: 2
7. Re: Itinerary suggestions for 3 days April 25-28

Thanks everyone for the info. We leave in 3 days. We really wanted to raft or canoe Santa Elena canyon but reports say the river is dry. We will hike it as far as possible.

We fly into Midland and wanted to get a few grocery supplies before getting to the park. What are our options for groceries?

Wednesbury, UK
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
posts: 7,796
8. Re: Itinerary suggestions for 3 days April 25-28

Hi all.

Just marking this for our visit in October for some ideas : ).

9. Re: Itinerary suggestions for 3 days April 25-28

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