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Hiring a travel guide or not? First time in BBNP

Philadelphia...
posts: 6
reviews: 4
Hiring a travel guide or not? First time in BBNP

Hi all,

Appreciate responses. I am going to Big Bend around early March 14' and wanted to know if I should hire a tour guide through the park or just rough it with my traveling companion...neither of us have any experience with the park or hiking in general? Also, is it easy to navigate with a ford mustang convertible in the park and find places easily? I wanted to rent a nice sports car so I can enjoy the drive down from Midland and really enjoy the scenery. After the park is there anywhere not crazy driving distance to visit worth it...rio grande? I may have around 7-9 days and could fly into midland and leave from different airport.

Thank you for all responses in advance!

Aubrey, Texas
posts: 10,175
reviews: 145
1. Re: Hiring a travel guide or not? First time in BBNP

Here's a link to a good article on the area …nationalgeographic.com/travel/…

The films mentioned were shot near Marfa as was the 50s epic Giant. http://www.visitmarfa.com

Not mentioned are Ft. Davis, Davis Mountains State Park and the McDonald Observatory which are worth visiting if you have time.

The longer you have for your visit the better. Note that March is a busy month in the park due to Spring Break season. Not that it will be crowded by any means but lodging is limited. Stay in the Chisos Mountains Lodge if you can while visiting BBNP.

You can easily navigate the park by yourself. The main roads are paved so your car choice will be fine.

Houston
Destination Expert
for Houston
posts: 2,118
reviews: 209
2. Re: Hiring a travel guide or not? First time in BBNP

Michael--I agree with texhills about being able to negotiate the park by yourself. The link he provided gives you many good places to visit.

If you want to see some different sights after 4-5 days in the park and the surrounding area described above, you might head over to the Hill Country, including Fredericksburg, Kerrville, Bandera, Boerne, Gruene, and finally into San Antonio, where you could easily spend a couple of days and nights, and fly out of San Antonio. You could even drive roughly 1.5 hours north to Austin if you wanted to sample their music venues. Both cities have fairly good air connections--probably far better than Midland.

Houston, TX
posts: 3,358
reviews: 25
3. Re: Hiring a travel guide or not? First time in BBNP

Re the car--you will be able to navigate through the park, on the paved roads, just fine in the Mustang. Obviously, you will not be able to go off-road, but you don't need to do that to see the park. Make sure you drive the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive--allow 2-3 hours for that.

As mentioned, March is very busy in the park. If you want to stay inside the park, and you don't want to camp, there is only one hotel--the Chisos Mountain Lodge. Check ASAP for a room--they accept bookings beginning a year in advance and March usually sells out. Call them directly; often cancellations occur and you may luck into a room. Spring break will be from about March 8-16 for most Texas schools, so chances are slim for that week of finding something. There are small towns outside the park, such as Marathon, Terlingua and Lajitas with a few places to stay, but then you lose time each day doing back and forth. For example, it will take about 70 minutes, including a Border Patrol inspection stop if the station is open, for the one way drive from Marathon just to the entrance to the park; another 30 to the main visitor center at Panther Junction, and then another 30 up to the lodge area and hikes that start there.

Re the guide--seems like most people who visit the park do so on their own. Do a bit of reading about the park and the hikes before you go. When you pay your admission fee, you will get some brochures with info about Ranger walks, etc which also have info about the hikes. Talk to the Rangers at both visitor centers and be honest about your level of experience--they can suggest some things that will be right for you. Take their advice and don't be overly ambitious--BBNP is vast; it's easy to underestimate the distances involved and overestimate what you can do.

4. Re: Hiring a travel guide or not? First time in BBNP

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