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Old 05-07-2019, 09:38 AM
 
447 posts, read 296,731 times
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Hi,

We're heading to Big Bend in a couple of weeks because we have a wedding to attend in Del Rio and thought this may be the closest we'll be to BB so why not drive the extra miles and check it out.

We'll have 2 full days to hike, etc. Staying in Marathon at the Gage Hotel.

Any suggested hikes for a couple of 50 somethings that are in good shape and have done some pretty good hiking before? (Big Sur, Patagiona, Chile, The Riverplace Trail)

Also, best route and a good plae to stop for lunch on the way assuming a departing time from the Four Points area at 8:30 AM.

Thanks!
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Old 05-07-2019, 09:43 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
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The hikes starting from Chisos Basin have varying lengths and the climate is wonderful compared to the desert floor.

And if you are up for it, a ride down the river is quite scenic. I think this is the same company we used 35 years ago (the only time we hired a guide company):
https://www.bigbendrivertours.com/
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Old 05-07-2019, 10:06 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX via San Antonio, TX
7,901 posts, read 10,132,754 times
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May want to ask in the dedicated "Texas" forum for more results.
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Old 05-07-2019, 11:13 PM
 
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You will be there at the hottest time of the year.

I know this because I did Big Bend last year for Memorial Day.

Leave to hike early, probably around 4:30 am if you're staying in Marathon. It will likely get to 110+ in low lying areas. Take much more water than you think you need. Stay in the Chisos Mountains unless it is early or you think you can take the heat. The Lost Mine Trail, Santa Elena Canyon, and sunset through the Window are must-dos.
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Old 05-08-2019, 08:39 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
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Santa Elena Canyon is a must. If you get hot you can go swimming in the Rio Grande, we did and also crossed the midpoint of the river just to say we went to Mexico too! The water will be low because the monsoon season hasn't started in NM yet (it starts in July).
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Old 05-08-2019, 08:58 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
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Good weather/river info page:
https://www.desertsportstx.com/daily-report/

And while it is typical low for this time of year, it is much higher this year than normal:
https://waterdata.usgs.gov/usa/nwis/...3,00060,137459

Averaging 83 cfm for this date (over the last 11 years) but currently flowing at 370 cfm. The average flow is actually significantly higher at the end of the month compared to the beginning (<100 cfm up to ~400 cfm). Not exactly rafting weather, but if you have experience in canoes, the canyons are awesome.

And yes, this is the hottest month of the year there - but you won't notice a big difference in temperatures until September. It will average over 100 F until then. The dry air cools off nicely at night, though.
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Old 05-08-2019, 09:33 AM
 
447 posts, read 296,731 times
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I appreciate the responses. Esp. the temp. info. Wouldn't have thought it was that hot in May so good intel.

The Santa Elena Canyon is a must. We're 2 hours away in marathon so an early morning hike is probably not going to happen.

Would the next best be a late afternoon hike, say around 5ish?
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Old 05-08-2019, 11:55 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DMChicago View Post
I appreciate the responses. Esp. the temp. info. Wouldn't have thought it was that hot in May so good intel.

The Santa Elena Canyon is a must. We're 2 hours away in marathon so an early morning hike is probably not going to happen.

Would the next best be a late afternoon hike, say around 5ish?
Santa Elena Canyon would be shaded by late afternoon so yes, 5ish is good. Bring plenty of water and salty snacks, it is a dry heat so if you're hydrated and salted up, you're good to go.

If you need a day hike, do the Chisos Mountain trail. It'll be nice at that elevation, probably mid 70's to mid 80's. Save the valley floor for morning or evening.
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Old 05-08-2019, 01:32 PM
 
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The Window and Lost Mine trails are good mountain hikes that will take a few hours each and because they are at a higher elevation will be cooler than the desert. The South Rim hike is very nice but will take most of the day, it's a long hike with lots of elevation gain so it's for advanced hikers (which it sounds like you are). Santa Elena Canyon is great, I've never done the full hike though, was too hot. I like to wade around in the river there. Boquillas canyon trail and Balanced Rock are also a nice hikes but they will be hot and should be early morning hikes! If the river isn't flooded the hot spring is a great way to spend the evening hours. The hot spring hike is also worth it for the old buildings and petrograms. A visit to Starlight Theater and/or La Kiva in Terlingua for dinner and a beer after a long day of hiking is also wonderful.
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Old 05-08-2019, 02:57 PM
 
Location: Jollyville, TX
4,441 posts, read 10,140,127 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DMChicago View Post
Hi,

We're heading to Big Bend in a couple of weeks because we have a wedding to attend in Del Rio and thought this may be the closest we'll be to BB so why not drive the extra miles and check it out.

We'll have 2 full days to hike, etc. Staying in Marathon at the Gage Hotel.

Any suggested hikes for a couple of 50 somethings that are in good shape and have done some pretty good hiking before? (Big Sur, Patagiona, Chile, The Riverplace Trail)

Also, best route and a good plae to stop for lunch on the way assuming a departing time from the Four Points area at 8:30 AM.

Thanks!
Assuming you're driving straight to Marathon from Austin and not going to Del Rio first:

There are basically 2 routes you can take - one is to take 290 West and go through Fredericksburg and pick up I-10 at Junction. Fredericksburg is only ~2 hours out but it's probably the last place to grab a decent bite before Ft. Stockton. The other route is even more remote and takes you up 183 to 29 and out to Mason where you can either take 377 to Junction or keep going to Menard and pick up 190 which parallels I-10 and dumps you out just west of Iraan. Time-wise it's about the same so it depends on if you want a more rural scenic route or the directness of I-10.

If you can hold out the 5+ hours to Ft. Stockton, there is a K-Bob's there that is pretty good. I know it's not the kind of place you'd pick if you were in Austin, but given the lack of other options, it's half decent.
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