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Texas Backpacking?
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Conrad Stoll
(cnstoll) - F
Colorado Bend SP on 02/07/2010 21:01:30 MST Print View

I just spent the weekend at Colorado Bend and I was surprised to find this there:
Colo bend

It's got some pretty good trails and some neat sites. Almost everyone at the park camps by the river, so as soon as you leave that area you're almost completely by yourself.

I'll touch on a few other places. Big Bend is by far the best backpacking in Texas, followed close behind by Guadalupe Mountains. The nice thing about both of these national parks is that they have so much to offer in terms of trails and variety of terrain. Unfortunately they're both 6-8 hours from Austin.

Enchanted Rock, Lost Maples, Pedernales Falls, Colorado Bend, and Bastop are all good overnight or short weekend trips for nearby Austin.

Palo Duro Canyon is great for the panhandle region.

East Texas has a few national forest properties, but the only one I've been to was the Davy Crocket NF. It was pretty good, and no one else was there.

Moral of the story is pretty much the same though: there are some great places, you just have to spend a little more time looking for them.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Texas Backpacking? on 02/07/2010 23:23:48 MST Print View

Hey wait.......we're encouraging someone from the Left Coast to move to Texas? Probably OK, since they're hikers, huh? Anyhow........I'm surprised that no one mentioned the Rancherias trail at Big Bend State Park. Good 3 day loop with water! And the State Park is happy you come there, unlike the National Parks.

If you live here for long, you get used to 6 hour drives, with the cruise set on 75. But you can keep yourself entertained, and the view from Guadelupe Peak is spectacular.
Backside of El Capitan, Texas

In summer go to northern New Mexico.
Middle Fork Lake, NM

Edited by skinewmexico on 02/07/2010 23:30:17 MST.

Nate Ward
(tdaward) - F

Locale: The woods of the South
Cross Timbers on 02/14/2010 16:16:34 MST Print View

No one has mentioned the Cross Timbers Trail. One hour north of Dallas, near Whitesboro. It's a 17 mile trail that is not the hardest but it tough. Water is not an issue, you hike along the edge of Lake Texoma. I like to start at Juniper Point and go to Eagles Roost, If I have a way for a drop off, I'll hike out to Rock Creek, if not I'll turn around. Here's a link....

Randy Zaddach
(wyoguy2004) - F

Locale: Southwest
Texas Backpacking on 04/26/2010 13:53:15 MDT Print View

I'm new to Texas (one year) and I am having major backpacking withdrawals. I used to live in Wyoming on a mountaintop and was spoiled by what was accessible to me. Now, in College Station good trails seem so remote. I am planning a trip to Guadalupe NP third week of May. Does anyone know how much an issue of getting backcountry sites will be for that time of year? Thanks!

Michael L
(mpl_35) - MLife

Locale: The Palouse
Welcome to TX on 04/26/2010 14:01:21 MDT Print View

Randy welcome to Texas. I'm in Bryan typing right now instead of working!

No knowledge on the permits out there, planning my first trip with the wife for that area in the Fall.

Good luck finding hiking around here. :)

chris kersten
(xanadu) - F

Locale: here
Texas backpacking on 04/26/2010 14:12:22 MDT Print View

I live in East Texas and I'm looking for new places. I was headed for the 4C trail but heard that it was 20 miles of flat ground with bad water. I started going up to Arkansas to the Ouchita Mountains and just fell in love with some of those trails. (Eagle Rock loop, the most) It takes about 3 hours to get there but well worth it. And yes we have bass fishing, (I live on Lake Fork) But the lake is getting so crowded, that I took up backpacking! I don't know if that is good or bad yet but I'm enjoying learning from you guys.

James Lantz
(jameslantz) - F

Locale: North Georgia
Re: Texas Backpacking on 04/26/2010 15:21:27 MDT Print View

Thanks to all for the info on Texas backpacking opportunities. I remember riding across Tx in a bus while going to Philmont & was impressed by the the variety of landscapes & wide open spaces. When you guys secede to escape the oncoming crush of socialism, can this Georgia boy move there? :)

Edited by jameslantz on 04/26/2010 15:22:20 MDT.

Randy Zaddach
(wyoguy2004) - F

Locale: Southwest
Can't wait to be in the mountains on 04/29/2010 07:35:32 MDT Print View

Thanks Michael, i'm sitting here typing instead of working as well. I'll let you know how the permit goes, but from what I hear, fall is the popular time out there. Hiking without water is a bit new for me, although I have backpacked in Canyonlands at Moab. I ordered an MSR Dromlite 6L bag that looks like it will work quite well. I hate the thought of all that water weight as a typical 3 day hike for me I would have a 25 lb pack.

carl becker
(carlbecker) - F

Locale: Northern Virginia
West Texas - Big Bend on 04/30/2010 10:23:12 MDT Print View

I live in Fairfax Virginia. Last March 26 I flew to San Antonio to pick up a car and drive to Big Bend for a week. It took 6 hours at 80mph - the daytime speed limit to get to Panther Junction. A long drive but I spent six days there and it is a place I could go back to and spend many more days. Driving in Texas is a lot better than here where I live, you actually get somewhere instead of parked on the interstate.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"Texas Backpacking?" on 04/30/2010 10:40:32 MDT Print View

@ Randy,

You shouldn't have a single issue acquiring a permit for the many backcountry sites in the Guads, not very many people get up there for backpacking trips after spring break and before October once it cools down again. Mostly due to water availability issues and heat. When you do go, just show up at the Pine Springs Campground or Dog Canyon station when the doors open up and you'll be fine. There is a no reservation policy, first come first serve.

Doing a 3rd week in May trip up to any of the sites in the Bowl or up on the ridge is going to be quite hot hiking out of the Pine Springs campgrounds and there likely won't be a mouses tear worth of moisture up there, expect temps in the mid 80's -90's. Be prepared to tank some water up the switchbacks, pick your poison as they're all physically demanding, no real easy way up to the ridge. But the Guads are well worth the effort for the solitude.

Randy Zaddach
(wyoguy2004) - F

Locale: Southwest
Guads on 05/03/2010 08:27:23 MDT Print View

Thanks for the info Eugene! I appreciate it. I was anticipating packing in some substantial water, so that confirmed my research. Any special highlights or features I should try to get to while I'm there? I'm also debating on what kind of shelter to bring. It will either be a bivy with a tarp, North face Trek Bivy tent or a Marmot one person tent.If the nights are hot, I'm leaning towards the Marmot tent as it is all ventilation on the inside panels and I used that one in Moab a couple of times. So far I have gotten everything to fit in a Golite adventure racing pack.

Mitchell Murphy
(Texico) - F

Locale: North Georgia
Big Bend ROCKS on 05/05/2010 09:30:47 MDT Print View

As a native Texan recently removed to Georgia, I can say that Big Bend and New Mexico are still my favorite places to backpack. I was just at Big Bend in March, and the weather and scenery was amazing. It actually reached freezing temps the second night we were out! The thing I love about Big Bend though is that off trail hiking is pretty much mandatory since you are "required" to camp pretty far away from the trail. If you are good with a compass and map you can go where ever you want (while in the backcountry and not the south rim).

It's funny, too. When I went in March it was spring break for everyone in Texas. We were "forced" to backpack the first night we were out, which the ranger we got our permit from apparently assumed we were not prepared to do. He told us not to go too far from the main road (assuming we were stupid college kids just out to "commune with nature" i guess...) and was surprised when we told him we were planning to be out in the backcountry for three days with the equipment to purify and carry extra water. So we ended up out there in the "middle of nowhere" with no one around for miles. It was an awesome feeling, especially eating breakfast/dinner on top of the closest peaks...

So there's my story about backpacking in Texas.

Robert Dusing
(morob325) - F

Locale: texas
Re: Texas Backpacking on 05/05/2010 17:00:49 MDT Print View

For College Station/Bryan people, Sam Houston National Forest's closest trailhead is 45 minutes away, with many others not much further. They recently burned a large portion of the western section of the forest which provides a different kind of setting, and plenty of dry to half-burnt wood for fires. Also no permits or fees (park at hiking only trailheads)

Randy Zaddach
(wyoguy2004) - F

Locale: Southwest
Back from the Guads! on 05/25/2010 16:06:25 MDT Print View

Thanks for all your advice. I had a great time in the Guads this past weekend. The weather was great and I was the only one in the backcountry. Didn't see a single person in 3 days out there. There sure is no water anywhere! I packed in about 2.5 gallons and did ok with that. May try Big Bend later this year.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"Texas Backpacking?" on 05/25/2010 16:21:16 MDT Print View

Hey Randy,

Glad to hear you had a good time up in the Guadalupes. I'm sure it was quite hot with all the warm weather and cloudless skies we've been having the last week. So there wasn't a drop of moisture up there on the ridges? Wow. Post some pics sometime if you took some.

Randy Zaddach
(wyoguy2004) - F

Locale: Southwest
Guads on 05/26/2010 15:56:11 MDT Print View

It was hot and dry up there. I could'nt even see any water down in McKittrick Canyon. There was a wildfire burning just over the ridge from McKittrick Canyon where I was the second night and I could hear slurry bombers dropping their loads all afternoon and evening. I'll post some pics later this week.

Randy Zaddach
(wyoguy2004) - F

Locale: Southwest
Hiking the Guads on 05/27/2010 07:33:25 MDT Print View

The climb up on Tejas trail