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Craig Burton
(MissingUtah) - M

Locale: Smoky Mountains
Mid Feburary SoCal, NM, or TX? on 12/28/2009 19:55:37 MST Print View

Thinking of taking a low-elevation 2-3 day trip in mid-February somewhere in the Southwest.

Cheap flights to LAX, Albuquerque, and El Paso.

I want something where I won't have to battle with too much snow yet won't have to worry about water.

Any ideas out there within decent proximity (4-8 hours) from one of those 3 airports?

How is Big Bend in mid-Feb?

Matt Holmes
(mholmes) - F

Locale: North Texas- Fort Worth
Big Bend on 12/28/2009 20:11:17 MST Print View

The weather may a little colder than what you expect, it does get cold in Texas.
Check www.bigbendchat.com, it is a site devoted to the place. Plenty of information you can use.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Mid Feburary SoCal, NM, or TX? on 12/28/2009 21:13:27 MST Print View

Rancherias loop at Big Bend State Park.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"Mid Feburary SoCal, NM, or TX?" on 12/28/2009 21:18:45 MST Print View

Hey Craig, my vote is for the Gila Wilderness. 2 hour drive from El Paso, TX to Silver City, NM via I-10 and you can be in the backcountry about 30 min. after heading out of Silver City, NM into the Gila National Forest. You can head out into the wilderness from the Gila Visitor Center and either hike west up the West Fork of the Gila River or travel up the Middle Fork, both routes offer plenty of water and great views of the canyon above you and numerous intersecting trails to make loop hikes out of your 2-3 days. Temps can be pretty frigid at night though, teens and 20's are typical for Feb. and snowfall is always a possibility, although precipitation is very minimal (appx. 0.66" for month of Feb.), most of the major weather fronts hit the higher elevations to the west in the Mogollon Range (9,000-10,000+ft.) which are usually sacked in with snow until May or June. Daytime temps in Feb. avg low to mid 50's, although Feb. is a spotty month and you can get a high of 65F one day and a high of 25F the next. Crowds during that time of the year are non-existent. There are a couple hot spring diversions in the Gila Wilderness which are nice destinations especially in late winter.

Since water is a condition of yours Guadalupe National Park is out of the question I assume, although beautiful and only 1 hour drive from El Paso International Airport. If you're willing to tote water then this is a possibility.

Maybe someone else can chime in on Northern NM, but I know most places up there will be quite cold and snow will be an issue.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Mid Feburary SoCal, NM, or TX? on 12/28/2009 21:49:50 MST Print View

I don't think you could get in anywhere worthwhile (to backpack) in Northern NM that time of year.

Edited by skinewmexico on 12/28/2009 21:54:14 MST.

Alex H
(abhitt) - MLife

Locale: southern appalachians or desert SW
Re: Mid Feburary SoCal, NM, or TX? on 12/29/2009 05:38:17 MST Print View

Joe's idea of the Rancherias Loop is a good one, pretty good water supply.

Big Bend in Feb. is sublime, generally 30's and 70's and only .3" rain for the month. It is a bit over 300 miles down from El Paso.

The Outer Mountain Loop in the park is another good choice. do check out bigendchat.com