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Big Bend Ranch State Park
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Mina Loomis
(elmvine) - MLife

Locale: Central Texas
Big Bend Ranch State Park on 12/05/2010 10:38:26 MST Print View

Calling on anyone familiar with Big Bend Ranch State Park. We (my husband and I) are thinking of going over there for the first time at the end of December or in early January. Thinking of hiking the 2-night, 3-day Rancherias Loop. It begins and ends with Hwy 170 so we wouldn't need a 4wd which we don't have. But this route isn't all trail--some if it is cairns in rough country, according to available information. We have been in rough country (Big Bend NP Chisos/South Rim, Guadalupe Mts NP) for multiday trips but always on actual trails. If you have any familiarity with this, I'd like to hear what you think.

We know how to read a map and use a compass, but we don't own a GPS, although I suppose we could buy one. Information on the route (and hiking in this park in general) is kind of sketchy since this park is pretty new. I learned about Rancherias from the park ranger who answered when I called the park with questions. She suggested it and said her friends had enjoyed the hike very much. But the park web site is full of warnings about needing to be an "experienced desert hiker" etc.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Big Bend Ranch State Park on 12/05/2010 11:05:31 MST Print View

The trail/route is well marked these days, with cairns and even metal arrows in rock. A few segments of trail are rocky, but not bad. On any trip with routes marked by cairns you know to keep an eye out for the next cairn or you may have missed a turn, especially looking for turns out of a dry wash. Most seem to hike from east trialhead to west trailhead. Water in the national park was said to be scarce over Thanksgiving, so that needs to be considered. Bigbendchat.com probably has latest hikers to the area who may have water information.

Edited by jshann on 12/05/2010 11:06:30 MST.

Mina Loomis
(elmvine) - MLife

Locale: Central Texas
Thanks! on 12/06/2010 10:29:44 MST Print View

John,

Thanks for your additional information. I am glad to hear the route is well-marked. Sometimes it's hard to interpret generic published warnings.

And the bigbendchat looks like an excellent resource--I hadn't seen it before. It has a section about the state park, too.

If we make a successful go of it, we'll post a trip report!