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Old 12-15-2013, 11:19 AM   #1
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Spring break - where to?

I'm in Austin, recently transplanted and looking to plan a Spring Break wheeling trip for the family(2 teens). What are the best options?

I've been researching:

Big Bend - another thread here spawned this option.
Palo Duro - looks like a nice option
Ouray, Co - looks amazing, but worried it's too early in the season, better for summer?
Moab - sounds great, but thinking this should be worked up to.

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Old 12-15-2013, 04:09 PM   #2
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Hey Mike, Big bend is a favorite of a buddy of mine. I do not know if there is any wheeling in Palo Duro. I think Ouray will be too early for wheeling, but highly recommend it over the summer. Moab is on our list, but again I think would be better a little later in the year. They do have the Easter Jeep safari in Moab, but you will be there with lots of other people. You could always join us for skiing in Colorado.

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Old 12-15-2013, 05:40 PM   #3
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The only way that I've seen to wheel palo duro is with jamboree (May 15-17) little late for spring break. You might have to worry about too much snow to wheel in Colorado that early in the year too.
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Old 12-16-2013, 07:03 PM   #4
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Big Bend is great. The national park doesn't have any serious wheeling, it's all pretty easy trails that a stock jeep would be absolutely fine on...unless it's recently rained. What Big Bend really had going for it though is space. It's the only place I know of that you can camp somewhere with absolutely no one around then drive all day off road to another fantastic camping spot. The Black Gap road is the only slightly difficult trail out there and it's a ton of fun since you are in the middle of nowhere. Plus, it takes you to the abandoned Mariscol Mine which is a blast to poke around. It's also a bit of a right of passage to drive the entire River Road. The national park's busiest time of the year is spring break and while you should be able to still get plenty of campsites you may not get exactly the ones you want. Also, the trails/backroads are considered two way but get two vehicles coming from opposite directions and someone's going to have to get over pretty dang far to let the other pass.

If you want a big more seclusion and a bit more of a wheeling trip consider the state park. I've never been but it's where I'll go next time I'm out there. There is zero pavement in the entire park, there are a few places where you really need 4wd (so I've heard), it should be less crowded, and you can have camp fires (you can't in the national park).

For more info on both parks check out BigBendChat - Enjoy over 1000 years of collective experience in Big Bend National Park

Have fun!
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Old 12-16-2013, 07:41 PM   #5
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And while I should probably tell you that Big Bend is horrible and a waste of time so one one else goes there and I can keep it all to myself PM me if you have any questions.
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Old 12-16-2013, 10:00 PM   #6
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And while I should probably tell you that Big Bend is horrible and a waste of time so one one else goes there and I can keep it all to myself PM me if you have any questions.


A trip to Big Bend National Park in 2010 is one of the things that made me get a Jeep. There were places I couldn't go in my 4 door sedan and I was really bummed

I'll defer to others that have been wheeling there for info on that, but scenery wise it is spectacular and worth the trip for this alone. Be sure to take anything you need with you, it's remote
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Old 12-17-2013, 12:39 AM   #7
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Thanks guys for the insight, it's great info. Big Bend sounds great. It doesn't have to be tough wheeling for us. It's mainly about getting outdoors, exploring and seeing the scenery. Just as long as all the roads aren't paved.

Thanks for the skiing invite. We are going to have a very full house here shortly. Starbrite was just diagnosed with the flu to boot.

No camp fires in the national park makes it tough to camp. The camp fire is the best part after dark!

Thanks again, any other ideas are welcome.
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Old 12-17-2013, 01:00 AM   #8
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A campfire would be nice but, it so dark out there that you hardly need one to see because the moon and stars are gigantic and it would kill the amazing view of the stars. I've never once missed having a fire while camping there. Big Bend has "the darkest sky in the lower 48" IDA Gold Tier Designation - Big Bend National Park (U.S. National Park Service)

I like to check this website Heavens-Above before we go to know what we can expect to see while there. A few times we've been lucky and seen some meteor showers or planets.

There is a ton and a half to do in the national park. You can drive all day on dirt and think about the old miners and ranchers who used those "roads", you can hike all day, or float the river. You've got everything from mountains and trees to empty deserts and a river with an international border to boot. It's always funny to me when we see the border, especially when you see cattle walking across the river for some AMERICAN grass, and you get to thinking about how insignificant it is.

The best wheeling is the Black Gap Road, the River Road, parts of Glenn Springs, and Old Oar road. Unless it's rained you should be fine in any sort of jeep. The only thing to know really is that your really on your own, if you forgot something well sorry Charlie your 200 miles or so from the nearest walmart. There are two places to get gas in the park though luckily so there's no need to worry about carrying extra. Just top up every chance you get.

If you have any specificish questions lemme know.
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Old 12-17-2013, 11:40 AM   #9
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Staying on XB ranch on during the break. Gonna show the wife around the back country in the Jeep. Most she's seen was Ernst Tinaja on Ole Ore. Took her there in the 2WD truck once. Truck was 1mo old, needed some desert pinstriping.

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Old 12-17-2013, 12:15 PM   #10
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A couple pics from when I was there in January:

Right about to go over the Black Gap. It had rained the day before but we didn't have any problems.



Kind of a poser shot but that's at Glenn Springs before it turns into Black Gap.



Tlowry, first time I took my wife we went in my dads 2wd Silverado. We made it around ok and purposefully didn't do anything to adventurous and made it fine....except for loosing the plastic front bumper under piece in a sand pit on part of the River Road east. Oops, lol. My old man never said anything about it and used it as an excuse to get a brush guard.

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