Big Bend National Park [backpacking]

Jornada Hiking & Outdoors Club
Jornada Hiking & Outdoors Club
Public group

NMSU Pan Am Center Parking lot

1810 East University · Las Cruces, NM

How to find us

Near the NM Park & Ride stop. See description for more details.

Location image of event venue


We're going to Big Bend National Park! This is DIFFERENT than Big Bend State Park that is happening over MLK weekend.

Originally, I wanted to do the Outer Mountain Loop, but because of the water situation (i.e. there isn't any) I've chose an itinerary that signicantly reduces the risk of death, and also allows those who wish to return Sunday to do so.

There are some minor details (like maps, etc) still missing from below. I'm working on it.

Dec 26

• Leave Albuquerque at 4a, 3 hr drive to Las Cruces

• Meet rest of group in Las Cruces at 7a, 1 hr drive to El Paso

• Meet rest of group in El Paso at 8a

• Continue drive (5.5 hours) to Panther Junction Visitor Center in Big Bend National Park. See what campsites are available (probably no developed campsites), get whatever permits needed.

• We LOSE one hour going into central time!

• Find campsite, quickly setup camp

• Drive to the Homer Wilson Ranch/Blue Creek Ranch and cache water off

• Drive back to camp.

Dec 27 — 11.5 mi, 2000 ft gain

• Leave camp by 7a

• Start hike at Chisos Canyon by 8a

• Hike 11.5 mi to Homer Wilson Ranch/Blue Creek Ranch along the Blue Creek Trail. Takes us through much of the upper Chisos in the higher elevation parts of the park

• Camp where permit designates us at the ranch

• Walk to water cache, retrieve water (should be some 0.25 mi walk)

• Camp

Dec 28 (Sunday) — 11.5 mi

• Leave camp by 8a

• Hike 11.5 mi back to Chisos Canyon. We may take an alternate route, but the same route back is fine by default.

• Return to Chisos Canyon and vehicles by late afternoon.

• Those who need to return to town by Sunday can leave now (they'll be driving at night—sorry!)

• Those staying for another day will find an appropriate campsite, either developed or another backcountry zone.

Dec 39 (Monday) — 12 mi

• Leave camp by 8a (leave everything setup)

• Day hike various features in Big Bend. Emory Peak, South Rim, Juniper Canyon, etc.

Dec 30 (Tues)

• Leave by 9a

• Drive back to El Paso/Las Cruces. We'll gain an hour on the way back.

To bring:

• WATER. The water situation is bad, I am just going to make the safe assumption there is no water anywhere (other than the spigot at the visitor's center). You must bring at least 1 Gal/day. I intend to bring a 5 Gal jug just for myself and recommend everyone else do the same!

• CASH. Developed campsites are $14/night, and $10/2 vehicles for a "backcountry zone" permit. Please bring $30 cash in assorted bills.

• CLEAN CLOTHES. We don't want to smell you on the drive back! Please bring clean clothes you can leave in a vehicle. We may stop at a truck stop for showers, if a baby wipe bath isn't cleansing enough.

• RADIOS: If you have a FRS/GMRS walkie-talkie, please bring your set along with its car charger. There is a lot of coordination involved here (especially on Dec 26) and the added communication mechanism (let's assume there's no cell phone service) will help reduce everyone's stress. Samat has 3.

• BEAR BAG + ROPE: If you have one.

• LIBATIONS: It is the holidays, after all! Samat's birthday is also on Dec 28 *hint hint*.


• No pets on the trails. Sorry, NPS rules!
• No open campfires. This part of Texas has not burned in a long while—let's avoid being the cause of any major forest fires.

Please leave comments if you've questions.