Here's some questions that are probably coming up as you're considering doing this route.
What's the best season for considering this thru-hike?
November-February. The Chihuahuan Desert can get hot - it was 82 degrees in the state park on New Year Eve 2017.
What Are the Logistics on Shuttles?
The night before the trip began, we stayed at El Cosmico in Marfa. On morning of Day 1, we drove to the Casa Piedra Trailhead where we left our car. We had a friend pick up our car and drive it to Barton Warnock in Lajitas. On Day 5, we were back at our car, and drove to Panther Junction in the National Park to get permits for the backcountry portion there. We returned to Barton Warnock to resume the hike, and again relied on this awesome friend to shuttle our vehicle to the Chisos Basin, where we would pick it up at the end of the trip.
What do I need to know about permits?
The first 4 days/50 miles are in Big Bend Ranch State Park. Backpacking in the state park requires a general backcountry permit for $10 per night we used this permit for nights 1 and 3. You'll need to call (512) 389-8919 to make reservations. On the night of Day 2, we chose to stay in the historic bunkhouse, a pretty cool feature in the state park. You can make reservations here at the same phone number.
In the National Park, backpacking permits must be obtained in-person no more than 24-hours before your trip begins (more info on that here). What that means for you, is that you have to plan to drive/hitch out of your way to get these permits in the national park, then make your way back to your route. When getting these permits, you'll need to be prepared to give some specifics on which campsites you want, specifically around Terlingua Abajo, and in the Chisos on your last night.
HOw much of the route is on trail/Off-Trail, etc?
Something like this:
- Trail Mileage: 49
- Dirt Road/4WD Roads: 29
- Sandy Arroyo: 14
- Off-trail route finding: 5
- Paved Road: 3
What do I need for Maps and GPS DEtails
We suggest you carry the appropriate USGS Topographic maps for the area. You can also download the KML/KMX files from the Google Maps Here.