Monday, June 23, 2008

Future Flying Trip: Big Bend, Texas

Big Bend, Texas is an area I have been thinking about going to sometime. It is pretty far south which would be great for a winter time trip, and it looks like it would be good for camping and other outdoor activities.

Credit: NPS/Eric Leonard

General Information

Big Bend National Park is the western area of Texas right on the board of the Rio Grande where it makes a big bend.

It ends up being in a very remote area of the country and great for camping.

There is a web site for the towns there and the Big Bend National Park web site. Going this time of year doesn't make sense, but maybe next fall or winter. We were relatively close when we went to Carlsbad, NM earlier this year. I ran into an old friend who got telling me about his fun times at Big Bend last Christmas.

I figure this is a chance to write some of this down and come back to it in the fall. As I suspected, he did mention that it is pretty hot from May through October.

Terlingua Ranch

You can fly into a The Terlingua Ranch dirt strip (1E2) and rent a cabin at Terlingua Ranch overlooking the airstrip. There is a small café (with country music every night), pool, short hikes, pretty scenery, not much else. Good mountain biking. They comment on their web site that there are no rental cars.

Study Butte

There is also a private strip about 2 miles west of Study Butte. I am not sure which one it is (81TX or 3TE8); I will have to ask my friend more since it looks like there are two private ones on the maps. There you can rent cars and jeeps there. He says expensive, but the location is great and worth the drive into the park or down to the Rio Grande river. You can rent a canoe in Study Butte also, and float the Rio Grande with 1,000+ foot canyon walls; paddle up, turnaround and float back watching the scenery (when it is low water). It looks like there are options for lodging and other activities in the town of Study Butte if you want.

Credit: NPS/Eric Leonard

I think the above picture I found on the National Park website might be the canyon my friend mentioned or at least one similar. This one is described as Santa Elena canyon.


Another spot to mention that I wondered was Lajitas and their private strip 89TE. He mentions that it is big money with Lear jets and overpriced. Maybe worth a one night splurge, but not something you probably want to do all the time.


There are also several car rentals out of Alpine about 1.5 hours north of Study Butte. A really pretty town with a nice FBO, and "cheap" fuel. Car dealers all have cars.


My friend was saying that some parts near the Mexico board feel a little iffy, but the Big Bend Park area feels ok. I don't know from experience yet.

Sounds like a good place to go to in the future.


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