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I'm headed to Big Bend Nat'l Park in a couple weeks. It appears that there are two roads leading there from I-10. Both run thru 5000+ foot mountains.

Can anyone provide some info on those? Grades, one or two lane, etc. Will be traveling in a motor home pulling a toad.

Mountains are not off limits for me, but want the safest highway to traverse them.

M and F
Living in central Texas and loving the desert, we have traveled both roads several times. The one out of Ft Stockton to Marathon (taking you into the Park at its north entrance) is a very good road. No any noticable mountains to traverse.
We enjoy the road to Alpine which is alot more scenic. There is one fairly good climb out of Alpine but nothing to worry about. Also a good road. If you decide to go through Alpine, go on through Ft Stockton, going west approximately 10 miles for the road to Alpine. After Alpine turn on 118 to Big Bend. You have to look very close for the signs for Big Bend, but no big deal to make the block.
The only road to worry about is 170 from Study (this is pronounced as Stutty) Butte to Presidio but we have seen lots of motorhomes using this road.
Have a good time. We plan to go down next month. We usually stay in Study Butte as it is centrally located and has full hookups.
Cactus and wildflowers should be in bloom in late March/early April.
Flomas> Good info. Appears that I have nothing to be concerned with on either road.

We are also based in Central Texas and are hooking up with a RV friend from FL so it will be a two rig trip. They will be headed to AZ from there. I'll mention the Hwy 170 issue to him.

Couple other questions if I may.

1- I'm looking for a nice camp ground. At the top of that list is level sites, good 50A power, and big enough for a 40 footer. It doesn't have to have the amenities of a 10/10/10, but I'd rather make a longer drive to the park than stay in a park that doesn't accommodate a larger coach. I've previewed the park postings on the website, but the opinions vary. You mentioned Study Butte, but I couldn't find it listed there. What's it like? Any other suggestions?

2- It appears there's a lot of interest attractions - Ft Davis/Hell's Half Acre/McDonald Observatory/Ft Stockton, etc etc. But, we're only going to be there 3 days so we may not make them all. We can always make a return trip, but not our friends. Any suggestions on what to put on the list first?

Jerry S
Hi Rick,

Although it has been a while since I have been to Big Bend, I think my suggestions are still applicable. If I only had 3 days in the area, I would spend the entire time touring the park. The three major sights to see are Boquillas Canyon, Santa Elena Canyon, and the Chisos Basin and all are spectacular. I suppose you could see all three in one day if you want to spend 5-6 hours driving every paved mile of road in the park. Plus there dozens of other worthwhile sigths in the park. Unless you are a "jump out of the car, take a picture, and jump back into the car" type of tourist, the park requires at least two full days to enjoy. Otherwise you will have no time to stop, see exhibits, hike, etc.

The other places you mentioned (I really enjoyed McDonald Observatory) are close enough to I-10 to see another time travelling through west Texas. Big Bend is a major side trip - not a 2 hour drive-thru.

I checked and also did not find a campground listed under Study Butte. There was was a park (Big Bend Motor Inn and RV Campground) listed in Woodalls for Terlingua just west of Study Butte. I appears to be the only commercial park within an hour of the park. The only CG in the park that has hookups does not appear to meet your requirements - 25 sites, 30 amps, sites only 15 ' wide.

Jerry S.
M and F
First DH doesn't like saying "from Central Texas". I use this term for those outside of Texas - we're from the San Angelo area which is considered west Texas.

Well as that you are staying for three days you might consider Rio Grande Village, in the Park, but the reason we stay at Study Butte is we enjoy the ghost town of Terlinqua which is 5-6 miles west and going down to Lajitas, which is a big resort on the Rio Grande River. The Big Bend Inn and RV park (where we stay) is not a 10-10-10 park. It is dirt. We'd advise to take a walk and check the sites first. Pick out sites that are big enough for your rigs. There is another RV park a couple of miles down the road toward the Park, behind Study Butte Store. We have not tried this one, but it seems to stay pretty full. If our memory is correct, there is only 30amps in the Park. Just expect no fancy camping area, period.

In regard to not finding Study Butte on the map: Years ago there was a town of Study Butte listed. The area still remains. This is where the school, banks, restaurants, etc. are. Terlinqua is west of there is the old store is which is now a large shop and the Starlight Theater and Restaurant.

We agree with the previous post that you really need more than three days, so we suggest the Park and Terlinqua - Lajitas. When you make another trip, we suggest Ft Davis and staying at the state park which is beautiful, full hookups with satellite TV. The altitude of this area is great for the warmer months.

Have a great time.

Mike and Fran
Well, guys you’ve been extremely helpful in forming Plan A. It’s a day’s drive so depending on ETA we’ll RON in either Ft Stockton, Alpine, or Marathon. From there, we’ll decide if we want to commute in the toads or move the rigs closer to the park.

I suspected that doing the park wouldn’t be a one-day event, and that there is a lot more to see in the surrounding areas than just it, so I appreciate that confirmation. Since we can always make another longer trip, we’ll let our RV buddies decide on the length of time they want to spend there. Unfortunately, I have to be in OK in a couple weeks, but they aren’t on a schedule so they could stay as long as they’d like.

Thanks so much for the help.

Just left BB area the middle of Jan. FM170 from Presido to Study Butte is the only road in the area with a nasty grade. The only possible 10/10/10 RV park would be at Lajitas, and it's pricy with lots of restrictions. Last year they were charging about $65 per night for a rig and toad.

There are several parks in Study Butte/Terlingua, but they are mostly dirt, no shade, electric can be iffy. I would suggest staying at the Rio Grande Village either the FhU site or the dry camping area.

You might want to call ahead and check for availability - you are going at the peak Spring Break time and you might not find any RV spot any place close.

Big Bend NP is about 100 miles from Alpine and Marathon both, so keep that in mind when you are making your plans.

Safe Travels, Judy
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