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Hiking in the Unspoiled Beauty of Big Bend

Program Number: 11958RJ
Start and End Dates:
11/2/2014 - 11/7/2014; 11/9/2014 - 11/14/2014; 11/16/2014 - 11/21/2014; 11/30/2014 - 12/5/2014; 12/7/2014 - 12/12/2014; 12/14/2014 - 12/19/2014; 1/11/2015 - 1/16/2015; 1/18/2015 - 1/23/2015; 1/25/2015 - 1/30/2015; 2/1/2015 - 2/6/2015; 2/8/2015 - 2/13/2015; 2/15/2015 - 2/20/2015;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Big Bend National Park, Texas
Price starting at: $969.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Walking/Hiking; National Parks Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 14; 5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 5 Dinners    

Hike your way through Big Bend National Park, one of the most remote, wildly beautiful and peaceful places in America. Geological history spanning millions of years and a discussion of the “brief” era of the dinosaurs will add to the appreciation and mystique of what the early Spanish explorers called “El Despoblado” — the empty land.




Highlights

• Explore historic Terlingua, a former “ghost town” that is now a quaint desert town, and its Starlight Theater restaurant built in 1931 as the movie theater for the mining community.
• Hike through three ecosystems — mountain peaks to desert springs and river trails.
• See Native American rock art and soak in the Hot Springs after a six-mile hike along the Rio Grande.



Activity Particulars

Activity level varies by date. See below.



Terrain varies from desert floor to mountain trails, generally rocky and uneven. Due to the size of Big Bend National Park, full days with a field lunch are spent away from the accommodations. Single rooms only offered on some dates.




Date Specific Information

11-2-2014, 11-30-2014, 2-1-2015, 2-8-2015, 2-15-2015

This date is Moderately Challenging with daily hikes up to 6 miles a day; 5 - 6 hours of physical involvement. This program will be based at the Chisos Mountains Lodge, the only accommodation in Big Bend National Park. Group size no larger than 20.



11-9-2014, 11-16-2014, 12-14-2014

This date is Moderately Challenging with daily hikes up to 6 miles a day; 5 - 6 hours of physical involvement. The program will be based at Far Flung`s Big Bend Casitas in Terlingua and is limited to 12 participants.



12-7-2014

This date is Challenging with rigorous and demanding hikes, each at 8-10 miles for 6-8 hours daily. Expect elevation gains of more than 2,400 feet and scaling large boulders. The program will be based at Far Flung`s Big Bend Casitas in Terlingua and is limited to 12 participants.



1-11-2015, 1-25-2015

This date is Moderately Challenging with daily hikes up to 6 miles a day; 5 - 6 hours of physical involvement. The program will be based at Far Flung`s Big Bend Casitas in Terlingua and is limited to 12 participants.



1-18-2015

This date is Challenging with rigorous and demanding hikes, each at 8-10 miles for 6-8 hours daily. Expect elevation gains of more than 2,400 feet and scaling large boulders. The program will be based at Far Flung`s Big Bend Casitas in Terlingua and is limited to 12 participants.




Big Bend National Park

Bordering the Rio Grande, Big Bend is one of the largest and least visited national parks. Its dramatic canyons, desert expanses and Chisos Mountain range are home to exceptionally diverse plant and animal life. Big Bend offers a unique opportunity to experience an ancient and austere landscape in relative solitude.



Accommodations
Varies by date. Either a charming casita ("little house" in Spanish) with two queen beds, kitchenette, and 200-square-foot porch with rocking chairs facing a landscaped courtyard, or full-service lodge in Big Bend National Park.
Meals and Lodgings
   Chisos Mountains Lodge
  Big Bend National Park, TX 5 nights
 Chisos Mountains Lodge
Type: Lodge
  Description: The Chisos Mountains Lodge is the only accommodations in the National Park. The Lodge located in the heart of the Chisos Mountains in an area known as the Basin, is surrounded by stunning views of the Chisos Mountains. Wildlife such as deer, javelina and all kinds of birds are often spotted in the area. A park visitor center and gorgeous "get-away" spots are only steps from the rooms.
  Contact info: Rural Station, Basin Area
Big Bend National Park, TX 79834 USA
phone: 432-477-2291
web: www.chisosmountainslodge.com
  Room amenities: Coffee maker, microwave, refrigerator AC/heat and wall to wall carpet in all rooms. No TV, radio or phones in rooms. Pay phones available in general Basin area. Cell phones generally do not work. VCR/TV rental available.
  Facility amenities: One coin-operated washer/dryer is available. Limited Internet "hot spot" for wireless laptop. A small convenience store, National Park small visitor center, restaurant and gift store.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior: Vary with season, please call. Identify that you are with the Road Scholar program.
  Check in time: 4:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Vary with season, please call. Identify that you are with the Road Scholar program.
  Check out time: 11:00 PM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Check in between 3:00-6:00 pm. You will be staying at Chisos Mountains Lodge that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends after buffet breakfast served between 7:00-9:00 am. Check out by 10 am. You will be staying at Chisos Mountains Lodge the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Participants will be sent Far Flung Outdoor Center's Liability Release Form in orientation packet. It must be filled out, signed and sent back to Far Flung prior to program date. No exceptions.
  Parking availability:
Free parking on site
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Big Bend National Park, TX
  Nearest city or town:  Terlingua
  Nearest highway: Highway 118 or 385
  Nearest airport:  El Paso, Texas or Midland, Texas
  From End of Program
  Location: Big Bend National Park, TX
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Midland, Texas to Chisos Mountains Lodge

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Car Rentals
see list below
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Travel Time:

 

 

Distance:

 

226 miles

   

No shuttles available and renting a car is required. Alamo - (432) 563-0378 www.nationalcar.com Avis - (432) 563-4700 www.avis.com Budget - (432) 563-1640 www.budget.com Dollar - (432) 561-5995 www.dollar.com Enterprise - (432) 561-5172 www.enterprise.com Hertz - (432) 563-0110 www.hertz.com National - (432) 563-0378 www.nationalcar.com Thrifty - (432) 561-5454 www.thrifty.com

 

El Paso, Texas to Chisos Mountains Lodge

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Car Rentals
see list below
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Travel Time:

 

 

Distance:

 

336 miles

   

No shuttle available and renting a car is required. Advantage 800-777-5500 - 915-781-7690 Alamo 800-222-9075 - 915-778-4401 Avis 800-230-4898 - 915-779-2700 Budget 915-779-2532 Dollar 800-800-4000 - 915-778-544 Enterprise 800-261-7331 - 915-779-2260 Hertz 800-654-3131 - 915-775-6960 National 877-222-9058 - 915-778-9417 Thrifty 800-847-4389 - 915-778-9236

 
Driving Directions
  El Paso, Texas to Chisos Mountains Lodge Take Interstate 10 east to Van Horn, 118 miles. Turn south on Texas Highway 90 to Alpine, 102 miles. Turn south again on Texas Highway 118 to Study Butte/Terlingua, 80 miles. Continue on 118 into Big Bend National Park, 3 miles. Once in the Park continue on until you see the sign that says "Chisos Basin", 30 miles. Turn right and travel 6 miles to the Chisos Mountains Lodge on a curvy road. The drive from El Paso is approximately 6 hours.
  Midland, Texas to Chisos Mountains Lodge Take Interstate 20 west to Monahans, 47 miles. Turn south on Texas Highway 18 to Fort Stockton, 46 miles. Turn south again on Texas Highway 385 to the northeast entrance of Big Bend National Park, 99 miles. Continue south into the park to Panther Junction Park Headquarters), 28 miles. Turn right for approximately three miles and then turn left at the sign "Chisos Basin". Travel 6 miles to the Chisos Mountains Lodge on a curvy road. The drive from Midland is approximately 5 hours
Elevation Note: The Lodge is at 5400 feet elevation. Highest hiking elevation will be 6650 feet.

Equipment Requirements: Good hiking boots or strong walking shoes, Camelbak or equivalent, Day pack, Flashlight, Hiking stick or trekking poles (strongly recommended), Zip-lock bag with toilet paper and hand sanitizer.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Check-in/Orientation
(Sunday, November 2)
   
 Arrive To: Check-in between 3 and 6 pm. The Road Scholar Group Leader will be in the Lodge lobby by 3:00 PM but generally the Lodge cannot accommodate check-in prior to 3 pm. Should you arrive earlier than 3:00 PM there are plenty of places to explore in the Basin. Please plan to arrive no later than dinner which is at 6:00 pm in the Chisos Mountain Lodge restaurant
 Dinner: Welcome dinner at Chisos Mountain Lodge, 6:00 pm
 Evening: Orientation and introduction meeting following dinner.
   
Accommodations: Chisos Mountains Lodge
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Hike Mule Ears Spring/Santa Elena Canyon/Big Bend National Park evening presentation
(Monday, November 3)
   
 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at Chisos Mountain Lodge, 7:00 am
 Morning: Mule Ears Trail on the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive in the western part of the National Park is a 3.8 mile round trip hike through open desert has no significant elevation gain, but does cross several arroyos (creek beds). Primitive trail ends at a natural desert spring and old stone corral which was once part of the Castolon Ranching Properties. Degree of Difficulty - Medium  
 Lunch: Deli style picnic field lunch at the Castolon/Cottonwood area in the southwest section of the National Park. Castolon was an old cavalry post built in 1920. The military withdrew in 1921 and it then became a frontier trading post. There is a store that is still open today.
 Afternoon: The Santa Elena Canyon Nature Trail begins at the end of the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive on the west side of the park. Although a short hike (1.7 miles round trip with an elevation gain of approximately 200 feet) there are quite a few steps on this trail into the canyon where the walls rise to 1800 feet. Once inside the canyon a brief presentation on the Rio Grande will be given by your guide. Degree of Difficulty - Medium
 Dinner: Dinner, Chisos Mountain Lodge at 6:00 pm.
 Evening: Evening program presented by Big Bend National Park. Programs vary from week to week. They can be anything from the history of Big Bend National Park, to dinosaurs, birding, geology and the night sky.
   
Accommodations: Chisos Mountains Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Hike Grapevine Hills/The Window/ Explore Terlingua Ghost Town
(Tuesday, November 4)
   
 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at Chisos Mountain Lodge, 7:00 am
 Morning: Hike Grapevine Hills trail in Big Bend National Park. Hike is approximately 2.2 miles round trip with little elevation gain. Walking in sand for about a half-mile at the first of the hike will be required. One of the most photographed sites in the national park, "Balance Rock" can be seen at the end of this trail. Degree of Difficulty - Easy
 Lunch: Field Lunch at Chisos Basin.
 Afternoon: Hike "The Window" trail in the Chisos Mountains of Big Bend National Park: hike is approximately 4 miles round trip with a 500 foot elevation gain. It's a bit of an "opposite" type of hike in that we hike down the mountain - into the "Basin" and then have to hike back up at the end of the morning. This hike offers great views of "The Window" - a break in the mountain range looking out across the desert; the end of the hiking trail crosses several streams of water. Degree of Difficulty - Medium  
 Dinner: Prior to dinner at the well known Starlight Theater restaurant in the historic Terlingua Ghostown, a short presentation on the mining history of the area will be given by the guide. The Starlight was built in 1931 as the movie theater for the mining community and was resurrected from ruins as a restaurant in 1991. It is considered by most visitors to the area as a "must see."
 Evening: The Starlight Theater has hosted musicians such as Jerry Jeff Walker and Willie Nelson.
   
Accommodations: Chisos Mountains Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Full Day Hike, Historic Hot Springs
(Wednesday, November 5)
   
 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at Chisos Mountain Lodge, 7:00 am.
 Morning: Rio Grande Village on the east side of the park is the destination for the day. We will hike 3 miles along the Rio Grande - with great views of the river - to the historic Hot Springs. There will be plenty of time at the Hot Springs for participants to view the restored buildings of the early settlement and health resort (1900 to 1940) as well as the Native American rock art. Participants wishing to soak in the Hot Springs should bring swimwear. There are restrooms for changing. Following a sack lunch we will hike back to Rio Grande Village. The hike is 6 miles round trip with minimal elevation gain. Degree of Difficulty - Medium  
 Lunch: Sack lunch carried by participants
 Afternoon: Hiking continued.  
 Dinner: Dinner, Chisos Mountain Lodge at 6:00 pm.
 Evening: A presentation on one of the many faces of Big Bend will be given by the National Park Service.
   
Accommodations: Chisos Mountains Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Hike Lost Mine Trail/Free Time/Farewell Dinner
(Thursday, November 6)
   
 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at Chisos Mountain Lodge at 7:00 am.
 Morning: Hike Lost Mine Trail located in the Chisos Mountains; spectacular hike of approximately 5 miles; one of the top hikes with all visitors as well as locals to the National Park. Once the top is reached and at an elevation of 6850 feet, one can see on a clear day hundreds of miles. Degree of Difficulty - Medium
 Lunch: Sack lunch to be carried by participants.
 Afternoon: Free Time
 Dinner: Dinner will be a special event at the offices of Far Flung Outdoor Center in Terlinugua.
 Evening: Return to Chisos Mountain Lodge following dinner.
   
Accommodations: Chisos Mountains Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Departure
(Friday, November 7)
   
 Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at Chisos Mountain Lodge between 7:00 and 9:00 am.
 Morning: Latest check-out by 10:00 am.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Big Bend National Park, TX Big Bend National Park
Official Website For additional information, visit www.nps.gov/bibe/home.htm
  Big Bend Tourism Council
Official website for the Big Bend area outside the National Park For additional information, visit www.visitbigbend.com
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


A Most Singular Country-A History of Occupation in the Big Bend


Author: Arthur R. Gomez


Big Bend Country, Land of the Unexpected


Author: Kenneth B. Ragsdale


Description: Ragsdale's stories cover a half-century, roughly 1900 to 1955, from wagon trains to the filming of an epic movie, a time in which the face of the Big Bend changed: the quicksilver mines closed, a national park was established, isolation and cattle gave way to vacation ranchettes and tourists.



Big Bend Vista, A Geological Exploration of the Big Bend


Author: William MacLeod


Big Bend, A Homesteader's Story


Author: J.O. Langford


Description: A story of the Langfords' life in the rugged and spectacularly beautiful country which they came to call their own. This account is told with the help of Fred Gipson, author of Old Yeller.



Big Bend, The Story Behind The Scenery


Author: Carol E. Sperling


Description: This book is dedicated to all who find Nature not an adversary to conquer and destroy, but a storehouse of infinite knowledge and experience linking man to all things past and present. They know conserving the natural environment is essential to our future well being.



Exploring the Big Bend Country


Author: Peter Koch & June Cooper Price


Description: Photographer-naturalist Peter Koch first visited the new Big Bend National Park in February, 1945, on assignment to take promotional pictures for the National Park Service. He planned to spend a couple of weeks—and ended up staying for the rest of his life. Koch's magnificent photographs and documentary film-lectures Big Bend, Life in a Desert Wilderness and Desert Gold introduced the park to people across the United States, drawing thousands of visitors to the Big Bend. His photographs and films of the region remain among the best ever produced, and are an invaluable visual record of the first four decades of Big Bend National Park. In this highly readable book, Koch's daughter June Cooper Price draws on the newspaper columns her father wrote for the Alpine Avalanche, supplemented by his photographs, journal entries, and short pieces by other family members, to present Peter Koch's vision of the Big Bend. The book opens with his first "big adventure," a six-day photographic trip through Santa Elena Canyon on a raft made from agave flower stalks. From there, Koch takes readers hiking on mountain trails and driving the scenic loop around Fort Davis. He also describes "wax smuggling" and other ways of making a living on the Mexican border; ranching in the Big Bend; the prehistory and Native Americans of the region; collaborating with botanist Barton Warnock on books of Trans-Pecos wildflowers; and the history and beauty of Presidio County, the Rio Grande, and the Chihuahuan Desert.



God's Country or Devil's Playground


Author: Edited by Barney Nelson


Description: In this anthology of nature writing, Barney Nelson gathers nearly sixty literary perspectives on the landscape and life of the Big Bend region, broadly defined as Trans-Pecos Texas and northern Chihuahua, Mexico. In addition to Leopold and Webb, the collection includes such well-known writers as Edward Abbey, Mary Austin, Roy Bedichek, and Frederick Olmsted, as well as a wide range of voices that includes explorers, trappers, cowboys, ranch wives, curanderos, college presidents, scientists, locals, tourists, historians, avisadores, and waitresses. Following a personal introduction by Barney Nelson, the pieces are grouped thematically to highlight the distinctive ways in which writers have responded to the Big Bend.



Hikers Guide


Author: Park Staff


Description: Covers all major trails in the park, from short self guiding nature trails to strenuous backpacking routes.



Hiking Big Bend National Park


Author: Laurence Parent


Description: Comprehensive guide to 44 most popular hikes in the national park as well as three hikes in Big Bend Ranch State Park



I'll Gather My Geese


Author: Hallie Crawford Stillwell


Description: The New York Times identified Hallie Stillwell (1897–1997) as a "rancher and a Texas legend." As readers of her autobiography know, she became a rancher because she married one, but the legendary status she earned on her own. At the age of nineteen, Hallie decided to take a job teaching school in the remote border town of Presidio, Texas. Her father thought it a dangerous proposition and told her she was getting into a wild goose chase. She responded, "Then I'll gather my geese." After teaching for a year, she got a proposal from an old-fashioned rancher twice her age, Roy Stillwell. Hallie's escapades as a bride in the rough environs of the Big Bend ranch have appealed to thousands of readers.



Naturalist's Big Bend


Author: Roland Wauwe


Description: An Introduction to the trees, shrubs, wildflowers, cacti, mammals, birds reptiles, amphibians, fish and insects of the Big Bend.



The Big Bend Guide


Author: Allan C. Kimball


Description: Whether spending two days or 10, Kimball provides the skinny on what to do, what to see and how to get there.



The Big Bend of the Rio Grande


Author: Ross Maxwell


Description: The most definitive overall guide to the Big Bend by the park's first superintendent, Ross Maxwell who was also a geologist



The Big Bend, A History of the Last Texas Frontier


Author: Ron C. Tyler


Description: A study of four centuries of human society-Indian, Spanish, Mexican, Texan and American - in a region remote and little known.



The Story of Big Bend National Park


Author: John Jameson


Description: This book offers a comprehensive, highly readable history of the park from its founding in 1944 up to the present.





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