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When to go to Big Bend

NJ
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When to go to Big Bend

am considering a trip to Big Bend NP, Guadalupe Mts. and Carlsbad next year. (carlsbad questionable, only because caves are not my thing, but was impressed with the outside of Wind Cave in the dakotas and suspect carlsbad may have some neat features outside the cave). I am trying to figure out the best time of year to go. I would be going for the hiking and birding. i am not a big fan of heat, but if the humidity is low, it's not so bad. It looks like April might be a good time. not too cold at night, not too hot during the day? any advice out there??

Houston
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1. Re: When to go to Big Bend

You've probably already seen this, but just in case: www.big.bend.national-park.com/weather.htm

We went to BBNP in early May a few years ago, and the temperature during the days was consistently in the high 90's, but that was unusually warm. The humidity is extremely low--I'd guess it to be in the 10-20% range, and at times, less than 10%.

Sorry I can't help with the other two sites, but mid-late April should be a great time for BBNP. Just make sure you layer your clothes, as temps will definitely change during the day. Also, carry plenty of water--there are no regular "rest stops" if you get off the beaten path.

Fort Worth, Texas
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2. Re: When to go to Big Bend

We went in April before and I thought it was about perfect. It did get into the 90s during the heat of the day but it was not bad. We then went from there to Carlsbad and wished we had spent more time in Big Bend area. While you are in the area be sure and go to the McDonald Observatory. It was very good during the day but we went back one night for the star gazing party and absolutely loved it.

San Antonio, TX
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3. Re: When to go to Big Bend

I've been during Thanksgiving week a couple of times - Once went swimming, once saw snow.

Houston, TX
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4. Re: When to go to Big Bend

Since you're thinking about Carlsbad, have a look at White Sands National Monument. Not too terribly far away, and well worth seeing if you can fit it in. Very different.

If you are not planning to camp, there is only one place--Chisos Mountains Lodge--to stay inside the park. April is a very busy month, so call them now to check on availability. They begin taking reservations a year in advance, and the number of rooms is limited. There are places to stay outside the park, but they require drives of an hour or more each way to and from the park. Much better to stay inside the park if it's within your budget. For example, from Marathon it is a 70 minute drive just to the entrance of BBNP (including a stop at the Border Patrol station if it is open). Then it's another 30 minutes to the main visitor center at Panther Junction, and then another 30 minutes to Chisos Mountains Lodge. The Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive can take about 2 hours. The distances are vast in that part of our state.

If you plan to camp, check on availability now as well. A couple of the campgrounds will let you make a reservation for certain months of the year; I think that lasts through mid-April.

Uden, The...
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5. Re: When to go to Big Bend

We almost always go october and find that a great time of year. In april the bats won't fly out the Natural entrance in Carlsbad Caverns NP. And they will disappear in november. So if you want to go to Carlsbad but not for the caverns (and that really is a pity) you can see the bats fly out the Natural Entrance between may and november. There's ranger talk app 30 minutes before the bats come. North of Carlsbad is the interesting Living desert SP.

NJ
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6. Re: When to go to Big Bend

thanx so much for the imput. i am just not a cave person! i was there (in the cave) but it was 50 years ago!!!!

i may do white sands and carlsbad another time. i don't want to cram too much in on one trip. it sounds like i would be able to do big bend and guadalupe mts in april, if i can get reservations... i know i am starting a little late on this trip planning!

Uden, The...
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7. Re: When to go to Big Bend

Guadalupe Mountains visitor center just app is 45 miles from Carlsbad Caverns visitor center. (New visitor center with great info) and except last 7 miles most is 4 lanes now.

Edited: 05 December 2013, 21:31
Bryan, Texas
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8. Re: When to go to Big Bend

March & October are my picks to visit BBNP. I wouldn't stay IN the park. Every town around there has accomodations of some sort. Marathon and Marfa have historical hotels, Fort Davis has hotels and an AWESOME state park with a hotel, even Terlingua has a hotel.

Houston, TX
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9. Re: When to go to Big Bend

Yes, all those places do have hotels. If you don't mind spending up to two hours a day driving back and forth from the hotel to the park, then by all means have a look into lodging there. My own personal preference is to stay inside the park and spend those two hours or so each day doing something other than driving.

Uden, The...
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10. Re: When to go to Big Bend

Fully agree with TxOffWeGo. Awesome location inside Big Bend at Chisos Moutains Lodge.

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