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Old 05-18-2017, 10:10 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Patandlinda View Post
Cathy you thinking Jan . , Feb at lower elevation ? Pat
Just looked at average temperatures and into February looks best.

Lower elevation, yes, but will go up and have a look at least with TV only.

I see the Rio Grande Village campground, lower elevation, is closed this year May - September for work on water and waste systems.
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Old 05-18-2017, 10:22 PM   #12
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Well, a pull-through would work then if we go up there. We will check it out for sure. Thanks. Apparently they take reservations only within six months.
And, even some of the back-in sites will work with a 21. The photo I posted on the thread about screens was our 19 in a back-in site, because tent campers had taken all the pull throughs. Don't know why the NPS allows a single tent to take up such prime space, but they do. In any case, your 21 would fit that site.

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Old 05-18-2017, 10:34 PM   #13
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One thing that will surprise many people: The night time winter temperatures in the low country are actually about 5 degrees F colder than the Chisos Basin. This is because cold air sinks and the RGV (Rio Grande Village) CG and the Cottonwood CG are both at river level - as low as it gets in the Park.

But absolutely be prepared for temperature extremes. Remember, the average temps in Big Bend is just the mid-point between the two extremes. It hit - officially - 96F in mid-February when we were hosting at RGV. Ouch - no air conditioning. And RGV is in a wind tunnel when the wind is from the north. I've chased down many loose tents and secured awnings for folks who were out hiking. The official forecast may say 10-20 mph, but if there is a north component to the wind direction expect triple that. This is not an issue in the Chisos or Cottonwood.

A special opportunity exists to camp at a backcountry site by yourselves if you can pick up a permit. One or two of the backcountry sites are suitable for small trailers. Ask at the Panther Junction visitor center as the road conditions can vary from year to year. At night you will have the entire park to yourselves seemingly. The sense of isolation is truly amazing.

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Old 05-18-2017, 10:46 PM   #14
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And, even some of the back-in sites will work with a 21. The photo I posted on the thread about screens was our 19 in a back-in site, because tent campers had taken all the pull throughs. Don't know why the NPS allows a single tent to take up such prime space, but they do. In any case, your 21 would fit that site.
Its not really a matter of "allowing". The reservation system doesn't have the ability to prevent someone from making reservations for certain sites based on their equipment. And since there are no hookups anywhere all sites are considered tent sites. The Chisos Basin CG is really quite compact and flat space is at a premium. If you are used to having big sites like we do here in Colorado, you might groan when you realize you are 6 feet from your neighbor. But - ask your friendly camp host for advice! We have been known to negotiate and move folks around. But only on rare occasions when the CG is not crowded and the stars are aligned just right.

An alternative is to head to the Cottonwood CG. It is a bit of the beaten track, no reservations taken - and rarely needed except at the March/April peak. The sites at Cottonwood are bigger and level, and there are only about 24 sites so it is much quieter in general. Its my favorite of the 3. The downside is that you are at the far end of the Park and it becomes a significant drive to go most anywhere.

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Old 05-18-2017, 11:36 PM   #15
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[QUOTE=float5;198017]
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Originally Posted by Mary F View Post
By "Chisos" I assume y'all mean the Basin campground...or is there another one called Chisos? (It's the Chisos mtn range, I know.)

Like winter in the rest of Texas, anything's possible in January/February, including ice...[/QUOTE

Yes, it is called Chisos Basin Campground.

This past winter was actually very hot at the lower elevations from what I read.
Oh. I have only ever heard it called The Basin. Never just "Chisos," which would more likely refer to the mountains. So I was confused...reading the posts in reverse order, mostly.

Our central TX winter was for the most part warm, too, except for the two nights it got down to 19F (about 2 weeks apart, with busted plumbing both times)... And winter of 2016 there was an ice storm out there, around New Years (we were there). You just have to watch the weather and be flexible. That's all I was trying to say, but of course, YMMV.
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Old 05-19-2017, 12:09 AM   #16
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Pardon my slang, Mary. I did mean Chisos Basin.

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Old 05-19-2017, 09:31 AM   #17
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Looks as if you can't tell what Big Bend is doing in February: temperatures way up and down. Or maybe any other time.

I guess though that that is not the case outside of the park. There is a whole list of places around there to visit.
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Old 05-19-2017, 09:49 AM   #18
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Cottonwood Campground is near Santa Elena Canyon and is also very nice, but has no hookups.


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Old 05-19-2017, 09:55 AM   #19
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It can get cold

We tent camped at the Rio Grande Village in February and the nights were cold and below freezing. Attached is a morning photo of a leaking solar shower with icicle atop the picnic table. No utilities at the campsites but we did have a Mr. Buddy for AM tent warm-up. Things warm up pretty quick if it is sunny, I recall.

One other memory is the ground dirt is incredibly dusty and fine and like flour and covers most everything, at least in the campsite.

I would highly recommend a visit to the Fort Davis observatory....cool place and grand views. Alpine, TX is another gem.
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