Albania Andorra Armenia Austria Azerbaijan Belgium Bosnia and Herzegovina Bulgaria Croatia Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark England Estonia Finland France Georgia Germany Greece Hungary Iceland Ireland Italy Latvia Liechtenstein Lithuania Of course, if I were a cowboy, I wouldn’t be wearing spandex shorts and pushing my bike up this steep hill in the Chihuahuan Desert. The rolling hills, dissected by countless dry arroyos, will mark our official arrival in Big Bend country. “The ambulance is hours away, and if you are seriously injured, it takes hours to get to the hospital in Alpine. Indoor facilities such as motels/hotels, hostels, and churches are used occasionally, but on our more remote trips, some primitive camping is possible. A variety of guided outdoor activities are available. On the first day I decided to check out the Dome Loop in Big Bend Ranch State Park. When we were riding in the state park, we had two or three trail guys [bike patrol] with us all day to make sure we were okay, make sure we weren’t lost. The Chihuahuan Desert Bike Fest will not take place in 2019. Weather can turn on a dime. © 1997-2021 Adventure Cycling Association, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, We’re all part of this community. © 2008–2020. My boyhood fancies of a cowboy life on the open range, fueled by Lone Ranger reruns and imaginative bicycle escapades around the neighborhood, lost steam over time. If you have a flat or mechanical issue, they help you out.”. Daily climbing will average between 2,500 and 3,500 feet, and we’ll move into typical grades of 3% to 6%, with occasional climbs reaching over 8% (these are typically short-lived). Held annually in February, Bike Fest draws mountain bikers to the desert for three days of riding in the state park, Big Bend National Park, and Lajitas Trails. Expect to climb and descend regularly each day. Accommodations run the range from convenient and comfortable to resort luxury. Big Bend (didn't bend enough!) The weather is sure to be hot and dry, so adequate hydration will be key to a good day in the saddle. Adventure Cycling’s Guided Tours response to COVID-19, Photos by Ray Foss | Tom Johnson | Sue Crosby. Average mileage between 45 and 60 miles per day, with a variety of terrain. We'll remain in the park all day as we head back up the previous day's downhill and make our way to Chisos Basin. I’m climbing the side of the Wax Factory Laccolith, the eroded remnants of an ancient magma intrusion set among Big Bend Ranch State Park’s jagged ridges and dry washes. With the rolling terrain and only a few steep & long climbs, the Big Bend and Texas Mountains Bike Tour is a good tour for early season conditioning. We spent a long time in the library and going all over town, but we had nothing more than leads that were going nowhere. Cyclists explore a bluff from the Dome Trail in Big Bend Ranch State Park. Adventure Cycling's van-supported tours — where all personal and group gear is transported by a vehicle each day — have 2 leaders and up to 13 riders who camp most nights and share rotating cooking duties, akin to a self-contained trip but with the security and simplicity of van support. Tex's Luavull Cycling Bikes, Futbol, Birds, Stuff. Angell Expeditions rents bikes, helmets and other gear for this, and also will guide new riders thru the course, along with interpretive talk on the history, geology, plants and wildlife. The rolling hills, dissected by countless dry arroyos, will mark our official arrival in Big Bend country. Terlingua's current residents are artists and an assortment of eccentric characters. Photographer Erich Schlegel keeps in shape mountain biking the trails near his Lake Travis home when he’s not traveling to shoot adventures across Texas and the globe. At our highest, we will be roughly 5,400 feet above sea level. We'll be reminded that this part of Texas is anything but flat as we drop 3,100 feet, leaving Big Bend National Park toward the Rio Grande. Your group will share responsibilities for food purchase, preparation, and clean up on a rotating basis. Suggested Itineraries. Big Bend NP weather report, historic temperatures and climate info,… Searchable lists of Big Bend NP tourism offices and other helpful government agencies. Big Bend National Park’s hiking trails are closed to mountain biking, but bikes are allowed on the park’s paved and unpaved roads. The discovery of cinnabar, a source of mercury, was the spark that fired up the town, where today all that remains are remnants from the mining days: several capped, abandoned mines, including the California Hill, the Rainbow, the 248, and the Study Butte. Privacy Policy. Published monthly by the Texas Department of Transportation, Texas Highways, the official travel magazine of Texas, encourages travel to and within the Lone Star State and tells the Texas story to readers around the world. Big Bend has lots to explore! Call 432/424-5000. The festival showcases a different mountain-biking area on each of its three days, although riders can go wherever they please. Our gentle downhill continues today as we lose 1,800 feet of elevation on our approach to the north entrance of Big Bend National Park. Outside of the riding, Bike Fest offers an opportunity for mountain-bikers to geek out with kindred spirits with parties, workshops, and games such as bike-rolling and bike bunny-hopping. Our first cycling day will be spent on a slice of the Southern Tier Bicycle Route as we make our way southeast to Marathon. Sign up and get new stories and inspiration delivered right to you. On Saturday, the guided rides explore Big Bend Ranch State Park with routes of varying length and difficulty. Desert Sports produces Chihuahuan Desert Bike Fest in conjunction with Big Bend Ranch State Park and Lajitas Resort. We started with two full days and close to 100 miles of cycling that took us from Panther Junction, the park’s headquarters to the Cottonwood/Castolon campground area along the Rio Grande or as its called in Mexico, the Rio Bravo. Please click here to jump to the Overview section with all tour details including pricing.. Big Bend Texas MTB Tour: Highlights. We'll meet in late morning near the El Paso airport for the three-hour van shuttle to our starting point in Fort Davis. The Chihuahuan Desert’s stark beauty and thorny terrain distinguish it from other mountain-biking hotspots across the country. Once we regain Panther Junction, we'll blaze a new trail toward Chisos Basin with a significant climb nearly three miles long and grades as steep as 15 percent. “This place really caters to the mountain biker this weekend. Big Bend is home to a few remarkable communities: Marathon, Study Butte, Terlingua Ghost Town, Lajitas, and Big Bend National Park. Working with hundreds of companies our selection of Big Bend National Park motor cycling articles is one of the largest on the web. Big Bend National Park, where the Rio Grande does a U-turn on the border between Mexico and Texas, is very attractive between November and April. I don’t want to scare anyone from coming out here, but I do want people to use their good common sense and really evaluate themselves and be honest with themselves—remember where you are and remember who you are; remember your skill level.”. In Mike Long’s opinion, the best time to ride in Big Bend is actually the weeks following Bike Fest. Big Bend Tour Review. Cell phone service in the area is minimal at best. The Big Bend is arguably Texas’ premiere destination for mountain biking. We're looking to get in a couple of days at the Chisos Lodge in Big Bend, followed by a couple of days at the Indian Lodge in Davis Mountains. Our gentle downhill continues today as we lose 1,800 feet of elevation on our approach to the north entrance of Big Bend National Park. You need a decent mountain bike that’s in working order along with basic knowledge of a few mechanical skills, such as replacing a tube and realigning a slipped chain. The three-day event, which benefits the Big Bend Trails Alliance—the volunteer group that has built or improved most of the mountain-bike trails in Lajitas and the state park—is an opportune introduction to mountain biking in Big Bend. Big Bend just recently started allowing biking on their dirt roads. Get the MagazineSave up to 62% off the cover price. Call 888/989-6900. Later on, we will drop some 900 feet before climbing again into the unique town of Marfa, made famous on the silver screen in the James Dean classic Giant and, more recently, No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood. The physical toll of climbing is eased a bit by the spectacular views along the route through Big Bend Ranch State Park. If you’re up to it, the 58-mile IMBA Epic Trail stretches deep into the park. With the wide-open country's ever-present winds, we'll surely see headwinds and tailwinds at some point today, especially since the route zigzags in all four directions during the ride to Marathon. The support is a safety net for mountain bikers who are new to the area or want to test their legs on new challenges. Held at a time of year with a good chance for cool, sunny weather, the festival schedules a slate of guided rides each day, places water stations around the riding areas, and coordinates a roving bike patrol, including EMTs and volunteers to assist with orientation and mechanical issues. I had to get away! For experienced riders, Bike Fest leads a group outing on the route, which the International Mountain Biking Association has designated one of the world’s “Epic” rides for its rigorous trails and scenic backcountry. “You don’t have to be an expert to enjoy our trails, but you have to remember where you are,” says Nathanael Gold, superintendent of the Big Bend Ranch State Park complex. Overnight facilities vary, but tents are typically pitched on large, flat, grassy areas. Expansive views and some climbing will lead us to the remote park headquarters at Panther Junction, among the least-visited units of the National Park Service. Back in Fort Davis, we'll say our goodbyes to those leaving us here. If there’s significant rain, the mud can become overwhelming, almost like concrete on a bike. Texas Highways Associate Editor Matt Joyce always takes his bike along on road trips, just in case. Visitors should check in at the Barton Warnock Visitor Center, 1 mile east of Lajitas on FM 170, to pay the $5 entrance fee. All Rights Reserved. I followed this advice several times during my Big Bend mountain biking adventures—when losing momentum on the final pedals of a steep climb up a plateau; when teetering alongside spiky lechuguilla and ocotillo blades; when barreling down a precipitous hill of gravel interspersed with rock ledges; or when simply taking a moment to enjoy new discoveries, like the sparkling hillside of quartz on the state park’s Crystal Trail or the remnants of an old candelilla wax factory in Fresno Canyon. You will need a good freestanding tent with a ground cloth, a sleeping bag rated appropriately for the season and elevation of your tour, and a sleeping pad. Big Bend National Park’s hiking trails are closed to mountain biking, but bikes are allowed on the park’s 160 miles of unpaved backcountry roads. From epic to fully supported, we offer tours that suit different styles of touring. Longer mileage days will typically have more rolling terrain, while shorter mileage days will have hilly or mountainous terrain. “We didn’t have trails when we started riding out here, and so we spent a lot of time riding creek beds and cow paths and that kind of stuff,” says Mike Long, the director of Bike Fest. Big Bend offers many opportunities for bicycle travel and sport. But I’ve still got a Lone Ranger poster, and I’ve still got a mountain bike. Most of the overnights will be at private or public campgrounds with a range of amenities. And Lajitas Resort is home to a 25-mile trail system—originally built for racing—that’s both riveting and accessible. If time and weather permit, we'll cap the evening with a star party at the nearby McDonald Observatory, home to one of the world's largest reflector telescopes and a perfect vantage point for viewing the Texas-sized night sky. Anyone done any road cycling in Big Bend? You'll have a little time before your ride to explore Marfa, home to quirky architecture, a large artist population, and an array of shops and restaurants before we cycle back to Fort Davis. Earlier this year I went to Colorado with Velo View (see post) and had a fine time, even if my cycling prowess was less than optimal. Call 432/477-2251. Big Bend After Fort Davis, we made it in to Alpine and hoped for a short day of riding along with an indoor place to stay. With more than 0+ tours available, easily compare packages, reviews, duration, and destinations to find the cycling holiday for you. For those going on to El Paso, we'll begin the three-hour van shuttle, remembering our new friends and the past several days spent cycling what musical legends Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys call, "miles and miles of Texas.". On Friday, the guided rides focus on the Lajitas Trails, a thrilling system of interconnected, single-track trails that dip and swerve through fast-riding badlands. The spring Adventure Cycling Big Bend Van Tour had a lot of folks from Northern regions and I think we all found a little joy in the desert sun.. Landscape with flowers. “You could tell the local mountain bikers because their shins and forearms were always shredded from the thorns. Find the right bike route for you through Big Bend, where we've got 2 cycle routes to explore. Long moved to Terlingua in 1985 and now co-owns Desert Sports, an outfitter, guiding company, and bike shop. With a few more days, I’d love to have ridden out and back from Presidio to Lajitas, via a 27 mile gravel road to Sauceda. Riders share their favorite Big Bend mountain biking rides. Big Bend. No fee. Cycling routes and bike maps in and around. Looking on Google Maps, it appears as if there's a wee bit of shoulder along the road - although I'm not sure at this time of the year if traffic would even be a worry. That’s because you’ll have the place mostly to yourself, yet the trails are in their top condition—rehabbed for the event and then worn smooth by the recent influx of riders. A road rider’s dream come true, this tour offers low-traffic byways, an abundance of stunning scenery, and ample opportunities to discover the secrets of Big Bend National Park, the Chihuahuan Desert, the Davis and Chisos mountain ranges, and the Rio Grande Wild & Scenic River. Depending on the nature and location of the trip, these facilities could range from RV parks with hot tubs, to wilderness locations without running water. We'll have "déjà vu all over again" as all but nine miles of our journey are spent backtracking. Use the blue menus to narrow down the … Angell Expeditions can take you on established, maintained mountain biking trails, old abandoned mining trails, maintained or primitive single and double track, or complete off-road rugged terrain. We'll take a short detour and make camp just a few miles shy of the park's entrance. It's also home to a legendary unsolved mystery: Marfa's "mystery ghost lights." You’ll have more fun and pick up confidence if you embark on your initial rides with experienced friends or a guide from one of the outfitters. BIG out country - not claimed: Eurobig - Claimed: Eurobig - Not claimed: Zoom-level: 4. 9 hour drive to Big Bend, because #yolo. The festival helps arrange shuttles to ferry riders back to their cars at the starting point. (Watch out for the white-thorn acacia!) So having access to trail systems like Big Bend Ranch State Park and the Lajitas Trails is pretty huge. I soaked it all in and then rode off into the horizon, just like the Lone Ranger. We were always trespassing, but we didn’t even really think about it, because no one was out here. But the traffic count is low, and although we're heading mostly downhill, we'll have a good dose of rolling hills throughout the day. If possible, carry an odometer, GPS unit, and satellite phone. And that slog up the Wax Factory Laccolith that I mentioned earlier? Mountain biking in the region is realistically accessible for people with moderate skill, experience, and fitness, but the experts at Desert Sports and Big Bend Ranch State Park stress the need to be prepared for the demanding environment. Epic tours generally see about one indoor overnight every ten days. Our journey through this hidden gem of the Lone Star State will not be without its challenges — the landscapes are vast, quiet, and empty, with long stretches devoid of services. Big Bend’s mountain-biking season lasts roughly from October through April. Today's ride from Presidio to Marfa is one of the most challenging of our entire tour as we gain nearly 4,000 feet of elevation over 60 miles, with no support services in sight except the Adventure Cycling van. https://texashighways.com/things-to-do/hiking-biking/biking-big-bend In late afternoon, we'll share our first group meal and discuss the details of our upcoming adventure. It gives us places to go ride, and it also makes it easier for us to tell people where to go.”. Once in Marathon, we can enjoy a slice of fried pie at the local café, a must for replenishing those spent calories. Ah, a short riding day! Average Elevation Gain Range: 2500-4500 ft/day, no high limit. A Very Hilly tour is just that. Communities offer services, amenities, and entertainment. Let's find your dream tour. Scenic paved highways with low traffic are ideal for skinny tire road bikes with lots of gears. Also bring water—the state park recommends about 1.75 gallons per day. Costs start at just £50 (€70 / $80) for a permanent article that promotes your services to our 50,000+ monthly visitors. Big Bend Ranch State Park’s East Contrabando and West Contrabando trailheads, which access most of the park’s mountain-biking trails, are on FM 170. The April race takes place on US Highway 285 South from Fort Stockton to Sanderson and back (about 59.0 miles each way - or 118.0 miles). Better still, it would be a real adventure to link up Big Bend State Ranch with Big Bend National Park. Enter Velo View Bike Tours. Although there’s currently no access to singletrack in the National Park, there are plenty of jeep tracks to explore. (Formerly Intermediate+/Advanced Tours), Average Mileage: 45-65/day Looking for a motor bike blog in Big Bend National Park? Thursday’s showcase is a guided ride on Big Bend National Park’s Old Ore Road. Big Bend National Park Western Spirit Cycling is all about our public lands. A tour for someone looking to push themselves on their adventure. Big (Bend) Thoughts I feel to be in a period of transition. Test your management abilities as a manager of your own cycling team and reach your dreams. Big Bend is the largest, most remote, and least visited National Park in the lower 48 states. The 29-mile, one-way ride follows a mule-cart mining trail as it descends through rugged terrain to the Rio Grande Village area, where hot springs await. We'll end the day with a celebratory dinner. Our home for the evening is the Rio Grande Village campground located along the Rio Grande River. Sign up for magazine extras, upcoming events, Mercantile specials, subscription offers, and more. Gold’s comments remind me of a refrain I heard throughout Bike Fest: There’s no shame in walking—your bike, that is—when you encounter a section of trail that feels iffy or precarious. It's back up and out of Chisos Basin today as we backtrack to Basin Junction before turning west toward Lajitas. The rugged setting is a challenge: Prickly plants and tire-piercing crags line the trails of gravel, sand, and rock; the desert sun is intense; shade and water are scarce. This ten-day, van-supported trip explores the wild and picturesque terrain of the West Texas Big Bend region. Cycling Simulator is a free online cycling manager game settled in a fictional cycling universe with managers, teams and riders from all over the world - all aiming to win the biggest tours and races of the season. Explore destinations near Big Bend … You should notify somebody of your planned route, including at park headquarters. You've come to the right place!. Carry spare tubes, preferably the type with sealant. Soon after riding through the village of Study Butte, we'll encounter a special treat: the almost-ghost-town of Terlingua. The 52-mile epic bike trail loop in Big Bend Ranch State Park has become the premier mountain biking route for serious off-road cycling enthusiasts. All that said, if you’re properly prepared, the payoffs are magnificent—exhilarating rides, soaring vistas, inspiring isolation, and interesting perspectives on the region’s rich cultural and natural history. Riders should train for Bike Fest ahead of time and research the gear they’ll need. This ten-day, van-supported trip explores the wild and picturesque terrain of the West Texas Big Bend region. It was a pretty good two weeks, the first week was spent riding the rollers on a daily basis, sometimes 45 minutes, sometimes an hour. "I registered with the expectation that the distance from daily work, and the physical challenge would be the highlights, but in fact the camaraderie was the most enjoyable aspect of the tour.". While it was still hot in late October, the higher elevation areas like Pine Canyon Road offered a bit of cooler weather. Temperatures in Big Bend can fluctuate by as much as 40 degrees in a single day. Promote your company through an article about Big Bend National Park Motor Cycling holidays, day trips or courses. In the late afternoons, the sunburned riders exchange their helmets and biking shoes for straw hats and sandals and congregate at the Maverick Ranch RV Park in Lajitas to swap tales, pick some tunes, and check out demo tents set up by several top-of-the-game mountain-bike makers. We'll take a short detour and … Sunday, January 24, 2016. (50-75 vertical feet/mile). Experts also suggest familiarizing yourself with the trail map before setting off on a ride, and carrying a map and compass. Big Bend is a hiker's paradise. Perhaps more to come at some point. Tour Support: A 15-passenger van and trailer that carries luggage, food and equipment supports Lizard Head Cycling’s tours. April 29, 2013. Cycling is a great way to experience the scenic beauty of Big Bend National Park, especially the paved roads in the lower elevations. You can ride in the summer, but you’re limited to the early morning hours because the midday heat is down-right dangerous. After pitching our tents at our oasis for the night, we may want to check out the Hallie Stillwell Hall of Fame Museum honoring the early 20th-century female settler whose tenacious character exemplifies the pioneer spirit of west Texas. W estern Montana only started looking like spring a few days ago. The 52 mile Epic Bike Trail Loop in Big Bend Ranch State Park has become the premier mountain biking route for serious off-road cycling enthusiasts. 9 days, $1300, van supported, camping, group cooking - 345.9 mi, +17494 ft. Bike ride in Jeff Davis County, TX Campsites at the Maverick Ranch RV Park in Lajitas (Bike Fest headquarters). Average daily elevation gain between 2500 and 4500 feet per day, with some days possibly exceeding 4500 feet in elevation gain. Vegetarian and special dietary needs will be accommodated, though food selection may be limited in some locations. A few miles west of Lajitas, we'll pass an apparent ghost town that was once used as a set for several TV westerns. The wild and picturesque terrain of the Southern Tier bicycle route as we descend cliff-surrounded..., subscription offers, and bike shop near Terlingua, carries bike equipment and rents mountain.!, easily compare packages, reviews, duration, and more,,. 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