Big Bend Ranch State Park and National Park

Last Updated 6/12/2008

See Susan's Photos
See Joan's Photos

Big Bend is one of the most remote and least visited areas of our country. It's an incredibly beautiful and temperate (in winter) desert landscape that you'll never forget. Escape your frigid climate, see a wild and largely unhiked section of the country, and lose weight (or more accurately, improve body composition).

Big Bend Ranch State Park, TX (Photo: Bruce Coffer)

Big Bend is a 4 hour drive from Midland/Odessa Airport. Because of this, we ask your patience regarding logistics. Depending upon how many participants and vehicles we have, we may not leave the airport until everyone arrives, which means there could be some waiting involved. We also will make a few stops along the way to pick up items for the week ahead. Furthermore, expect a late start on first day of hiking.


We don't believe in austere eating regimens. Backpacking is a rigorous, rewarding activity. You must feed your body in order for it perform. Your body will dictate that you eat often. It's important to have fuel to feed it. See what we have planned to eat. Note that this is not necessarily a comprehensive list. If you want to bring a 5 pound chocolate cake, go for it. After carrying it 50 miles through the mountains, your body will reject the empty calories and prefer real food.


This trip will be from November 3-11, 2007. Here is the proposed itinerary.

We will be hiking through the sparsely visited Big Bend National Park, and the even more sparsely visited Big Bend Ranch State Park. The first part of the hike will be the counter-clockwise loop of the Rancherias Trail.

The second part of the hike will encompass the Chisos Loop and South Rim in Big Bend National Park, with a day-hike up 7825' Emory Peak.

If we finish in 6 days and there's time, we'll do a day hike to Laguna Hot Springs near Boquillas. Important! Water is scarce in this region. Be prepared to carry as much as 2 gallons (16 pounds) of water.

Equipment List

Here is a list of equipment we suggest you bring.

Trip Leaders

Steve Silberberg, who lives in Hull, MA has many years of backpacking experience over a variety of terrains and guides most Fitpacking trips. He is a certified Wilderness First Responder.

Joan Hennes from Fresno, CA has backpacked throughout most of her life in places like Big Sur and Yosemite. As a Licensed Social Worker, she has led numerous groups of adolescent children on trips to Yosemite and Sequoia Parks.


$925 per person double occupancy. Here, double occupancy means that you will share a hotel room with another trip participant. You may also wish to share a tent with another participant. This isn't a requirement, but it will cut down on total weight you carry, an important consideration.

You will also be responsible for transportation to and from Midland/Odessa, TX (or if you plan to drive, Study Butte, TX) as well as personal equipment, and any restaurant meals.

Covered expenses include trail food, ground transportation, guides, permits, satellite phone service etc.