Big Bend Trip Report
Spent the Labor Day weekend in Big Bend. Took the River Road West from the west end above Castalon east to the Black Gap Road, which I took north to Glenn Springs, then up the Glenn Springs Road back to the paved road. The River Road was OK, with a lot of washes and creek beds to traverse. A couple of times, it was hard to figure out what was the road and what was the creek bed. I had a road shown on my topo GPS and when in doubt, I tried to stick with where the GPS showed the road. The only tricky part was at mile 10.3 east of the paved road, where there was a huge mud hole (yes, I know this is a desert, but it was close to the river). A late model Tundra had been riding along with us up to this point, but they decided not to risk it. I put it into low and pushed through. The ruts were deep, but the brush was too thick on either side to try to take a line other than right down the ruts. We did not have any problems, but we were in a lifted Rubicon Unlimited with 33X12.5 MTRs. When we got through, there was heavy mud on the front up to the winch and muddy reeds hanging from the axles, sway bars and steering linkages. I think we scraped the center of the road off as we went through. After that, there were a few steep drops and rises as we went into and out of the washes and a lot of rocks, but nothing to write home about. This is not a road for a vehicle that does not have high take off and departure angles.
The Black Gap Road was rough as advertized. I was worried about getting a desert pinstripe job on my Jeep, but there was enough clearance to get through all but a few places. As we approached the drop off that you can see in a lot of YouTube videos, there were large boulders on the road, so we had to run with the right wheels up the side of the bluff to get through, but made it fine. I found a good line on the left side of the drop-off for the left wheels and arranged the rocks to make a good ramp for the right axle. We crawled down it with no problems at all. After that, there were plenty of rough areas, but nothing that was a problem for our Jeep. All in all, it was a blast and I am glad we did it. Some people say that they would not want to do this road from north to south, but I don't see it as a problem if you can get over the one ledge, which I did not think was that big of a deal. Again, you can look at people taking it on YouTube. Oh, and by the way, the scenery along the way was phenomenal. Even though my rear-view thermometer said it was 133, I don't think it was a bit over 110. If you own a Jeep and live in Texas, this trip is a must.