Took a bike packing trip to Big Bend Ranch State Park last week. Pete Barth, Warren Kurtz and I road tripped down for the trip. We did two separate overnight bike packing trips with a day of unencumbered day riding in between.
The lowdown on the park: BBRSP is a 311,000 acre park (from what I can tell, the 3rd largest state park in the country). It lies to the west of the National Park. We entered the park from the west from Presidio, TX. It's about an hour drive to the ranger station on a gravel road. The park is remote, rugged and largely primitive. The staff was very friendly and helpful. One was an avid mountain biker. The ranger station has showers and marginal wifi. And free ice. The established campsites for base camp were primitive and beautiful desert terrain. The campsites were solitary. We couldn't see any other campers.
The overnight trips required a backcountry permit per night ($5). I don't think they were real crazy about giving us backcountry permits while we still had a campsite for the van and other gear, but we swung it.
Little known fact: Much of the geology was formed along with the Ouachita mountains in Arkansas. Apparently BBRSP was part of the Ouachita chain originally. So it's like Arkansas. But not.
Here would be my ratings:
Ease of reaching the park: 2/5 stars. It's an 18 hour drive or so. (But worth it)
Singletrack: (2/5). most of what we did were old trails, gravel roads, jeep trails and some single track. I think you can access more recent purpose built single track on the east side of the park. But that isn't really why were there. Looking for purpose built, flow, groomed trail? this isn't your place. But that isn't really why this place exists.
Wildlife: 4/5. Javelina. Lots of birds. Roadrunners. Coyotes at night. Mule deer.
Vistas, scenery, starry skies, sunrises, sunsets: 5/5
History: 5/5. Pictographs from a couple thousand years ago. Ranches and abandoned mud huts and buildings from the late 1800's and early 1900's.
Sunset light shining on the clouds to the east over the Solitario
Video of our day ride. (note in the last part the trail name should be Horsetrap Trail, not "name". Rushed it and goofed up)https://vimeo.com/208907795