(Press Release from Leslie Hopper, Compadres del Rancho Grande/ Friends of Big Bend Ranch State Park)
Bicycling and trail running enthusiasts visiting Big Bend Ranch State Park to run, ride and “lose” themselves (although not literally!) in its 330,000+ acres and wide-open spaces find it irresistible, alluring, and perhaps just a little bit daunting. While it’s a thrill for some, the prospect of going solo in this remote and rugged wilderness can be properly overwhelming. Fortunately, there are two events each year which help initiate running and riding enthusiasts to the park’s miles of trails and like-minded company. These events serve to orient and acquaint participants to trails they may not have tried, are reluctant to travel alone, or haven’t explored recently. Both events are staffed by informed volunteers, friendly locals and helpful park staff. Each event features water and support stations.
Big Bend Ultra:
The Big Bend Ultra is a competitive trail run open to novice and professional athletes alike. The event offers chip-timed 10K, 30K and 50K marked distances for runners who want to take on the trails through BBRSP’s challenging topography and inspiring landscape. The 2018 event will be held Sunday, January 14th over Martin Luther King Jr. Day Weekend and benefits Compadres del Rancho Grande, the Friends of Big Bend Ranch State Park (www.parkfriends.org). Aid stations are distributed at 5-mile distances throughout the course. Visit www.bigbend50.com to learn more, register to run, or sign up as a volunteer.
The Chihuahuan Desert Bike Fest is a non-competitive mountain biking event open to all ages and skill levels. The 2018 event takes place Thursday through Sunday, Presidents Day Weekend in February. featuring guided rides of varying challenges and distances. Bike Fest includes a Geology interpretive ride, kids’ rides and the One-day Epic Loop: a 50-plus mile trail selected by the International Mountain Biking Association for its unique terrain and variety. The event benefits the Big Bend Trails Alliance which has developed and maintained “hand-built” trails in the Big Bend region for decades. For more info visit www. bikefest.desertsportstx.com. Both events directly and indirectly benefit Big Bend Ranch State Park by increasing visitation, stimulating park awareness, and raising funds for trail improvements, park infrastructure, programs and outreach. But most of all they are a fun way to explore the back country in Big Bend Ranch State Park, arguably the “biggest and best state park in Texas”.
Awesome map above is included to illustrate the general location of events in Big Bend Ranch State Park but should not be used for more than that. Before hitting the trail pick up an excellent map at the Barton Warnock Visitor Center in Lajitas, Texas.
Know before you go:
The Chihuahuan Desert Bike Fest and Big Bend Ultra are increasing in popularity, so register early. As always, be sure to pack plenty of water, snacks and inform a trusted friend or family member of your plans and expected time of return. Camping and RV sites are available at the Maverick Ranch RV Park event site in Lajitas. Camping, lodging and RV sites are also available in nearby Terlingua and Study Butte (https://visitbigbend.com/) and in Big Bend Ranch State Park by reservation. https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/big- bend-ranch/fees-facilities/campsites