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Desert Dirt Fest comes to Big Bend Ranch President’s Day weekend
‘The Chihuahuan Desert Dirt Fest’ is scheduled to take place Feb. 16-18 in the Terlingua/Lajitas area of southwest Texas. The International Mountain Biking Association’s internationally acclaimed and designated 54-mile Epic Ride in Big Bend Ranch State Park will be the festival’s featured route on Feb. 18.
The Dirt Fest offers three days of riding opportunities for all levels of riders, from beginners on mostly flat, historic 4x4 double-track ranch roads to advanced riders taking on the challenging single-track of the Dome Trail and Rincon Loops or the Epic Ride up Fresno Canyon to Sauceda. The Lajitas and Contrabando trails are great places to develop and enhance mountain-bike riding skills, while at the same time experiencing and enjoying some of the wildest remaining desert landscapes in the United States.
Each day of the Dirt Fest there will be guided trips led by staff from Desert Sports, members of the Big Bend Trails Alliance and by Big Bend Ranch State Park rangers. Riders are welcome to ride on any of the trails without guides at their own pace. Guided rides in the park will accommodate advanced rider fitness and skill levels and mid-level rider fitness and skill levels.
Thursday’s opening-day options include rides of various distances through Big Bend National Park, the guided 30-mile Rincon Loop or the 18-mile Dome Trail or an unguided two-day Epic option.
Friday’s options include a single-track ride through the rolling hills at LajitasTrails system, the guided 30-mile Rincon Loop or the 18-mile Dome Trail or an unguided two-day Epic Ride option.
Saturday’s options include the grueling 54-mile Epic Ride, the Dome or Rincon Loops, roll your own or a children’s’ ride.
Riders may also take the two-day Epic Ride option if the 54 miles is too tough and arduous to ride in one day. Riders on this option are invited to make a 29-mile ride on day one then throw their feet up and relax with dinner, a hot shower and a good night’s rest before heading out again in the morning. After a hearty breakfast on day two, riders can then complete the 25 miles back to Lajitas. In addition to seeing and experiencing the natural beauty of the Chihuahuan Desert mountains, canyons and springs, visitors can see archeological and historic sites along the way. Water aid stations will be available.
The two-day Epic Ride can be done either Thursday/Friday or Friday/Saturday. Persons opting for one of the two overnight Epic rides must observe the following guidelines:
- Make Big Bend Ranch State Park lodging reservations through TPWD’s Customer Service Center at (512) 389-8919. The Bunkhouse is $35 a night per bunk, or reserve one of three rooms (one queen bed) inside the original ranch residence, the Big House, which is $100 per room (two people maximum occupancy).
- Park entry fees are being waived during the three-day festival.
- Meal reservations must be made and paid for in advance by calling BBRSP at (432) 358-4444.
- A free bag shuttled is offered to riders. E-mail park superintendent Barrett Durst at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, as there is limited space available.
“This is truly an epic event with plenty of adventure, breathtaking views, spirit and soul rejuvenation, and healthy fun in the sun,” said Barrett Durst, superintendent of Big Bend Ranch State Park.
“The two-day Epic Ride opportunity this year should be a hoot. For many, the Dirt Fest adventure will be an experience of a lifetime. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department welcomes the citizens of Texas and from all over to visit and experience their grandest state park,” he said.
To pre-register for Dirt Fest, visit http://www.bikereg.com. For more information about the event, call Desert Sports toll-free at (888) 989-6900, or by visiting http://www.desertsportstx.com/mountain-bike-event.
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