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Ride the Big Bend National and State Park where you'll start and end in Alpine Texas. You'll travel through the Chihuahuan Desert, the Contrabando movie set, the towns of Alpine, Study Butte, Presidio, Ft Davis and journey along the Rio Grande River on the US-Mexico border.
This thrilling ride can be completed in 6 hours over 250 miles (402 km) of fast road. The Big Bend features highways that have speed limits of 75 mph (120 km) and there are plenty of opportunities to ride fast. There's also some turns where you'll have to slow down to 20 mph (32 km).
Start in Alpine heading South on Texas Highway 118 (TX 118) to Study Butte. This highway is a mix of long, open stretches and curves that tighten down as low of 20 mph (32 km) as you wind around the Chihuahuan Desert. This road is a sport-tourer's dream, TX 118 has a speed limit of 75 mph (120 km). The scenery during Spring is dramatic and well worth the ride alone, in April-May the roads are lined with lush fields of bluebonnet flowers. When riding in Summer, remember to drink a lot of water, Western Texas becomes an oven with average temperatures in the 100Â°F range (37Â°C +), after all you are riding in the desert.
Photo credit: Michael Tuuk's Flickr - http://esr.cc/OIPmux
From Study Butte to the Contrabando movie set, head West on Farm-to-Market 170. Study Butte is located on the edge of Big Bend National Park, it's a small town of only 300 people. Big Bend is a RV hang-out, expect to see many tourists here. In the park you can lodge or camp, a store, a café, and gas is also available. For more information on Big Bend National Park see: http://esr.cc/MEJ0Iw
From Contrabando to Presidio along the US-Mexico border and the Rio Grande River, ride West to Presidio on Farm-to-Market 170 along the Rio Grande River and Southern end of Big Bend Ranch State Park. Because you're riding along the US-Mexico border, be prepared for some routine immigration checks.
Farm-to-Market 170 is full of tight turns along the twisty Rio Grande River on the US and Mexico border. Contrabando is located on the edge of Big Bend Ranch State Park surrounded by the Chihuahuan Deserts canyons and rugged mountains. You can where you can freely tour through the set when it's not in use and take some nice pictures on your motorbike.
From Presidio to Fort Davis head North on US Route 67. Presidio is a small town of 4,000 people located on the US-Mexico border overlooking Ojinaga, Mexico. Route 67 is full of sections of twisties and straight-a-ways. The Presidio area is known as "open range" territory, meaning that you may find livestock roaming on the roads at odd intervals. Ride on to Route 67 heading North passing through a ghost town called Shafter at 20 miles (32 km) into the road, then continue riding for 40 miles (64 km) passing the town of Marfa where you'll merge onto Texas Highway 17 to Fort Davis. Fort Davis is a small town; if you're hungry try out the Black Bear Lodge located in Fort Davis State Park. At night make sure to do some sky dazing, or check out the McDonald Observatory which houses one of the world's largest telescopes http://esr.cc/MEOB1D. For more information on Fort Davis see: http://esr.cc/N2g5Nv
From Fort Davis to Alpine it's a straight road. Ride Southeast for the final 24 miles (38 km) on TX 118 until you loop back to Alpine. Alpine is small college town of 5,000 people, there's not much to do here other than stay at a motel or gas up and have another go of the loop.
The Big Bend Alpine Loop is 6 hours and 250 miles (402 km) of fast riding over twisties, open stretches, through fields of flowers, along rivers, desert and 75 mph speed limits! Have a go or two or three, you know you want to! Enjoy the RIDE! EatSleepRIDE.