The Ultimate Guide to Camping in Big Bend National Park

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Big Bend National Park is a hidden gem along the United States / Mexico border. This massive park is a diverse mix of desert, mountains, and rivers. It is a geological wonder that charts the movements of tectonic plates like no other national park. The park is home to the tail ends of both the Appalachian Mountains and the Rocky Mountains and been further shaped by volcanos and rivers. The park is covered with the diverse plant life of the Chihuahuan Desert, Chisos Mountain range, Rio Grande River valley. Get a jump on exploring the park by camping in Big Bend National Park.

Here is everything you need to know about front-country camping in Big Bend National Park.

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Big Bend National Park Camping

Things to Know about Big Bend Camping

  • All campgrounds are open year-round. Reservations are available from November 15 – April 15. All sites are first-come-first-serve for the rest of the year.
  • Only Rio Grande Village and Chisos Basin Campgrounds have ADA specific sites. The Rio Grande RV Village has paved sites for RV users. All campgrounds have ADA accessible toilets and other campsites are level and may be usable by people in wheelchairs.
  • Reservations are released 6-months rolling basis. Make your reservation as early as possible.  Space can fill up fast, especially around spring break.
  • RV’s are limited to the Rio Grande Campground and RV Park. RV’s under 24 feet and trailers under 19 ft are allowed in Chisos Basin Campground.
  • Quiet Hours are from 8 pm to 8 am.  Generator use is limited to specific sites or the RV Park.
  • Most campsites can have up to 8 people.  You are allowed a maximum of one-wheeled camping vehicle and one tent or four tents and two passenger vehicles per site. Please note some of the smaller sites are unable to accommodate eight people.
  • All wood and ground fires are PROHIBITED including pressed wood logs or wood chips. Charcoal grills and gas grills are permissible, provided they are attended at all times. Do not place charcoal grills on tables.
  • Store all food items in your car or bear box.  Please do NOT leave any food, utensils out, or any scented items.  This includes toothpaste, toothbrush, chapstick.  Pretty much put everything but what you are going to sleep in your car.  Big Bend National Park is in bear country. Properly secure all items so no wildlife can get it.
  • Be prepared for gusty winds. Ensure all items are properly secured. These winds have been known to blow tents around.
  • Pay attention to the weather. Low areas near the Rio Grande River are subject to flooding.

Getting to Big Bend National Park

The closest airport to Big Bend is the Midland/Odessa Airport (MAF). Midland/Odessa Airport is located about 3 hours from the park’s Persimmon Gap entrance. The closest mid-sized commercial airport is El Paso International (ELP). El Paso is about 4.5 hours from Big Bend.

While there is no public transportation to Big Bend National Park, Amtrak’s Sunset Unlimited and Greyhound buses stop in Alpine, Texas. You can rent a car in Alpine and make the hour drive to the park.

Estimated Drive time to Big Bend National Park

  • Alpine, Texas – 1 hour
  • Midland, Texas – 3 hours
  • El Paso, Texas – 4.5 hours
  • San Antonio, Texas – 6 hours
  • Dallas, Texas – 8 hours
  • Houston, Texas – 9 hours
Planning on going camping in Big Bend National Park? Confused about which campsite to pick. National Park Obsessed's Ultimate Guide is here to help you pick the very best campsite. Big Bend national park vacation. Big Bend national park | Big Bend national park vacation | Big Bend national park photography | Big Bend national park itinerary | Big Bend hikes | Big Bend itinerary

Where to camp in Big Bend National Park?

Big Bend Campground Map

Campgrounds in Big Bend National Park

  • Chisos Basin Campground
  • Cottonwood Campground
  • Rio Grande Village Campground
  • Rio Grande Village RV Park

Campgrounds near Big Bend National Park

  • Big Bend Resort and Adventures 
  • Big Bend State Park
  • BJ’s RV Park 
  • Longhorn Ranch Motel 
  • Marathon Motel and Trailer Court 
  • Maverick Ranch RV Park 
  • Rancho Topanga Campgrounds 
  • Stillwell’s RV Park/Store
  • Study Butte RV Park

Camping at Big Bend National Park

** All Campground prices are valid as of 19 November 2019.

Big Bend Campgrounds

Chisos Basin Campground

Chisos Basin Campground is the prime campground for those looking to explore the Chisos mountains. The campground is located on a small plateau in the mountains with an epic view of the desert. The campground is perfectly located for hikers looking to hike the Window Trail, Lost Mine or Emory Peak. The sites are fairly private and most of the sites have a covered shelter for shade.

The road to the campground is narrow and windy. Vehicles are restricted to 24 ft in length and 19 ft trailers.

SeasonYear Around 
Number of Sites60 individual sites & 7 group sites (ADA individual sites available)
Fee per night$14 per individual site
$3 per person for group sites
Reservations AvailableYes, 26 sites are reservable November 15 – May 31
Max RV Length24 ft
RV Hook-upNo
Restrooms

Flush Toilets – Year Round

WaterCold Running Water
ShowersNo
Max Length of Stay14  Days
Wheelchair AccessibilityYes – site #37 is fully accessible for wheel chair users. Other nearby sites are flat and may be suitable for wheelchair users.
Wifi on PropertyNo
Laundry FacilitiesNo
Pets AllowedYes, but please review the Big Bend National Park Pet Policy
Typical Fill TimeWalk-in typically fills early afternoon on the weekends. The campground typically doesn’t fill during weekdays outside of spring break season.
Closest General Store Camp store in Chisos Basin by the visitor center.

Cottonwood Campground

Cottonwood Campground is the smallest campground in the park. This campground is a tent-only campground near the Rio Grande River and Castolon Historic District. The campground is set in a stand of cottonwood trees and provides shade.

SeasonYear Around 
Number of Sites24 individual sites & 1 group sites
Fee per night$14 per individual site
$3 per person for group sites
Reservations AvailableFirst-come-first-serve
Max RV LengthN/A
RV Hook-upNo
Restrooms

Vault Toliet

WaterCold Running Water
ShowersNo
Max Length of Stay14  Days
Wheelchair AccessibilityNo – the toilets are wheelchair-accesible. The campsites are not accessible but some are level and may be useable by people in wheelchairs.
Wifi on PropertyNo
Laundry FacilitiesNo
Pets AllowedYes, but please review the Big Bend National Park Pet Policy
Typical Fill TimeTypically fills early afternoon on the weekends. The campground typically doesn’t fill during weekdays outside of spring break season.
Closest General Store Camp store in Castolon by the visitor center. **Note, the store is currently closed due to construction in the Castolon Historic District.

Rio Grande Village Campground

Rio Grande Village Campground is located near the Rio Grande River and the Mexican town of Boquillas. This large campground is has a fair amount of shade and some sites offer great privacy.

This campground tends to be really hot during the summer.

SeasonYear Around 
Number of Sites100 individual sites & 4 group sites (ADA individual sites available)
Fee per night$14 per individual site
$3 per person for group sites
Reservations Available Yes, 43 sites are reservable November 15 – May 31
Max RV LengthN/A
RV Hook-upNo
Restrooms

Flush Toliets

WaterCold Running Water
ShowersYes
Max Length of Stay14  Days
Wheelchair Accessibility Yes – site #14 is fully accessible for wheel chair users. Other nearby sites are flat and may be suitable for wheelchair users.
Wifi on PropertyNo
Laundry FacilitiesYes
Pets AllowedYes, but please review the Big Bend National Park Pet Policy
Typical Fill TimeTypically fills early afternoon on the weekends. The campground typically doesn’t fill during weekdays outside of spring break season.
Closest General Store Camp Store is located in Rio Grande Village area

Rio Grande Village RV Campground

The Rio Grande Village RV Campground is a concessionaire run RV park with full hookups. The RV Campground is basically a parking lot for RV’s. The lot is surrounded by cottonwood trees but the trees don’t provide any shade in the campground.

This campground tends to be really hot during the summer.

SeasonYear Around 
Number of Sites25 individual sites (ADA individual sites available)
Fee per night$33 per double occupancy with a $3 per additonal person
Reservations Available Yes, 20 sites are reservable
Max RV Length40 ft
RV Hook-upYes
Restrooms

Flush Toliets

WaterCold Running Water
ShowersYes
Max Length of Stay14  Days
Wheelchair AccessibilityYes, the sites are all paved
Wifi on PropertyNo
Laundry FacilitiesYes
Pets AllowedYes, but please review the Big Bend National Park Pet Policy
Typical Fill TimeTypically fills early afternoon on the weekends. The campground typically doesn’t fill during weekdays outside of spring break season.
Closest General Store Camp Store is located in Rio Grande Village area
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Planning on going camping in Big Bend National Park? Confused about which campsite to pick. National Park Obsessed\'s Ultimate Guide is here to help you pick the very best campsite. Big Bend national park vacation. Big Bend national park | Big Bend national park vacation | Big Bend national park photography | Big Bend national park itinerary | Big Bend hikes | Big Bend itinerary

Jennifer Melroy

    Jennifer has been obsessed with national parks as a child.  This Tennessee native spent her childhood exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and traveling with her parents to National Parks and around the Caribbean.  She is always planning her next adventure and is ready to see the world while trying to visit all 59 National Park (*She is ignoring the hunk of concrete that just became a national park).

    Jennifer Melroy has 104 posts and counting. See all posts by Jennifer Melroy

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