Campgrounds in Big Bend National Park

Best Campgrounds in Big Bend National Park

There is nothing like camping in Big Bend National Park.  Just being here out in the wilderness in southwest Texas is amazing, and camping underneath the stars in a breathtaking place like Big Bend National Park is an experience that you’ll never forget.  It’s also quite a drive to the more remote (and popular) places in Big Bend, and camping is a great way to get a head start on your day.  Luckily for you, there are some great campgrounds in Big Bend National Park to choose from!

Campgrounds in Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park has several established campgrounds that you can pick, and you really can’t go wrong with any of them.  The only real way you can go wrong is by not planning ahead, and we hope this guide gives you a bit of an idea on how to do so in order to be best prepared (and ensure you have a place to stay!) when you arrive in Big Bend.

BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK CAMPGROUNDS: OVERVIEW

Big Bend National Park is fairly remote.  Even most Texans don’t venture their way to this part of the state.  However, during the cooler months of the year, and particularly in early spring, this park can get quite busy, and campgrounds do fill up well in advance.

Because of this, we highly recommend getting camping reservations ahead of your trip.  However, if you aren’t able to do that, feel free to call the same day you want to camp just to see if a cancelation happened to open up a spot for you.  While you shouldn’t count on this, it can happen.

If you are in need of camping supplies, you have a few options.  Nearby all the campgrounds are small stores.  They are limited in their offerings and can be quite expensive, and not all are open year-round.  The best bet is to get stocked up ahead of entering into the park, at the towns of Terlingua, TX (about 10 minutes from the Maverick Junction entrance to the park) or Marathon, TX, which is about 45 min north of the Persimmon Gap entrance.  There is also a small store in Stillwell, just outside of the Persimmon Gap entrance.

big bend national park itinerary

Our downloadable Big Bend National Park itinerary is a great way to get a head start on your planning.  We’ve spent hours putting together the best hikes, what to bring with you, sample multi-day itineraries for travelers of all types and what to see in the area. 

 

BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK CAMPING – CHISOS BASIN AREA

Big Bend National Park Chisos Basin area

Map of the Chisos Basin Area in Big Bend National Park, courtesy of the National Park Service

Chisos Basin Campground in Big Bend National Park

Chisos Basin Campground, courtesy of the National Park Service

Chisos Basin Campground:

  • Location: The Chisos Basin Campground is located in the heart of the park, in Chisos Basin. The drive in here on Chisos Basin Road is windy, and you are not recommended to take this road if you have a trailer longer than 20 feet or an RV over 24 feet in length.  Directions from Panther Junction Visitor Center to the Chisos Basin Campground.
  • Accessible via:
  • Reservations: Offered year-round and are required. Reservations open up 6 months in advance.  Chisos Basin Campground Reservations.
  • Capacity: 60 sites.
  • Electricity / Water Hookups / Dump Station: No / No / Yes.
  • Toilets / Showers: Flush toilets and no showers.
  • Nearby: The Chisos Mountain Lodge and Visitor Center are located nearby. This allows purchase of supplies (limited) and also access to restaurants.  There is plenty to do in Chisos Basin.  Right from the campground is the Window Trail.  This moderate hike is about 3.9-miles (round-trip) if you hike from the campground and leads to a pour-off that overlooks the park with amazing views of Juniper Canyon to the east.  The other great hike that we like (and our favorite in the park) is the moderately challenging, 4.8-mile (round-trip) Lost Mine Trail.  The Lost Mine Trail overlooks the Juniper Canyon to the east and has amazing views!
  • Additional details: This is a great setting, but keep in mind that the campsites are small, and not built for RVs or large trailers (mainly tents and small travel trailers). The location is awesome, though!  Latest information on the Chisos Basin Campground

BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK CAMPING – RIO GRANDE VILLAGE AREA

Rio Grande Village Area in Big Bend National Park

Map of the Rio Grande Village Area in Big Bend National Park, courtesy of the National Park Service

Rio Grande Village Campground in Big Bend National Park

Rio Grande Village Campground map, courtesy of the National Park Service

 

Rio Grande Village Campground:

  • Location: The Rio Grande Village Campground is located in the Rio Grande Village Area, situated on the banks of the Rio Grande. The drive in is fairly easy compared to the Chisos Basin Campground.  Directions from Panther Junction Visitor Center to the Rio Grande Village Campground.
  • Accessible via:
  • Reservations: Offered year-round and are required. Reservations open up 6 months in advance.  Rio Grande Village Campground Reservations.
  • Capacity: 93 sites.
  • Electricity / Water Hookups / Dump Station: No / No / Yes.
  • Toilets / Showers: Flush toilets and no showers. Showers are located in nearby Rio Grande Village.
  • Nearby: The Rio Grande Village Visitor Center (and store) are located nearby. In addition, there are plenty of great hiking trails nearby, including 1.2-mile Hot Springs Trail, which leads along the river to the nearby Hot Springs.
  • Additional details: The campsites are much larger than the Chisos Basin Campground, but they are pretty packed in so just be prepared. There are a few trees and not much shade, making this area hot in the heat of the sun.  However, this is a great place to stay for a couple nights while exploring the area.  Latest information on the Rio Grande Village Campground

 

Rio Grande Village RV Campground:

  • Location: The Rio Grande Village RV Campground is located in the Rio Grande Village Area, situated on the banks of the Rio Grande just to the west of the Rio Grande Village Visitor Center. Directions from Panther Junction Visitor Center to the Rio Grande Village RV Campground.
  • Accessible via:
  • Reservations: Offered year-round and are required. Call 432-477-2293 for reservations. 
  • Capacity: 25 sites.
  • Electricity / Water Hookups / Dump Station: Yes / Yes / Yes.
  • Toilets / Showers: Flush toilets and showers.
  • Nearby: The Rio Grande Village Visitor Center (and store) are located nearby. In addition, there are plenty of great hiking trails nearby, including 1.2-mile Hot Springs Trail, which leads along the river to the nearby Hot Springs.
  • Additional details: This is the only full-hookup campground in the park, and is privately owned and operated by the concessionaire. It is largely a parking lot with hookups, but it is handy if you need power for your RV!  Latest information on the Rio Grande Village RV Campground

 

BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK CAMPING – CASTOLON AREA

Castolon area map in Big Bend National Park

Map of the Castolon Area in Big Bend National Park, courtesy of the National Park Service

Cottonwood campground map in Big Bend National Park

Cottonwood Campground map, courtesy of the National Park Service

 

Cottonwood Campground:

  • Location: The Cottonwood Campground is located down the Ross-Maxwell Drive in the remote Castolon Area of the park. This small campground offers quiet camping nearby the Rio Grande River.  Though a distance from the rest of the park, the drive down Ross-Maxwell Drive is really impressive and quite easy.  Directions from Panther Junction Visitor Center to the Cottonwood Campground.
  • Accessible via:
  • Reservations: Offered when the park is open (November 1 through April 30) and are required. Reservations open 14 days in advance.  Cottonwood Campground Reservations.
  • Capacity: 22 sites.
  • Electricity / Water Hookups / Dump Station: No / No / Yes.
  • Toilets / Showers: Flush toilets and no showers. Showers are located in nearby Rio Grande Village.
  • Nearby: The Castolon Area of the park is remote, but is a good place to rest for a night or two as you explore the area. Nearby hiking is great, and one of the local trails that is a must-do is the Santa Elena Canyon Trail.  It’s only 1.4 miles and is fairly easy, but it travels along the Rio Grande River with views of the canyon and into Mexico.  The Castolon Visitor Center is also nearby, but open only in the cooler months of the year.
  • Additional details: The Cottonwood Campground is smaller and a bit quieter than the other campgrounds in the park. There are even shade trees that help out with sun exposure as well!  There is a camp store nearby (open year-round), but other than that services are limited.  Latest information on the Rio Grande Village Campground

BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK CAMPGROUNDS - GROUP CAMPING

Group camping is offered at all three of the park’s public campgrounds.  Reservations are required in advance!

CAMPING OUTSIDE BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK

With the options available, camping inside of Big Bend National Park is definitely something you can do with proper planning.  If you want more amenities, though, we recommend camping outside the park in nearby Terlingua, TX.

You can also find some free camping outside of Big Bend National Park, or camping at nearby Big Bend Ranch State Park.

 

FURTHER INFORMATION ON BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK FROM JUST GO TRAVEL STUDIOS

Custom National Park poster

Back to blog

About Just Go Travel Studios

We are Amy & Pete Brahan. Very simply, we are passionate about our National Parks and Public Lands and explore them with our three kids whenever we can.

As much as we enjoy traveling, we also love sharing our knowledge and helping others create everlasting memories through our custom-made travel posters, downloadable travel itineraries and detailed blog articles.

10% of all after-tax profits are donated to the National Park Foundation.

Veteran owned.