Are you looking for some Big Bend National Park camping? So are a lot of people. In 2021, about 581,000 people visited Big Bend National Park in Texas, a huge increase from the 393,000 visitors in 2020. Its 801,000 acres make it the 15th largest National Park in America. The archaeological and historical resources show how humans survived in this Chihuahuan Desert region.
With Big Bend National Park’s diverse landscapes and unique history, visitors can spend days or weeks exploring all that it offers. Big Bend National Park camping is a highlight of many outdoor enthusiasts’ adventures around the country.
If that’s you, you’re in luck. We have ten of the best spots for Big Bend National Park camping, from developed campgrounds to roadside campsites.
Table of contents
- Planning a Camping Trip to Big Bend National Park
- When Is the Best Time to Camp in Big Bend National Park?
- 10 Best Spots for Big Bend National Park Camping
- Which Big Bend National Park Camping Spot Is for You?
Planning a Camping Trip to Big Bend National Park
Big Bend National Park camping is worth adding to your bucket list. The deep canyons, high mountains, and arid desert mean you can experience all types of scenery. Plus, the National Park Service has deemed Big Bend National Park one of the best locations for stargazing due to its lack of light pollution.
According to the NPS, “The Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division of the National Park Service has determined that Big Bend has the darkest night skies of any national park in the lower 48 states.” Additionally, in 2012, it became an International Dark Sky Park.
The park has developed campgrounds, primitive roadside campsites, and backcountry camping opportunities. All roadside and backcountry camping requires a use permit that you can purchase at recreation.gov.
Big Bend National Park is known for its diverse landscapes and wildlife and its combination of cultures. Its remote location in far west Texas means you’ll need to pack everything you need because you can’t make a quick run into Walmart. So whether you’re RV camping or tent camping, double-check your packing list.
When Is the Best Time to Camp in Big Bend National Park?
The peak season for Big Bend National Park camping is January through April, but the park and campgrounds remain open year-round. You’ll have more moderate weather during the first four months.
You must get reservations for all National Park Service campgrounds at Big Bend, which you can do up to six months in advance. So regardless of what time you visit, make your plans early to book a site.
10 Best Spots for Big Bend National Park Camping
Below is the information for ten of the best spots for Big Bend National Park camping. Some require reservations, while others are first-come, first-served. You’ll need to get permits to camp in some of the backcountry locations, so do your research before your trip.
1. Chisos Basin Campground
Address: Window View Dr, Big Bend National Park, TX 79834
About: Views of Casa Grande and Emory Peak greet you at Chisos Basin Campground. But the narrow, winding road leading to the campground means not all travelers can experience the sunset through the popular “Window.”
Only RVs less than 24 ft long can make it. You have to purchase the $16 a night reservation fee online before arrival on recreation.gov.
Amenities: You have access to food storage lockers and trash collection. It also has a dump station and potable water. None of the 56 sites have hook-ups.
The best part of staying at Chisos Basin Campground is the location. The Window Trail, Boot Canyon Trail, and Chisos Basin Loop are all close by. The campground sits in the center of the national park at the bottom of the Chisos Mountains.
2. Rio Grande Village Campground
Address: Big Bend National Park, TX 79834 (20 miles east of park headquarters)
About: If you have a larger RV, the Rio Grande Village Campground is one of your only Big Bend National Park camping options. The paved roads lead to gravel campsites and grassy areas in between. It also has picnic tables and grills. It costs $16 a night, which you can pay online when you book a site.
Amenities: None of the 93 sites have hook-ups, but you can use food storage lockers and trash collection services. Additionally, it has a dump station, potable water, laundry facilities, and coin-operated showers.
The Rio Grande Village Campground, located along the banks of the Rio Grande, lies on the far eastern edge of Big Bend National Park. If you’re interested in crossing the border into Mexico, this is a great location.
Pro Tip: After exploring Big Bend, try out overlanding at these amazing spots to go overlanding in Texas.
3. Cottonwood Campground
Address: Big Bend National Park, TX 79834 (23 miles down Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive)
About: If you want to stay at a smaller campground, you can book at the Cottonwood Campground located in the far southwest end of Big Bend National Park. It’s one of the quietest areas because of its remote location. It has no cell phone reception or internet connectivity.
Amenities: The limited amenities include vault toilets, potable water, charcoal grills, food storage lockers, and trash collection. Additionally, the Castolon Visitor Center and Historic District lie adjacent to the campground and are worth visiting during your stay.
4. Rio Grande Village RV Park
Address: Big Bend National Park, TX 79834 (half a mile from Rio Grande Village Campground)
About: Operated by Forever Resorts, the Rio Grande Village RV Park is the only campground with hook-ups inside Big Bend National Park. You can’t have any tent camping here. It has no cell phone reception, but you can get internet at the Rio Grande Village Store. Most size RVs will work, although some sites can’t accommodate RVs over 40 ft.
Amenities: You have access to full hook-ups with water, sewer, and electricity at the Rio Grande Village RV Park. It’s not as private as some other campgrounds, but it doesn’t require dry camping. Additionally, you can visit the Big Bend hot springs nearby. You can make reservations through Forever Resorts for $36 a night.
5. Maverick Road
Address: Old Maverick Road, Big Bend National Park, TX 79834
About: Old Maverick Road runs between Maverick Junction and Santa Elena Canyon on the west side of Big Bend National Park. It has two notable primitive roadside campsites along it, both of which require a backcountry camping permit to stay.
It’s a dirt road but easily passable by most vehicles. Maverick Road can experience high water and flooding after a rainstorm. Make sure to get a backcountry use permit before arriving and note that generators are not allowed.
Amenities: Rattlesnake Mountain campsite is less than 4 miles from the Maverick Junction and can accommodate one vehicle. Ocotillo Grove campsite is 3 miles from the southern end near Santa Elena Canyon and can accommodate one car and a teardrop camper. The three Terlingua Abajo campsites are on an extremely rough access road, so you’ll need to talk with a ranger before driving off Old Maverick Road.
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6. River Road
Address: River Road, Big Bend National Park, TX 79834
About: The ruins of Mariscal Mine lie about midway along River Road. You will need a high clearance four-wheel-drive vehicle to access these primitive campsites.
You can obtain a backcountry use permit at Panther Junction and Chisos Basin Visitor Centers or online at recreation.gov. Again, generator use is not allowed.
Amenities: River Road runs along the remote southern portion of Big Bend National Park. You can’t bring RVs or a standard car. The 51-mile-long road begins near the city of Castolon and ends near the Rio Grande Village.
The Buenos Aires campsite is the first on River Road West, 4.4 miles from the west end. It can accommodate two vehicles. You can also find three Gravel Road campsites on River Road East, 1.8 miles from the main paved road to Rio Grande Village. All three camps here can accommodate two vehicles each. In between, you’ll see numerous other roadside campsites.
7. Big Bend Resort & Adventures
Address: 53623 TX-118, Terlingua, TX 79852
About: Located just three miles from Big Bend National Park, this campground offers comfortable lodging and an RV park. All 131 sites have full hook-ups and provide access to big rigs. You can get internet access in the main lobby.
Amenities: You can book a horseback riding tour through the park just next door at Big Bend Stables. In the past, Big Bend Resort & Adventures has provided tours in their 4WD Ford Excursions of the Santa Elena Loop and Glenn Springs Road with add-on options to visit the Mariscal Mine, Ernst Tinaja, or Balanced Rock.
Pro Tip: While hiking around Big Bend, make sure to Watch Out for These Terrifying Texas Insects When Camping and Hiking
8. Maverick Ranch RV Park
Address: 10 Main Street, Lajitas, TX 79852
About: The Maverick Ranch RV Park at Lajitas Golf Resort lies between Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park on Highway FM 170. It has 100 full hook-up sites, 60 of which are pull-throughs.
Amenities: You can access all of the Lajitas Golf Resort amenities when you stay at Maverick Ranch RV Park. It has Agave Spa, Black Jack’s Crossing Golf Club, horseback trail rides, shooting activities, ziplining Quiet Canyon, mountain bike trails, a fitness center, and more on-site. It also features a clubhouse, swimming pool, laundry facility, and bathhouse within the RV park.
9. BJ’s RV Park
Address: FM 170 West Rd, Terlingua, TX 79852
About: You’ll find this family-owned campground between Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park on Highway FM 170, 13 miles east of Maverick Ranch RV Park. The nightly rate costs $45 and includes full hook-ups.
Amenities: BJ’s RV Park has a laundry facility but not much else. This RV park prides itself on the Dark Sky recognition of Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park, keeping all light pollution to a minimum. It’s a quiet location to experience nature.
10. Road Runner Travelers
Address: 23315 FM170, Terlingua, TX 79852
About: Road Runner Travelers is located half a mile from Big Bend Resort & Adventures and Big Bend Stables and only 3 miles from Big Bend National park. It features big rig-friendly pull-through sites and free Wi-Fi.
The nightly rate for full hook-ups ranges from $55 to $65. Boondocking with no hook-ups but access to a dump station and potable water only costs $40 a night. However, these prices fluctuate depending on the season.
Amenities: Road Runner Travelers is one of the only campgrounds on this list with an off-leash dog park, but it has no bathhouses. However, you will find a community fire pit, picnic tables, and community games like corn hole, horseshoes, ladder golf, and giant Jenga.
Which Big Bend National Park Camping Spot Is for You?
Depending on your camping style, you’ll have many options, from primitive roadside sites to full hook-up resort-type sites near Big Bend National Park. Also, note your RV length to eliminate any locations you can’t stay. Whether you stargaze outside a tent or a motorhome, camping at Big Bend National Park is an amazing experience.
So which Big Bend National Park camping location is right for you? Tell us in the comments!
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