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Big Bend Backcountry Camping Overview

Big Bend's vast undeveloped areas provide excellent opportunities for backcountry experiences if you seek solitude, wilderness, and adventure! The backcountry sites listed here are primitive backcountry road campsites and primitive backpacking sites in the Chisos Mountains. All are designated sites located in remote locations. Campers must be self-sufficient. Visit the park's Backcountry Use web page to learn about proper planning and trip preparation for this remote area.

Backcountry Regulations are strictly enforced.   

  • These are primitive sites and do not offer water, electricity, toilet access, or any amenities. 
  • Primitive Chisos campsites are BACKPACK-ONLY campsites with NO vehicle access. Campsites are from 1-6 miles (1.6 to 10 km) from the trailhead. Maximum group size is 15 people. Overnight backpackers may park in the large amphitheater lot adjacent to the Chisos Basin Campground.
  • Most primitive roadside campsites require a high clearance vehicle. The park highly recommends a four wheel drive vehicle. Road conditions can change quickly. High clearance vehicles are defined as an SUV or truck with at least 15 inch (38 cm) tire rims AND at least 8 inches (20 cm) of ground clearance from the lowest point of the frame, body, or suspension. 
Recreation

Splendid Isolation! Big Bend National Park is beloved as one of the few large public land areas in Texas. Major activities include camping, backpacking, hiking, birdwatching, river trips, enjoying the spring bloom, and adventuring along backcountry roads. The spring months of March and April are the busiest, as well as the Thanksgiving and New Year’s holidays, although the park is open and visited year round.

Facilities

Splendid Isolation! Big Bend National Park is beloved as one of the few large public land areas in Texas. Major activities include camping, backpacking, hiking, birdwatching, river trips, enjoying the spring bloom, and adventuring along backcountry roads. The spring months of March and April are the busiest, as well as the Thanksgiving and New Year’s holidays, although the park is open and visited year round.

Natural Features

From an elevation of less than 1,800 feet (550 m) along the Rio Grande to nearly 8,000 feet (2438 m) in the Chisos Mountains, Big Bend includes massive canyons, vast desert expanses, forested mountains, and an ever-changing river. Here you can explore one of the last remaining wild corners of the United States 

Nearby Attractions
Directions to Campground

Big Bend National Park is located in West Texas, a considerable distance from cities and transportation hubs. While the isolation of Big Bend is a draw for many visitors, it also means you must be well prepared for and carefully plan your trip. There is no public transportation to or within Big Bend National Park. Several highways lead to Big Bend National Park: TX 118 from Alpine to Study Butte or FM 170 from Presidio to Study Butte (then 26 miles (42 km) east to park headquarters) or US 90 or US 385 to Marathon (then 70 miles/113 km) south to park headquarters).  Visit the park's Directions & Transportation web page for details. Distances between towns and services are considerable. Be sure you have plenty of gas, oil, food, and water for your trip. The park has four camp stores, but supply and selection can be limited. There are also small stores in the communities outside the park. The last major shopping areas (grocery and hardware stores) are Alpine, Fort Stockton, and Del Rio. Each backcountry campsite is in a remote area of the park. Check the site listing for your reservation for detailed directions on how to get to that specific site.  If you are staying in a backpacking site, park in the Chisos Basin amphitheater parking area, located near the Chisos Basin campground.

This page includes information about Big Bend Backcountry Camping in Big Bend National Park | There is a place in Far West Texas where night skies are dark as coal and rivers carve temple-like canyons in ancient limestone. Here, at the end of the road, hundreds of bird species take refuge in a solitary mountain range surrounded by weather-beaten desert. Tenacious cactus bloom in sublime southwestern sun, and diversity of species is the best in the country. This magical place is Big Bend… | Texas | https://www.nps.gov/bibe/index.htm