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Big Bend National Park is in a remote area of West Texas and a perfect destination if you’re looking to get away from crowds and truly immerse yourself in the wilderness of the desert. There are many miles of hiking trails to get out and explore here, as well as mountains, rivers, and camping opportunities. There are many camping areas within the park but also some options nearby at local RV parks and campgrounds.
Here are some options to consider for pitching a tent, pulling a trailer, or driving an RV in and around Big Bend National Park.
One of the best campgrounds in Texas, the Chisos Basin Campground offers a view of Casa Grande and Emory Peak at an elevation of 5,400 feet. It is a year-round campground that requires reservations to stay here. There is no first-come, first-served camping at Chisos Basin. Also, the campground is not recommended for trailers over 20 feet long or RVs over 24 feet long. There are no electrical hookups at this park. However, the campground does have a year-round dump station, food storage lockers, trash collection, flush toilets, and cell phone reception. It’s in an open woodland area with a scenic mountain basin and with lots of popular hiking trails nearby.
RV travelers to Big Bend National Park can stay at the Rio Grande Village RV Campground, which has 25 sites that have full hookups with water, electrical, and a three-inch sewer connection. They are all back-in sites and do not allow tents. You’ll be in an open, paved lot with grass and trees around the edges. You’ll also be by the Rio Grande Village camp store and have access to flush toilets, coin-operated showers, laundry facilities, potable water, and a dump station. This campground is operated by a concessionaire called Forever Resorts.
There are also multiple primitive roadside campsites in Big Bend National Park, including Robbers Roost. This campsite can accommodate up to eight people and two vehicles. It is a backcountry site for tents but not for vans, trailers, or RVs. The site is along Juniper Canyon Road via Glenn Springs Road. It takes about an hour to get to the campsite from the paved road, however. There is no shade here, but you will have excellent views of the mountains and desert, including the South Rim, Elephant Tusk, and Backbone Ridge.
Twisted Shoe is a campsite in the park that can accommodate four people and one vehicle. Trailers are not allowed here, and the maximum vehicle length is 25 feet. Plan to camp here in a tent, and know that generators are not allowed in the backcountry. It will take about 90 minutes to get to this campsite from the main road. It is down a rough backcountry road that requires a high-clearance vehicle to access. Just past the campsite, you can access the trailhead for the Juniper Canyon Trail and Dodson Trail. There is a bear-proof storage box at this site to keep your food safe. The dark night skies are simply amazing when viewed from this campsite.
There are five campsites at Pine Canyon that are primitive and offer great views with some solitude. You can get a backcountry permit to stay at these sites up to 180 days in advance. Each of the sites here can accommodate between four and six people and either one or two vehicles. Unlike some of the other remote campsites in the park, a couple of these sites actually do allow trailers up to 20 feet long, but only high-clearance vehicles are recommended because of the rocky terrain and potential for wash-outs after heavy rains. You’ll enjoy the scenic views of Crown Mountain and the Sierra del Carmen from here.
At the Willow Tank Campsite, you can bring up to six people and one vehicle but no trailers. It is a primitive roadside campsite along the Old Ore Road. The site is named after the large earthen tank that was built by ranchers to give water to livestock. It’s a nice place to observe wildlife, such as javelina, and to get good views of the Deadhorse Mountains. Like the other primitive campsites, this one does not offer toilets, shade, or amenities.
Camp Chilicotal is a primitive campsite that allows up to eight people and two vehicles. It requires a backcountry permit to stay here, just as with any backcountry campsite in Big Bend National Park. It’s along the gravel Glenn Spring Road and best for high-clearance vehicles only. You’ll have nice views of the Chisos Mountains, Crown Mountain, and the Sierra del Carmen. Lechuguilla and sparse grasses make up the landscape at this camping area.
There are two campsites at Loop Camp, which is located along River Road and 23 miles from the west end near Castolon. The first site can accommodate 12 people, three vehicles, and four horses. The second site can accommodate eight people, two vehicles, and four horses. You can access the river from this camping area if you walk down a steep bluff. The two campsites are on a bluff directly above the river, so you’ll have views of the Rio Grande, Mule Ears, and the Punta de la Sierra.
The Cottonwood Campground is a developed campground at Big Bend National Park that requires reservations. It is open year-round but does not allow generators or wood or ground fires. Only charcoal fires in an above-ground grill are allowed. There are 22 campsites at this campground but no electric hookups. It is conveniently located between Santa Elena Canyon, the Castolon Historic District, and the end of Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive. Cottonwood Campground does not have showers, a dump station, laundry, cell phone reception, or internet. However, it does have vault toilets, potable water, trash collection, and food storage lockers.
At the Rio Grande Village Campground, there are 93 total sites but no electrical hookups. It is near the Rio Grande and at an elevation of 1,850 feet. There are paved roads between campsites and grassy areas. You’ll have flush toilets here, as well as running water, picnic tables, overhead shelters, and grills. There is also a camp store with coin-operated showers and a park visitor center nearby. This is one of the most developed and comfortable campground options if you don’t feel like fully roughing it.
Terlingua Ranch has a campground in the nearby tiny Texas town of Terlingua, Texas if you’re looking for amenities and activities. There are options here to stay in an RV site, tent area, or cabin guest room. The amenities provided here include a pool, showers, laundromat, Wi-Fi, and restaurant. In total, there are 20 RV sites, 10 tent sites, and 32 cabin rooms. The ranch is on 425 acres of land and is a good option if you are looking for full RV hookups in the area. The Bad Rabbit Café is onsite and often has live music scheduled on weekend nights throughout the year and every night during spring break. There are even opportunities here to get involved with a book club and potluck.
The Rancho Topanga Campground has opportunities for tent camping and also small pop-up and teardrop campers that are 12 feet long or less in size. There are 25 campsites available, and there are bathrooms onsite. These are safe and comfortable sites where you can relax and enjoy the natural environment. You’ll enjoy views of the mountains and night sky when you are on a vacation that includes visiting Big Bend National Park. Pat and Guy Foli run this campground, which is located in Terlingua, Texas. Prospective guests will need to call the campground hosts for information and to make a reservation, as they do not take reservations online or by email.
JoMommas RV Park offers RV camping near Big Bend National Park and is a great place to view the dark night skies. It is near the base of the Terlingua Ghost Town and between the national park and state park. There are dry-docking sites with electrical hookups for RVs and also dry/primitive camping spaces. You’ll find back-in RV spaces here, as well as a shared picnic area and fire pit. Portable restrooms and a hand-washing station are provided, while the hosts also provide power, septic, and Wi-Fi for guests. However, there is no potable water here, so you’ll need to bring your own water.
There is an RV park at the Lajitas Golf Resort called the Maverick Ranch RV Park that puts you close to games of golf, a spa, sport shooting activities, ziplining, mountain biking, and a fitness center. The resort is between the national and state parks and along the banks of the Rio Grande. The RV park has 100 sites, including 60 pull-through sites. Amenities offered here include a swimming pool that’s open seasonally, laundry facilities, full hookups, club house, and a general store nearby. Dogs are welcome here as long as you follow the pet rules.
With big-rig-friendly, pull-through sites and a location just three miles from Big Bend National Park, the RoadRunner Travelers RV Park is a good option with amenities for camping in this part of Texas. It offers free Wi-Fi, an off-leash dog park, and online reservations and check-in. The park is on 40 acres of land and has great views of Bee Mountain. It offers full hookups and community games to play, but it does not have bathroom or shower facilities, so you’ll have to be in a self-contained RV.
Another great place to visit when you’re around Big Bend National Park is Big Bend Ranch State Park, which has camping opportunities as well. This remote and rugged state park stretches along the Rio Grande in far west Texas and has drive-up, hike-in, and equestrian sites. You can reach many sites by vehicle, while some backcountry sites must be hiked to. The sites range from about $10 to $16 per night and come with picnic tables and fire rings. While staying here, check out the 238 miles of multi-use trails and 70 miles of unmaintained dirt roads in a 4WD vehicle.