How do I Camp in Big Bend National Park?

How do I Camp in Big Bend National Park?
Big Bend National Park is one of the landmarks of Texas. The Rio Grande meanders its course along the border between Texas and Mexico, and Big Bend encloses a vast, arid and rugged landscape along more than 200 miles of that riverfront. However, the presence of the Rio Grande and its tributaries ensure that the park is not all dust and tumbleweeds, so campers visiting Big Bend will find a diverse range of experiences waiting for them.


Difficulty: Easy

Developed Campgrounds

Things You’ll Need:
  • Camping stove
  • Camping water filer (backcountry only)
Step 1
Select your level of camping comfort and if you insist upon reservations upon arriving to get that level of comfort. Rio Grande and Chisos Basin are the two campgrounds in the park with flush toilets and showers, and these are also the two campgrounds that accept reservations. Cottonwood campground is first-come, first-serve and more primitive.
Step 2
Find the automated kiosk at the entrance to your campground when you arrive. All three campgrounds at Big Bend National Park are on a self-pay footing.
Step 3
Cook with the provided charcoal grills or a portable camping stove. Ground fires are strictly forbidden in Big Bend National Park. Dispose of all trash in designated, animal-proof bins.
Step 4
Limit your stay to 14 consecutive days and 28 days total per calender year.

Backcountry Camping

Step 1
Visit a Big Bend National Park Visitor Center and apply in person for a backcountry permit the day before you start your backcounty camping trip. This is necessary for any individual or group camping outside of a developed campground, whether that campground is reached by hiking, boating on the Rio Grande, horseback riding or through use of an off-road vehicle.
Step 2
Treat your water using either a camping filter or a combination of boiling and carbon-filtering. Exercise proper latrine procedures by digging your latrine at least 100 feet from both the campsite and the nearest water source, and downhill from that water source as well.
Step 3
Exercise a strict "leave no trace" ethos. Do not build windbreaks and fire-shields out of local rocks, for example. Pack out all trash.
Step 4
Cook with a portable camping stove. Ground fires are prohibited in the backcountry as well.
Step 5
Exercise proper bear safety precautions when in the Chisos Mountain backcountry by keeping your food and cooking utensils in bear-safe containers when you are not actually engaged in preparing meals.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

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