Big Bend camping is an experience that is tough to duplicate. This sprawling national park along the Rio Grande contains some of the most dramatic scenery in the entire state of Texas. If you're looking for the chance to connect with nature in a place primed for adventure, Big Bend National Park will provide the setting for you.
For extended adventures, a stay at any of the Big Bend National Park campgrounds will help you turn a day trip into a vacation getaway. The park offers a mix of backcountry camping and developed campgrounds. A concessionaire operates a RV park—the only place for RV hookups in the entire park. Camping for tents and RVs is available year-round in this outdoor wonderland.
When planning Big Bend camping in the back country, you'll need an SUV or a big vehicle with four-wheel drive to travel the unpaved roads and reach the campsites. You'll also need a permit from one of the park's visitor centers; permits also are needed for horseback riding and river floats in the backcountry. This vast stretch of untamed land is a fantastic place for adventure, including hiking and backpacking. Other backcountry Big Bend National Park campgrounds are found in the Chisos Mountains, only accessible by foot. This sites have food lockers to keep your stash away from the bears, and campers should be sure to bring all the food, water, and other supplies need for a primitive camping adventure.
Not everyone is suited for the back country, but don't despair, there are plenty of other options for Big Bend lodging. A trio of campsites are much easier to access. Like the primitive sites, these options for Big Bend camping are accessible year-round. The campsites at Rio Grande Village and the Chisos Basin can be reserved in advance, while the Cottonwood Campground is open based on availability. All three of these sites feature drive-in access and water as well as grills and picnic tables.
Rio Grande Village takes its name from the mighty river that flows through the park—the same river that forms some of the border between the U.S. and Mexico. The largest of the Big Bend National Park campgrounds is located at 1,850 feet elevation. Campers enjoy views of the river and the towering cottonwood trees. This campground is the only place in the park that can accommodate RVs. Twenty sites can be reserved in advanced and five of the sites are available to the first people who get there for the night. Both tent campers and RVs will enjoy easy access to all of the things to do in Big Bend, from the trails to river and beyond.
The Cottonwood Campground is located near the Castolon Historic District on the western edge of the park. At 1,900 feet of elevation, Cottonwood is one of the quietest campgrounds, and it's the only one that does not allow generators. Campers should take the time to visit the nearby historic district for a taste of the past. This region has long, complex history, one especially shaped by ranching. The campground also is close to the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive and a host of hiking trails.