BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK
BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK
Big Bend National Park
Big Bend National Park, Texas 79834
Big Bend is one of the largest and least visited of America?s national parks. Over 801,000 acres await your exploration and enjoyment. From an elevation of less than 2,000 feet along the Rio Grande to nearly 8,000 feet in the Chisos Mountains, Big Bend includes massive canyons, vast desert expanses, and the entire Chisos Mountain range. Here, you can explore one of the last remaining wild corners of the United States, and experience unmatched sights, sounds, and solitude.
The Big Bend has been a home to people for many centuries, but knowledge of the Rio Grande among non-Indians dates back less than 150 years. Spanish people crossed the Rio Grande in the 16th and 17th centuries searching for gold, silver, and fertile land. Comanche Indians crossed the river in the 19th century, traveling to and from Mexico with their raiding parties. Mexican settlers began farming on both banks of the river?s floodplain around 1900. Anglo-Americans joined in the farming after 1920, when boundary unrest ended. Cotton and food crops were grown around Castolon and what is now Rio Grande Village even after the park was established.
Big Bend National Park also marks the northernmost range of many plants and animals, such as the Mexican long-nosed bat. Ranges of typically eastern and typically western species of plants and animals come together or overlap here. Here many species are at the extreme limits of their ranges. Latin American species, many from the tropics, range this far north, while northern-nesting species often travel this far south in winter. Contrasting elevations create additional, varied micro-climates that further enhance the diversity of plant and animal life and the park?s wealth of natural boundaries.
Backcountry Campsites, Open All Year
Details : Big Bend's backcountry offers ample opportunity of exploration and solitude. Backcountry campsites are available along the unpaved roads and along the trails in the Chisos Mountains.
For those who wish to camp in the backcountry without having to backpack, Big Bend offers a number of primitive campsites along backcountry roads. Most sites are located in the desert and along the River Road. Other than a nice view, isolation, and a flat gravel space, these sites offer NO amenities. There is no charge to use these sites, but a backcountry permit is required.
Chisos Basin Campground, Open All Year
Details : 63 campsites. Flush toilet : , running water, grills, and picnic tables are available. NO HOOK-UPS. $10 per night($5 per night for bearers of the Golden Age or Golden Access Passport). Elevation 5,400'.
Due to the narrow, winding road to the Basin, and small campsites, trailers over 20' and RV's over 24' are not recommended at this campground.
RESERVABLE CAMPSITES: Reservations available for 26 sites November 15 to April 15. Contact www.reserveusa.com or call 1-877-444-6777. Big Bend National Park cannot make reservations.
GROUP CAMPING: The Chisos Basin Campground has six group camp sites that are available only by advance reservation. The total overnight occupancy for the Chisos Basin group campground is 118 persons. All sites in this campground have a minimum occupancy of 10 persons. Sites L, P, Q, and R hold a maximum of 20 persons each. Sites N and O hold a maximum occupancy of 14 persons each. Site M has a maximum occupancy of 10 persons. Tents larger than 8' X 8' are not recommended because of site layouts.
Cottonwood Campground, Open All Year
Details : 31 campsites. $10 per night($5 per night for bearers of the Golden Age or Golden Access Passport). Pit toilets, picnic tables, grills, and water are available. No Hook-ups. No dump station. NO GENERATORS ALLOWED. Elevation 1,900'.
GROUP CAMPING The Cottonwood Campground has one group camp site that is available only by advance reservation. Maximum occupancy for this group campground is 25 persons. Minimum capacity is 10 persons. This group campground is walk-in tent camping only.
To reserve the group campsite, contact www.reserveusa.com or call 1-877-444-6777. Big Bend National Park cannot make reservations.
Rio Grande Village Campground, Open All Year
Details : $10 per night ($5 per night for bearers of the Golden Age or Golden Access Passport). This 100 site campground has flush toilets, running water, picnic tables, grills, and some overhead shelters. Dump Station nearby; NO HOOK-UPS.
RESERVABLE CAMPSITES: Reservations for 43 sites may be made November 15 to April 15. www.reserveusa.com or call 1-877-444-6777. Big Bend National Park cannot make reservations.
GROUP CAMPING: The Rio Grande Village Campground has four group camp sites that are available only by advance reservation. The total overnight occupancy for the Rio Grande Village group campground is 120 persons. All sites in this campground have a minimum occupancy of 10 persons. Sites A and B comprise the area on the east side of the comfort station. Maximum occupancy for each site is 20 persons. Sites C and D comprise the area on the west side of the comfort station. Maximum occupancy for each site is 40 persons. This group campground is walk-in tent camping only.
Rio Grande Village RV Park, Open All Year
Details : 25 sites. This is the ONLY campground with hookups in the park. It is a concession-operated trailer park, and sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Register at the Rio Grande Village Store/Service Station. Full hookup capability is required. Prices starts at $21 per night double with a $3 additional person charge.
The Rio Grande, or El Rio Bravo del Norte, borders Big Bend National Park for 118 miles. A 1978 Act created the Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River and charged the National Park Service to care for an additional 127 miles downstream from the park. Providing protection and maintaining the pristine character of the Rio Grande along this stretch, the Wild and Scenic River designation actually begins at the Coahuila/Chihuahua, Mexico, state border upstream from Mariscal Canyon and continues downstream 196 miles to the Terrell/Val Verde County line in Texas; approximately 69 miles of this designation lie within Big Bend National Park. Both the Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River and the river along the park?s boundary are managed for recreation and preservation by the National Park Service.
Three options are available if you desire to make a river trip: you can bring your own equipment, rent equipment, or hire a guide service that will provide all permits, food, equipment, and shuttles.
Canyon TripsColorado CanyonAlthough this canyon lies within Big Bend Ranch State Park and is administered by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, it is included here because of the many requests for a relatively easy, one-day trip. This float can vary from nine to 21 miles depending on put-in and take-out points. The most popular section is from the Colorado Canyon put-in to the Madera Canyon take-out on Highway 170, a river distance of nine miles; floating on to Lajitas makes the run a total of 21 miles. Colorado Canyon is cut through igneous rock, unlike the three major park canyons, which are cut through limestone. This trip offers some fun rapids of Class II and Class III. Permits are available and user fees may be paid at the Barton Warnock Center (432-424-3327) in Lajitas or at the west entrance to Big Bend Ranch State Park at Fort Leaton (432-229-3613). Self-registration is also possible at both locations.