• Sierra del Carmen

    Big Bend

    National Park Texas

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  • Extreme Water Shortage

    Extreme water shortage throughout park. Visitors are limited to 5 gallons per day, and are encouraged to conserve further when possible. Please consider bringing your own water to the park.

Backcountry Water Sources

Filtering backcountry water

NPS Photo/Eric Leonard

Big Bend is a desert park; water is precious, ephemeral, and unpredictable.

Dry desert air quickly uses up the body's water reserves. Carry a minimum of one gallon of water per person per day. Use available water sources in the backcountry only to augment the water supply you carry (filter all water taken from the backcountry). Cache water for long excursions such as the hiking the Outer Mountain Loop. Never stake your life on intermittent water sources.
 

High Chisos
Boot Spring is unreliable and usually dry. Depending on the season, and the amount of rainfall received, water may be present in small pools and depressions along the Boot Canyon Trail. This water is vital to wildlife; please keep it clean. Take water only when absolutely necessary.

Desert Water
Springs and tinajas (depressions in rock where water collects) are unreliable and may be unsafe to drink. Springs are rare in the desert and wildlife depend on them. Please carry enough water to supply your own needs.

Rio Grande
The quality of water in the Rio Grande through the Big Bend region is highly variable. We reccomend drinking river water only as a last resort.

Did You Know?

1855 map of the Big Bend region

First Lieutenant William H. C. Whiting, leader of the first topographical survey through Texas in 1849 is credited as being the first to use the name "Big Bend" in reference to the distinctive curve of the Rio Grande. More...