When is Big Bend Busy?
Once relatively unknown, Big Bend National Park is now experiencing a major increase in visitation and with it a greater demand for both frontcountry and backcountry camping. The primary visitor season is October through April. Thanksgiving, Christmas-New Years, Spring Break, and all holiday weekends see the most visitors.
Traffic Control and Limited Parking
During the busiest times, visitors will find limited parking at many of the park’s most popular areas and trailheads. Visitors to the Lost Mine Trail, Chisos Basin, Hot Springs, Boquillas Port of Entry, Boquillas Canyon, and Santa Elena Canyon Trail may experience delays. When all parking is full, rangers establish “one-in, one-out” traffic control measures in these areas. When those specific areas are busy, there is still a lot more park to enjoy. Visitors should have alternate itineraries planned. The park website is a great resource for trip planning.
Be Prepared For Full Campgrounds
From November through April, the Chisos Mountains Lodge and all of the park's developed campgrounds will be full every night. There are no first come-first serve campgrounds in Big Bend. All available campsites require reservations. Campers can make reservations online up to six months in advance, with a limited number of campsites reservable up to 14 days in advance. Please make camping or lodging reservations to ensure that you have a place to stay before driving all the way to Big Bend.
During this time, the park's primitive backcountry campsites also fill to capacity most nights.
What should I do if the park is full when I arrive?
There are lots of opportunities for staying in private campgrounds outside of the park near both park entrances. Search online for "camping in Terlingua" for many more options. For a listing of area lodging options, visit the VisitBigBend.com website.
Last updated: February 21, 2024