Backpacking in Big Bend

Hikers at the rim
 
Big Bend National Park is a backpacker's paradise. For those who come prepared, there are hundreds of miles of trails, and vast expanses to explore. The following information will help you plan for your dream adventure.
 

Backcountry Use Permits

  • Chisos Backpacking Sites are currently available through www.recreation.gov
  • Maximum group size is eight.
  • You MUST make arrangements through recreation.gov to camp in any backcountry campsite.
  • Refer to the Big Bend COVID-19 Updates Page for the latest information on available facilities and services.
  • Thank you for your patience.
 

Backpacking Group Size Limit

An organized group or individual party may not exceed a 15 person limit.
NOTICE: COVID-19 Group Size Limits: No more than 8

 

Chisos Mountains Backcountry Campsites

Backpackers in the Chisos Mountains can choose from forty-two designated campsites. A backcountry permit is required. Your permit will designate your specific sites for specific nights. Permits are currently only available online via www.recreation.gov

 
 
 

Backpacking in the Desert

Overnight desert backpacking is currently NOT AVAILABLE.
Get the latest updates on Big Bend's phased reopening

The most remote areas of Big Bend National Park are best left to experienced backpackers. Each year, park rangers respond to desert emergencies when hikers are not prepared for the heat and extreme conditions of the desert. Due to the complex topography and vague trails/routes, a topographic map and a compass/gps are necessary for some hikes. Not for novices, you will need to be fully equipped and physically prepared to pack your gear and water into the desert and camp primitively.

Some of the desert areas of Big Bend National Park are open to wilderness backpacking. A backcountry permit is required. Prospective desert backpackers will need to have all the gear necessary for a safe trip, and be prepared to describe a detailed itinerary to a park ranger. There are limits to the number of backpackers allowed in each area, and a variety of backcountry regulations that must be followed.

Desert Backpacking Zone Map
Map of Big Bend's wilderness backpacking areas indicating nightly capacities.


Some remote and very rugged backcountry areas of interest include:

 

Last updated: October 19, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 129
Big Bend National Park, TX 79834-0129

Phone:

432-477-2251

Contact Us