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
A Backcountry Use Permit must be obtained from a visitor center in advance for overnight backpacking trips.
Backpacking Group Size Limit
An organized group or individual party may not exceed a 15 person limit.
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 available in person at Panther Junction and Chisos Basin Visitor Centers up to 24 hours in advance.
The sites available for online permitting are:
Backpacking in the Desert
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.
Desert Backpacking Zone Map
Last updated: February 27, 2020