Visitors are welcome to bring and use horses in the park. A backcountry use permit is required and must be obtained in person at a park service visitor center up to 24 hours in advance of the trip. Every horse user should obtain a copy of the stock use regulations. All livestock must meet state vaccination requirements. Copies of vaccination documents must be in your possession.
There are no horses or pack animals for hire in or near the park; you must bring your own stock. All rides require thorough preparation. Improper equipment, poor conditioning, and disregard for weather conditions can result in an unpleasant or dangerous ride. Respect for the environment you ride through will help protect park resources for you and for future generations.
Where Can You Ride?
While horses are not permitted on paved roads or road shoulders, all gravel roads are open to horses. Cross-country travel is permitted in the park, except in the Chisos Mountains where horse use is limited to the Laguna Meadow, South Rim, and Blue Creek trails. Horses are not permitted in picnic areas, on nature trails, the Santa Elena and Boquillas Canyon Trails, or the Pine Canyon Trail. The Chisos Mountain and Burro Mesa trails are day use only.
Food and Water
Grazing within the park is not permitted; you must bring your own feed. Stock may be watered in the Rio Grande and at springs not used for domestic water supply. Be prepared to haul water for your stock as springs are unreliable, especially during winter months. Check current spring conditions at a visitor center when you arrive. All horse manure and feed remnants must be removed from the park
Camping with Horses
You may camp with your horses at several of the park's primitive road campsites. The Hannold Draw primitive campsite, located 4.8 miles north of Panther Junction, has a corral large enough for 8 horses. Hannold Draw is the only primitive road campsite that has a corral. Hannold Draw and other selected primitive campsites are available to reserve up to 180 days ahead of time through www.recreation.gov. You must make reservations through recreation.gov, Big Bend National Park cannot make reservations for you.
Last updated: September 15, 2021