Backcountry Use Permits

bear country sign

NPS Photo/Cookie Ballou

A backcountry permit is required for all backcountry camping. This includes backpacking and primitive roadside campsites. Backcountry permits are also required for river trips and stock use.

Things to know about Big Bend backcountry permits:

  • Permits will be issued in person only, during normal visitor center hours, and may be obtained up to 24 hours in advance of the trip.
  • Permit cost is $10 per night for overnight use ($5 with a Senior or Access pass). There is no charge for day-use river or stock permits.
  • Permits are issued on a first come, first-served basis. During peak visitation periods permits are in high demand, so plan an alternative itinerary.
    • ** NOTICE: Beginning February 1st, 2020 a selection of designated backcountry campsites will be available for online reservation through . Read More
  • Permit authorizes camping only at designated sites in the Chisos Mountains or at designated backcountry roadside campsites. You must choose your campsite(s) at the time the permit is issued. Wilderness camping requires specifying a detailed itinerary for each night.
  • Permits may be written for up to 14 consecutive nights.
  • Camping Limits
    Visitors can stay in the park up to 14 consecutive nights in either a front or backcountry site, with a limit of 28 total nights in the park in a calendar year.
    • Campers can occupy a specific site up to 14 total nights in a year.
    • During the busy season of January 1–April 15, visitors are limited to a total of 14 nights in the park.
  • Permit changes may be made without an additional fee, provided no new days are added. Permit changes must be made in person.
  • Refunds will not be provided for un-used nights.
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.

Last updated: January 13, 2020

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Mailing Address:

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


(432) 477-2251

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