Backcountry Water Sources in Big Bend

Filtering backcountry water

NPS Photo/Eric Leonard

Big Bend is a desert park; water is precious, ephemeral, and unpredictable.

Dry desert air quickly uses up the body's water reserves. Carry a minimum of one gallon of water per person per day. Use available water sources in the backcountry only to augment the water supply you carry (filter all water taken from the backcountry). Cache water for long excursions such as the hiking the Outer Mountain Loop. Never stake your life on intermittent water sources.

High Chisos
Boot Spring is unreliable and usually dry. Depending on the season, and the amount of rainfall received, water may be present in small pools and depressions along the Boot Canyon Trail. This water is vital to wildlife; please keep it clean. Take water only when absolutely necessary.

Desert Water
Springs and tinajas (depressions in rock where water collects) are unreliable and may be unsafe to drink. Springs are rare in the desert and wildlife depend on them. Please carry enough water to supply your own needs.

Rio Grande
The quality of water in the Rio Grande through the Big Bend region is highly variable. We reccomend drinking river water only as a last resort.

Last updated: June 20, 2012

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


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