Primitive Roadside Campsites— Johnson Ranch

Johnson Ranch Ruins
Johnson Ranch Ruins

NPS Photo/Cookie Ballou

 
Johnson Ranch Campsites
View photos of Johnson Ranch primitive roadside campsites.
 

Campsite Specifics

  • Johnson Ranch 1 (JR-1) can accommodate 2 vehicles, 10 people, 4 horses.
  • Johnson Ranch 2 (JR-2) can accommodate 2 vehicles, 8 people, 2 horses.
 
Directions
Johnson Ranch campsites are located along the River Road, 15.6 miles from the west end near Castolon, or 38.4 miles from the east end near Rio Grande Village. There is a short 0.3 mile access road to the campsites.
 
Road Conditions
River Road is maintained for high clearance vehicles only. After rains, River Road is extremely muddy and may quickly become impassable to all vehicles. 4-wheel drive may be required.
 
Vegetation
Only minimal shade available at these campsites. The campsites are located in thick, brushy, riparian vegetation.
 
Views
Only minimal views from the campsites, but a 5-minute walk to the Johnson Ranch ruins provides a magnificent view of the south Chisos, the Rio Grande, and the cliff face of the Sierra Ponce in Mexico.
 
River Access
The river is accessible by following winding livestock trails through thick mesquite. Access is easiest from the JR-2 campsite.
 
Cautions
To minimize the possibility of theft, secure belongings when away from these campsites and while sleeping. Do not leave the site unattended for long periods of time. Check on road conditions with a ranger. 4-wheel drive may be necessary after rain.
 
Remarks
Nearby ruins are the remains of the Elmo Johnson Ranch. This combination trading post, cotton farm, and goat ranch was in operation until the 1940’s. During the 1930’s the U.S. Army constructed an airstrip here. Camping is prohibited near the ruins.

Last updated: December 16, 2013

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

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