Chisos Basin Improvement Projects

Artist rendering of new Chisos Lodge Building
Artist rendering of new main lodge building.

Pardon Our Dust

Thanks to funding from the Great American Outdoors Act, work on two large construction projects in the Chisos Basin will begin in late Spring 2025 and continue for approximately two years. Disruptions to visitor services and access are expected. Stay tuned as construction timelines are finalized and the NPS determines the amount of visitor access that can be safely supported during the construction.

Bookmark this page for the latest updates as we work to improve facilities and services at YOUR park.

lodge conceptual image
Artist rendering of new lodge building

A Replacement for the Chisos Mountains Lodge

Constructed in 1964, the main Chisos Mountains Lodge is an important part of the park’s history. Generations of visitors have enjoyed the building’s modern aesthetic, large open interior, and expansive windows that frame the surrounding mountains and the classic view of the Window. Unfortunately, the Lodge was built on clay soils and soon suffered as the foundation moved and settled. Over the years, the settling caused significant damage to the foundation, roof, walls, windows, and building systems. Maintaining the building is no longer sustainable. In addition, burgeoning Big Bend visitation has far surpassed the kitchen and dining service capabilities of the facility.

In 2018, park staff began to evaluate solutions for a facility to serve the next generation of Big Bend visitors. Engineering studies established that repairing the failing foundation would require the complete removal of all walls and major features of the Lodge. The best option was to build a new building within the same footprint—a well-engineered facility that fits the landscape and meets high standards for energy, water, and operational efficiency to better serve the visitors of today and tomorrow.

In 2021, the NPS and Architectural Resources Group developed conceptual designs for a new lodge. The preferred design recognizes the Mission 66 aesthetic but includes improvements. The proposed building is clad in stucco, natural stone, and fire-resistant siding to blend with the environment. An elegant, angled roof, oriented to the south, allows for solar panels to capture energy throughout the day. Future visitors will enjoy the mountain views from the expansive outdoor terrace and reception area. For efficiency, the new retail store consolidates both the gift shop and camper store on the ground floor along with a “grab-and-go” food service. Behind the scenes, the mechanical equipment, food storage, and commercial kitchen are carefully designed to ensure the utmost in energy and water efficiency.


Replace Aged Waterlines

Water is the lifeblood of any desert, and in Big Bend, park managers are committed to using it as efficiently and responsibly as possible. To that end, a concurrent project will address the aging water distribution lines in the park’s developed areas, including the 3-mile pipeline from Oak Spring up to the Chisos Basin. Many of those lines date to the 1950s and have far exceeded their useful lives. By repairing or replacing damaged lines, upgrading storage tanks, and eliminating leaks, this project will ensure that the desert’s most critical resource remains available for thirsty plants, wildlife…and people.


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Last updated: June 10, 2024

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Mailing Address:

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



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