Primitive Roadside Campsites

primitive roadside campsite
Primitive Campsites are an option to those with rugged vehicles.
Primitive site along Pine Canyon Road
Primitive site along Pine Canyon Road

For those who wish to tent camp in the backcountry without having to backpack, Big Bend offers a number of primitive campsites along backcountry roads. These sites are located in the desert and along the Rio Grande. While a couple of sites are accessible to most vehicles, a high-clearance and sometimes 4-wheel drive vehicle is necessary to reach most of them. Primitive sites offer nice views, solitude, and a small flat gravel space to set up camp next to your vehicle. No shade, toilets, or other amenities are provided.
The use of generators is prohibited in the backcountry.

  • These sites are primitive backcountry sites and not designed to accommodate large RVs and trailers.
  • A backcountry use permit is required to camp at any of these sites.

Permits for all primitive campsites are available during business hours at Panther Junction and Rio Grande Village Visitor Centers up to 24 hours in advance.

NEW: As of February, 2020 a selection of the most popular primitive roadside campsites is now available for online permits up to 180 days in advance.

The sites available for online permitting are:
Grapevine Hills 1-5, Croton Spring 1-2, Paint Gap 1-4, Hannold Draw, Nine Point Draw, Nugent Mountain, Pine Canyon 1-5, Robbers Roost, and Twisted Shoe.

Permits available for these sites online via, or the call center at 1-877-444-6777

Primitive Roadside Campsites— Improved Dirt Roads

Primitive roadside campsites along improved dirt roads are usually accessible to passenger vehicles except after rain when road conditions may deteriorate and require the use of high clearance or even 4-wheel drive vehicles to access these campsites.

bc road sign

Primitive Roadside Campsites— Primitive Dirt Roads

Primitive dirt roads are maintained for high clearance vehicles only, and may require 4-wheel drive. They may be rocky with areas of soft sand that are unsafe for sedans or RVs. Rain can make roads difficult to drive or impassable.

Primitive Roadside Campsite Regulations
Protect YOUR Park. These are a few of the regulations that all backcountry campers are required to follow. Click to learn more.

Last updated: May 18, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

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



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