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 roadside campsites 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.
  • There are vehicle length and capacity limits for each campsite, so plan accordingly.
  • A backcountry use permit is required to camp at any of these sites.
  • Permits for sites along the River Road, Glenn Springs Road, and Old Maverick Road are available in person at Panther Junction (daily 8:30 am - 5:00 pm) and Chisos Basin (daily 8:30 am - 4:00 pm) Visitor Centers. .
    All other primitive roadside sites are available for online permitting a (up to 6 months in advance) at

You may now obtain a backcountry permit for most primitive roadside campsites up to 6 months 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, Twisted Shoe, Candelilla, Camp de Leon, Ernst Tinaja, La Noria 1-2, Ernst Basin, Willow Tank, Telephone Canyon 1-2, Roys Peak, and McKinney Spring.

Obtain a backcountry permit for these sites online via


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 will make these 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: November 24, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

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



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