Primitive Roadside Campsites

primitive roadside campsite
Primitive Campsites are an option to those with rugged vehicles.
 

Get Away From it All

There is no vehicle "boondocking" or "dispersed camping" in Big Bend, but for those who wish to get away from it all, the park offers 64 primitive campsites along backcountry roads. These sites are located in the most remote desert areas of the park. Some require hours of challenging driving to reach. A sturdy high-clearance and usually 4-wheel drive is necessary to safely 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.

How to Reserve A Site

  • Permits for the most popular 34 campsites are available online (up to 6 months in advance) via www.recreation.gov.
    These campsites are reserved almost every night of the year.
  • Permits for the remaining 30 primitive roadside campsites (located along the River Road, Glenn Springs Road, and Old Maverick Road) are only available in person at Panther Junction Visitor Center (daily 8:30 am - 5:00 pm) and Chisos Basin Visitor Center (daily 8:30 am - 4:00 pm), 24 hours in advance of your first night's stay.
    These campsites are very popular and typically occupied most nights of the year.
    • NOTE: A rugged high-clearance 4x4 vehicle is required to access these campsites. You will NOT be able to reach these sites with a passenger car, minivan, or RV, and rangers will not issue permits for those types of vehicles.
    • Site photos and detailed descriptions are linked below.
 
 

Primitive Roadside Campsites— Improved Dirt Roads

Primitive roadside campsites along improved dirt roads are usually accessible to most high-clearance vehicles except after rain when road conditions may require 4-wheel drive vehicles to access these campsites.

 
bc road sign
 

Primitive Roadside Campsites— Primitive Dirt Roads

Primitive dirt roads are maintained for rugged high clearance vehicles only, and usually require 4-wheel drive. These roads may be rocky, exposed bedrock, deep ruts, and extensive sections of soft sand/mud that are impossible for passenger cars, minivans, or RVs to negotiate. Rain will make these roads difficult to drive or impassable.

 

Primitive Campsites for RVs, Camper Vans, or Trailers?

Most primitive campsites in Big Bend are inaccessible to RVs and trailers. The few sites that are accessible to RVs, camper vans, and small trailers are in very high demand. Small RVs (less than 30 feet) and trailers (less than 25 feet) may be accommodated at the following sites depending on availability and road conditions.

Permits for these sites are available online up to 180 days in advance through www.recreation.gov. Most sites are full every night of the year.

Backcountry use regulations, vehicle size limits, and capacity limits apply. Read the site descriptions and plan accordingly.

There is no overflow or "boondocking" in parking lots or along park roads. You may only camp in campgrounds or designated campsites (with a permit).

Visit Big Bend's backcountry use page for more information.

 
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: March 23, 2022

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Mailing Address:

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

Phone:

432-477-2251

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