Backcountry Use Permits—River Use
A Backcountry Use Permit is required for day-use and overnight use on all sections of the Rio Grande administered by the National Park Service. Day-use river permits are free, while overnight or multi-day river trips have a permit fee of $12.
- Backcountry use permits must be acquired in person at any of the Big Bend National Park visitor centers during normal business hours and may be obtained up to 24 hours in advance of the trip.
- Backcountry use permits for Santa Elena Canyon (only) may also be obtained at the Barton Warnock Environmental Center.
- Self-permitting (for Lower Canyons only) may be done at the Persimmon Gap Visitor Center located at the northern end of Big Bend National Park.
- Backcountry use permit cost is $12 for overnight use ($6 with an applicable pass). There is no charge for a day-use river permit.
- Backcountry use permits are issued on a first come, first-served basis.
- A backcountry use permit authorizes camping in specific river camping zones; zones must be specified when the permit is issued.
- Permits may be written for up to 14 consecutive nights.
- Permit changes may be made without an additional fee provided no new days are added. Permit changes must be made in person.