Best Campgrounds in Big Bend

The park's copious campsites are separated, roughly, into two categories—frontcountry and backcountry. Each of its four frontcountry sites, except Rio Grande Village RV Campground, has toilet facilities at a minimum. Inside the park, rates are $14 for tent sites and $33 for the RV sites at Rio Grande Village. Far more numerous are the primitive backcountry sites, which require $12 permits from the visitor center. Primitive campsites with spectacular views are accessed via River Road, Glenn Springs, Old Ore Road, Paint Gap, Old Maverick Road, Grapevine Hills, Pine Canyon, and Croton Springs.

Chisos Basin Campground. Scenic views and cool shade are the highlights here, as well as access to some of the best alpine hiking in the park. About half of these sites can be reserved. End of Chisos Basin Rd. 877/444–6777 www.recreation.gov.

Cottonwood Campground. This 24-site, first-come, first-served spot near Castolon Visitor Center is popular for bird-watching near the Rio Grande. Off Ross Maxwell Scenic Dr..

Maverick Ranch RV Park. Just outside the park at Lajitas Golf Resort, this layout has 100 RV sites and 18 primitive camping sites. There's a clubhouse, deli, hot showers, laundry facilities, picnic area, and hiking trails. It's also pet-friendly. FM 170 432/424–5180 www.lajitasgolfresort.com

Rio Grande Village Campground. This shady oasis is a popular birding spot. It's also a great site for kids and seniors, due to the ease of accessing facilities. There are 100 campsites with coin-operated showers, restrooms, and laundry. End of Rio Grande Village Rd.877/444–6777 www.recreation.gov.

Rio Grande Village RV Park. Often full during holidays, this is one of the best sites for families because of the minitheater and proximity to the hot spring, which is fun to soak in at night. There are 25 RV sites with full hookups. End of Rio Grande Village Rd. 432/477–2293, 877/386–4383www.reserveusa.com.

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