Trek Southwest - Hiking and Camping the Desert Southwest

Backcountry Camping: Croton Spring – Big Bend

in Big Bend National Park Backcountry Camping

Two campsites.  Each site accommodates 2 vehicles and 6 people.

Croton Spring is one of the easier backcountry campsites to get to in Big Bend National Park (you can almost say it’s not a backcountry campsite, but park management would probably differ with you on that). It’s the first left turn past the turn-off to Santa Elena Canyon if you’re coming in on the Terlingua side.  If you are coming in from the Panther Junction Visitor’s Center, it’ll be the third turn on your right.

Croton Spring Map

The campsite area is nice, large and well-maintained.  You shouldn’t have any problems getting a small RV into it. Expect quite a bit of traffic though as people turn into it to check it out, as well as to hike the short Croton Spring Trail.

Croton Spring Campsite

Croton Spring Campsite

If you’re an RV’er, this is probably a good spot for you due to ease of access and a larger campsite, but for getting away from it all, it’s one of our least favorite spots. You can expect at least some vehicle traffic in the off season, and quite a bit of it during peak seasons for the park.

Related:  Croton Spring Trail

A major benefit to this site is that it’s centrally located in the park, which makes it a big plus if you want to try to see all the sites while you’re there. Also, the pavement is only a short drive away, so it doesn’t take much time to go from the main road to your tent.

To us, Big Bend National Park is about solitude, and this backcountry campsite just doesn’t cut it. If you have a four-wheel drive, are packing in a tent, or just a two-wheel drive high-clearance vehicle, there are quite a few better options.

Don’t forget, before heading out there, you need to get a backcountry use permit prior to using these sites.

Related Posts:

Hiking Big BendPrior to heading out to the backcountry in Big Bend, we recommend throwing a copy of the Trails Illustrated Big Bend Map in your backpack. The map provided at the entrance station is helpful, but not detailed enough for getting off the pavement and out into the boonies. It’s also helpful to have a copy of Hiking Big Bend, by Laurence Parent, if you plan to do any hiking while you’re out there.

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