Trek Southwest - Hiking and Camping the Desert Southwest

Backcountry Camping – Highway 385 – Big Bend

in Big Bend National Park Backcountry Camping

Highway 385, between the Persimmon Gap Visitor’s Center and Park Headquarters at Panther Junction, offers two spots for backcountry camping.

The views aren’t the best you’ll find in Big Bend, but they are both easily accessible with low clearance vehicles.

The challenge with both sites is that the entrances aren’t marked on the highway, so you’ll either need the GPS coordinates that we list here, or to mark the mileage from either Persimmon Gap or Panther Junction.

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

Nine Points Draw

Accommodates 2 vehicles and 8 people

Road Entrance (29.608814, -103.143594), Campsite (29.614998, -103.138826)

Without a GPS, the easiest way to find it is to start from Persimmon Gap Visitor’s Center and drive South on Highway 385, approximately 4.4 miles. Shortly after the trailhead for Dog Canyon Trail, you’ll see a dirt road on your left. If you cross a bridge, you’ll know you’ve gone too far. (The site is appx 21.5 miles North from Panther Junction)

Once on the dirt road, it’ll double back to the North and circle behind a hill, hiding you from the traffic on Highway 385.

The Nine Points Draw Backcountry Campsite is a large area, providing spaces for three separate tents. You’ll have a great view of Dog Canyon from the campsites, and easy access to both Dog Canyon Trail and Devil’s Den Trail.

Nine Points Draw Backcountry Campsite

Hannold Draw

Accommodates 3 vehicles and 20 people

Road Entrance (29.375582, -103.156351), Campsite (29.376121, -103.153178)

The best way to get to Hannold Draw is to begin from Park Headquarters at Panther Junction and drive North on Highway 385. The campsite entrance will be a dirt road, approximately 4.8 miles on your right. (The entrance is approximately 21.2 miles South from Persimmon Gap Visitor’s center)

Hannold Draw is the only campsite in Big Bend National Park that provides horse corrals. It is also the best site in the park for dry camping in a large RV, with plenty of space for turning around.

Hannold Draw backcountry campsite

The unfortunate part of Hannold Draw is that the road leading up to it also serves as a storage site for concrete ‘K’ rails and other road materials and debris for the park. It’s fairly unattractive.


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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