Old Maverick Road is probably the best maintained dirt road in Big Bend National Park although the park does recommend a high clearance vehicle for it. The last time we went down the road, we saw a couple of lower clearance vehicles on it. Be very careful if you do take a lower clearance vehicle, there are some rough spots.
For a larger, more detailed map of Old Maverick Road, click here.
To get to the North Entrance of Old Maverick Road, start at the Study Butte/Terlingua park entrance on Highway 118. Take a right on Old Maverick Road a couple of hundred yards past the entrance on the right (29.293831, -103.494755).
Be very careful driving on this road, there are a couple of blind corners and we saw a few people that were driving far too fast when we were out working on this post.
Don’t forget, before heading out there, you need to get a backcountry use permit prior to using these sites.
Rattlesnake Mountain Campsite
Accommodates 1 vehicle and 6 people
The first backcountry campsite that you’ll see, heading South from the North entrance, will be Rattlesnake Mountain on your right (about 3.6 miles). This campsite, like all campsites off of Old Maverick Road, is set well back from the roadway. You shouldn’t have to worry too much about noise and dust.
The backcountry campsites off of Old Maverick Road aren’t marked with the large markers like other campsites throughout the park. They’ve instead used the simple, small, signs like you see below.
This campsite is set in a flat dusty area, so if you have high winds, you’ll have to deal with a large amount of dust.
After passing Rattlesnake Mountain Campsite, in about 2.4 more miles you’ll pass a road (29.219494, -103.530671) to your left leading to the trailhead for The Chimneys Trail (29.219209, -103.527809). This trail will take you about 7.5 miles one way to the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive.
Another half mile down Old Maverick Road and you’ll see an old low building (29.215510, -103.534780) sitting in the shadow of Pena Mountain.
This interesting structure is called a Jacal and is designed in a way that keeps the interior dramatically cooler than the surrounding desert. A man named Gilberto Luna raised a large family in this small house and farmed the surrounding area with water irrigated from a nearby creek. (Learn more about Luna’s Jacal)
Terlingua Abajo and Ocotillo Grove Campsites
About 3.4 miles past Luna’s Jacal, you’ll arrive at the entrance to Terlingua Abajo on your right (29.200253, -103.581995).
The first campsite you’ll see, which will be on your right, is actually the Ocotillo Grove Campsite (29.203362, -103.591893) and not one of the Terlingua Abajo Campsites (Accommodates 2 vehicles and 8 people).
This site is set well back from Terlingua Abajo Road, so you shouldn’t have any privacy issues.
Getting to the three Terlingua Abajo Campsites (29.198793, -103.604289) will take you over some rough, uneven, roads. The road is fairly smooth getting to the Ocotillo Grove Campsite, but past that isn’t so good.
These campsites are very small and offer no privacy whatsoever. They are right up against the road and each other. They can each accommodate 2 vehicles and 8 people
Campsite one was being used as an entry point for some work that was being done to the creek a little ways away, so was unusable when we passed through (April 2015).
Campsites two and three are virtually identical and almost right on top of each other.
Its only a few more miles down the road to get to Santa Elena Canyon, so I suppose the sites will get you close, but I don’t camp in the backcountry so that I can be right on top of somebody else. I don’t need to leave the city for that.