Trek Southwest - Hiking and Camping the Desert Southwest

Cottonwood Campground – Big Bend National Park

in Big Bend National Park Camping

Cottonwood Campground is the smallest of the improved campgrounds in Big Bend National Park. It’s located in the Southwest part of the park on Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive, just past Castolon Visitor’s Center.

Although there are a few shade trees at this campground, it can get boiling hot during the summer due to its low elevation. It’s only recommended for early spring and fall.

Cottonwood Campground From the Entrance

If you want to stay in an improved campground, but are looking for smaller crowds and less noise, this is probably the best campground for you. Just remember, although Castolon Store is just down the road from the campground, it doesn’t sell gas. The nearest gas station is thirty-five miles away at Panther Junction.

Cottonwood Campground Details:

  • Elevation:  2,169′
  • Open:  All year
  • Campsites:  24
  • Group Sites: 1 (walk-in, tent only); Max Occupancy: 25; Minimum Occupancy: 9;  Make reservations here.
  • Fees:  $14 per night (Golden Age and Golden Access – $7.00 per night)  Pay at campground entrance
  • Amenities:  
    • Pit-toilets (outhouses)
    • Water available
    • Picnic tables
    • Grills
    • No dump station
    • No electric

All of the regular campsites at Cottonwood Campground are first come, first served only, so if you are planning to stay here during peak times at the park, make sure you have a back-up plan, because it can be full. When you get to the campground, pick an empty spot, grab an envelope at the entrance sign, fill out your details, drop in your money, and put it in the box.

Cottonwood Campground Entrance

Only small RVs and tents are recommended at this campground. Don’t expect to get your 40′ fifth wheel into a campsite.

Special Rules:

  • No generators allowed
  • Maximum of eight people per campsite
  • Register or pay for your campsite within 30 minutes of arrival
  • Wood fires are prohibited
  • Pets must be on a leash at all times
  • Quiet hours are 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Cottonwood Campground Picnic Area

Although there is a separate picnic area, each campsite also has a picnic table and grill.

Bear Boxes

Bear boxes are provided at each campsite for your use.

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