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Chisos Basin Campground is probably the most popular campground in Big Bend National Park, especially during the warmer times of the year, due to the higher elevation and cooler climate.
That being said, it also typically fills up before Rio Grande Village and Cottonwood Campground. If possible, reserving a campsite prior to getting to the park is highly recommended. But, if you don’t, you should make sure that you have a back-up plan in the event that all of the campsites are taken.
To get to Chisos Basin Campground from Park Headquarters at Panther Junction, take a left (West) out of the parking lot and drive about 3.2 miles to a left hand turn to Chisos Basin (29.334644, -103.256687). You’ll take this road about six miles until you see a turn off on the right (29.272256, -103.298245) pointing to the Chisos Basin Campground. From there it’s only about a half of a mile to the campground.
In the campground map below, the lighter colored campsite numbers are reservable, with the darker colored campsite numbers being first come, first served. Additionally, the gray shaded area is a no generator zone. You can download a full sized map with legend here.
If you haven’t reserved a spot, you’ll need to go ahead and drive into the campground and find an empty spot. Once you’ve found a spot, park your car or RV, walk back up to the entrance sign you passed on your way in, grab an envelope, fill out your details, drop your money or check in, and put it in the designated box.
Chisos Basin Campground Details:
- Elevation: 5,401′
- Open: All year
- Campsites: 60 sites (no-hookups) 26 sites reservable from November 15 to May 31. Make reservations here or call 1-877-444-6777.
- Group Sites: 7
- Sites L. P. Q and R, Max Occupancy 20
- Sites N and O, Max Occupancy 14
- Site M, Max Occupancy 10
- Tents larger than 8′ x 8′ not recommended due to site layout, except for sites P, Q and R.
- Sites P, Q and R have shade ramadas
- Make reservations here, or call 1-877-444-6777.
- Fees: $14 per night (Golden Age and Golden Access – $7.00 per night) Pay at campground entrance
- Water available
- Picnic tables
- Dump station
- No electric
Campsites here are relatively small for the most part, and don’t offer much in the way of privacy.
Trailers over 20′ and RVs over 24′ not recommended. Don’t even try. You likely won’t make it through the tight switchback on your way up the mountain. Don’t be that guy.
One of the benefits to the Chisos Basin Campground is you’ll get to shave quite a bit of elevation change and distance off of the Window Trail if you decide to hike it. You’ll also get a great view of the window while you’re hanging out at your campsite.
- Generator hours are 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. (idling vehicles are considered generators)
- Maximum of eight people per campsite
- Register or pay for your campsite within 30 minutes of arrival
- Wood and ground fires are prohibited
- Pets must be on a leash at all times
- Quiet hours are 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.
Don’t expect to get a lot of solitude and quiet time at Chisos Basin Campground. This area of Big Bend National Park is by far the busiest. You do get the benefit of a convenience store and a good restaurant just a little ways away though.
The picture below is the main parking area in Chisos Basin, near the restaurant, hotel and convenience store. Only about a mile away from the campground.
Thanks for the photo of an actual campsite. We will be visiting this area of Big Bend next month and the info. online can be a bit confusing. I had no idea there was also a restaurant and hotel nearby. The nearest hotel we could find was about 90 minutes out, but we will be camping nonetheless. Now we just need to know what temperatures to expect.
Elizabeth Doggett says
There have been a lot of changes due to COVID-19. This is a good resource for updates from the Big Bend National Park: https://www.nps.gov/bibe/planyourvisit/big-bend-covid-19-status-updates.htm
Expect the Chisos Basin campground to be noticeably colder than the Rio Grande Village campground or other lower elevation areas. Throughout the park, it will cool off significantly overnight. This is a good resource for weather updates: https://www.nps.gov/bibe/planyourvisit/weather.htm
Thank you, those weather updates will come in handy next month! We will bring blankets, sweatshirts and plenty of coffee.