Chisos Basin (Big Bend)

Big Bend National Park, Texas

Overview

Chisos Basin Campground, perched high in the rugged Chisos Mountains, is one of the most sought-after campgrounds in Big Bend National Park. At an altitude of 5,400 ft., the campground is surrounded on all sides by tall, rocky cliffs and is conveniently located near some of the park's most spectacular and popular trails. This campground offers excellent views and mild temperatures. Also found in the Chisos Basin area is the Chisos Basin Visitor Center, the General Store and the Chisos Mountains Lodge, which houses the only restaurant in Big Bend National Park. Please note: The road to the campground is steep and winding with sharp hairpin turns. Trailers over 19 feet and RVs over 24 feet are not recommended. No RV parking is available at the group campground.

Recreation

This campground is a hub for hikers. Some of the park's most spectacular and popular trails are nearby, including the Lost Mine Trail, the Window Trail, the South Rim Trail and the Pinnacles Trail, with its access to the park's highest point, Emory Peak (elevation 7,825 ft.). Campers can find the trailheads for most of these trails in the main Chisos Basin area a mile or so further down the basin road from the campground.

Access to the river is approximately 30 miles away, where visitors can canoe, kayak and fish.

Facilities

The Chisos Basin Campground has 60 individual campsites. However, only 26 are available for advanced reservations (Nov. 15 - May 31). The first-come, first-served sites are not visible on this website.

Because of the size of each campsite, they are more suitable to tent camping than RVs or trailers, though both are allowed. Each site comes with a picnic table, charcoal grill and bear-proof food storage container, and some sites come with picnic shelters for shade. All campsites are within easy walking distance to drinking water and toilets, and a dump station is provided for RVs and trailers.

Natural Features

The national park is named for a curve in the Rio Grande called the "big bend." For 1,250 miles, the river is an International Boundary between the United States and Mexico. The campground lies at the base of several sloping cliffs amidst montane shrubland; desert plants such as Arizona cyprus and mesquite trees fill the landscape. Maple, aspen, pinyon and ponderosa pines grow at higher elevations just above the campground. Though it is lower than the surrounding cliffs, the Chisos Basin is at a higher elevation than other campgrounds within the park. Summer temperatures here are cool, yet warmer than other areas in fall and winter due to the cold air sinking into lower regions. The Chisos Mountains are a popular nesting site for migratory birds. The mountains provide the only nesting ground in the United States for the Colima warbler, which arrives in mid-April and departs for its wintering grounds in southwestern Mexico by mid-September.

Nearby Attractions

Big Bend National Park encompasses 801,000 acres and the Chisos Basin area is centrally located. This allows visitors an excellent opportunity to explore all areas of the park in a relatively short drive. Big Bend offers excellent hiking trails, miles of rugged dirt roads, and endless possibilities for sightseeing.

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Adventures Nearby

Hike the Window Trail in Big Bend

4.4 Miles Round Trip - 500 ft gain

Backpack the Chisos Mountains

13.9 Miles Round Trip - 2400 ft gain