We stayed at Chisos in early March and loved it! March is apparently the busiest month in Big Bend NP so we made sure to get to the campground first thing in the morning to get a site— all the reservable sites were LONG gone by the time we planned our trip! There were a couple to pick from when we got there and more opened up over the course of the morning, though all 3 campgrounds in Big Bend were full every night we were there. The site we got was PERFECT! It was on the edge of the camp ground and tucked around a corner. Some of the other sites did look a little close to each other which was why I gave 4 stars and not 5. Most (if not all??) of the sites had a little their own picnic table, bear/javelina-safe food storage and a little canopy-like shelter for some shade.
The host was very nice and helpful when we arrived and the campground was very quiet.
Bathroom facilities were pretty standard— not super nice/fancy but had the essentials!
It was chilly in the mornings and at night without the sun to warm you up— long pants and a light jacket were perfect. It warmed up to shorts and T-shirt/tank top weather in the afternoons with the sun.
The lodge and campground are right in the basin of the mountains so you have 360° mountain views! The sunrise and sunset on the mountains was especially pretty!
Chisos was a great spot as it was close to a lot of hikes and central so we could adventure in both the western and eastern parts of the park with Chisos as our home base— so perfect! Many of the trail heads were at the Chisos Lodge (right up the road from the campground) and one of the trails actually had an entrance at the campground —very convenient.
Wildlife: we didn’t see too much!! A bunch of Mexican Jays, bunnies and hares, a coyote and a fox was about it!
Hikes: South Rim trail —our “long hike” —about 12 miles (trail head at the lodge)— it was AMAZING!! Definitely would recommend if you’re looking for a longer hike with rewarding views… definitely worth it. Even though it was spring break season and very busy in the park we didn’t see too many people on this trail and only saw other people every now and then.
Window View trail — “our short mountain hike” —5 and some change miles round-trip out and back. Trail head in the Lodge parking lot but also has a trail head in the campground!! (Just cuts off some milage!) Easier hike to a SUPER cool view through a “window” -like chasm where a waterfall flows when it’s rainier. The last mile or so felt a little steeper on the way back once we were more tired. We brought lunch with us and stopped along the way. This was a perfect hike to pair with another mid distance one in the afternoon.
Chimneys Trail — our “desert hike” this was a 4.8-mile round-trip out and back. The trail head is on Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive and is flat flat flat desert hiking— this was a new type of hiking for us and it was so neat because you can see SO far in the distance as you walk. The end of the trail is the “chimneys” which you can see in the distance when you start the hike. The trail leads right up to them so you can walk part way up one and walk around it looking at the old markings left behind! Super cool. We did this trail in the later afternoon so we were walking back as the sun started to set— very pretty!
We also drove to both the Rio Grande Village Campground and did the short nature trail there around sunset (best time to go I’d say!) and the Cottonwood Campground just to check them out.