Extremely close to the entrance to Big Bend Park. (6 miles) Full and partial service available. Some sundries available in their store (ice, drinks, beer, snacks). WIFi is a very welcome addition, since Verizon cell service is ZERO bars. They have a good sized DVD collection available for viewing while you stay. The gal behind the desk (Payton, I think) was very very helpful. Definitely a place worth staying at while you explore Big Bend
When we first tried to book our Xmas week Big Bend trip, all campgrounds inside the park were full. We found this on The Dyrt and figured we would stay a night or two and get a spot at the Rio Grande Village inside Big Bend, which is the only full hook up place inside the national park (FYI RGV is phone reservations only and usually has spots open).
We were surprised at how much we enjoyed staying at the Stillwell Ranch RV Park and ended up staying a full week for only $150 with electric and water hookups.
There are 3 sections to this campground. The full hookup sites, which we had originally booked, are up by the store and are fairly cramped with limited views. However, the Electric & Water only hookups across the street offer much better views and even though the campground is set up as a gravel parking lot to pack people in, it was Xmas and we were one of 8 campers. Lots of space. We had the "end" spot so the views were pretty epic.
The 3rd area is a ranch road with some pull offs for boon docking or tent camping and are even more "dispersed."
There are two cons: First, the dust. Which I'm fairly certain you would find camping anywhere in the desert. Especially near the once volcanic Big Bend. Coming from the the Atlantic Coast, the insanely arid dusty air was a new experience. But we loved it. And it made for amazing sunrises, sunsets and star gazing.
The second con for us was the water pressure. Maybe 10-12 PSI at best. It is well water and even with a high-end filter, even the water tasted "dusty."
We set up an outdoor shower tent next to our camper and were able to camp for an entire week without needing to dump since we did all showers outside.
The store it self is small, and has a a few things that are pricey, but much cheaper than driving an hour north to Marathon to find a grocery. So come well prepped with food and bev. Big Bend is HUGE and you want to minimize store visits.
Stillwell does have gasoline available, but only 87 Octane. No propane (bring extra tanks if you have a propane fire pit like we do).
The laundry room was clean and only $1.25 per load. Their campground showers/ bath house is a bit outdated. While you can use the bathrooms, their showers are currently closed due to COVID.
Overall, only 8 miles to Big Bend's north entrance, and then another 3 miles to the first trail head "Dog Canyon," it's a great place to stay when compared to the other options which we checked them all out:
- RV Campgrounds near West Entrance: The little town of Study Butte/ Terlingua does offer small grocery store and several RV parks. But the campgrounds here are all asphalt parking lots and you are packed in. And even though you have bigger mountains in your view, you also have the dusty less than amazing views of all this small town. Powerlines everywhere and lots of noise.
- Inside Big Bend - First, we went to Rio Grande RV Village… it's a small asphalt parking lot. You are packed in and when we went through, the entire place smelt like sewage. So happy we avoided this one.
Chisos Basin is an epic spot, BUT, like many national parks you are stacked on top of your neighbors. While I feel confident we could have safely pulled our 23' travel trailer down the winding roads, there are only a handful of spots in the basin campground big enough for a camper. Would have loved the views and close proximity to trails, but we prefer a more secluded feeling and Stillwell gave us just that…even though we had to drive more.
Cottonwood Campground down by the St. Elena Gap is nice too, but again, you're packed in there.
Overall, very happy with our choice at Stillwell and would stay there again in the E/W only spots.
Great place to stay if you want to get away from it all. Be prepared for slow internet an NO Cell Signal at all. We stayed on the full hookup side of the road. The other side has better views but I don’t believe there are any sewer connections. It’s a short drive to the park entrance and not terribly far from Marathon.
RV and tent camping. We are bikepackers and had no problem finding a great site to pitch our tent. The showers are currently closed due to covid, but there are restrooms and laundry. The camp store has snacks and basic needs and is open til 7.