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. All sites where you may have a generator are now reservable. If you need to use a generator and you do not have a reservation, you will need to camp elsewhere.
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.
The Chisos Basin Campground has 60 individual campsites. Beginning in 2020, the campground will be available for reservations year-round. Sites 1 - 40 are reservable, sites 41 - 60 are first-come first-served. 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.
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.
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.
ADA Access: N
We did a road trip from CA to TX and decided to camp at Big Bend NP on the way to Austin. Since we were traveling during their less busy season (first week of October 2019) we were able to find a site on first come first serve basis. It was a little warmer than used to, but it was not that bad honestly. Especially once night fall hit, it was chilly and comfy. Something I wasn’t a big fan of was that no camp fires were allowed, which I understand with the climate and all. But it was just so dark and I’m used to having a fire for light and hanging around having beers. The camp host was so kind! He gave us a lot of information on the area and let us know that there is a bear (aged at almost teen) who likes to roam the campground. He’s just a curious little guy and leaves. I was kind of excited to see him but didn’t end up seeing the guy. We hiked the window trail since we only had one day/night to explore the area unfortunately. But that was such a worthy hike! I had never seen anything like it. Campground overall very clean and beautiful with restrooms right nearby, showers are a drive up hill to the visitors center, and a camp host ready to help on site!
The views here will change your life. Personally stayed at the Chiso Mountains campground think it’s the most scenic of the two campgrounds they have. The other campground has the store and I believe showers.
Best time to go is when the season just starts in my opinion which is fall early winter. Especially if you stay in the mountains campground. It’s cool/cold at night and hit during the day.
The hot spring is a must. The road to the trail is quite scary if you have anything bigger than a standard car. Your up against a wall on one side and a drop off of 20 feet on the other.
If you really want to test your endurance, the lost mine trail goes up a mountain. Well worth the treck. Take your time and you will get to the top.
If your over camping in tents and RVs, they also have a lodge in the Chiso Mountains, about a two minute drive from the campground. It has a restaurant as well as a gift shop.
There is only one gas station there so expect high prices.
Terlingua is the closest town and my group had dinner, and checked out the ghost town.
Please not, skunks are not afraid of you and they will check out your campsite whether you like it or not.
This review is specific to the Chisos Basin Group Campsites. I actually prefer the Chisos Basin Group Campsites over the regular Chisos Basin Campsites. The group sites require a minimum of 9 people and a maximum of 20 people. The group campsites are located on a separate loop with only 7 campsites. The regular campsites are located in a cluster with about 60 campsites side by side - there is little privacy. I've found the group campsites have a similar view of the Chisos Mountains and the valley. There is one restroom for the group sites which has sinks and toilets, but no showers. There are no showers in the Chisos Basin except at the Lodge.
Three of the group campsites have sun shades (sites P, Q and R) and the remainder are exposed. If you can reserve a campsite with a sun shade it will be worth it. The sun and the wind can be very intense throughout the year. It is highly recommended that you secure your tent with extra guy lines and tent spikes.
The Window Trail trailhead starts from one corner of the group campsites. It's a short and moderate difficulty trail with a scenic view of the valley and sunset. If you hike the Window Trail to see the sunset, be sure to bring a flashlight because it can be difficult to find your way back once the sun goes down. Other highly recommended trails include the Emory Peak Trail, Lost Mine Trail and the Santa Elena Trail.
Best place in Texas for the beginner to the seasoned camper/hiker/nature lover!!
We have been camping at Chisos Basin for many years. The views from the campground are incredible. The lodge is a good place to eat after a long hike. Like so many other National Parks, Big Bend is getting very crowded during the peak season and holidays. The campground is good for tent campers and vans with good restrooms and helpful camp hosts. We try to go during the off season. The view of the window at sunset is something to see and the hikes range from easy to moderate. The risk of Mountain Lions is well known and something to think about when hiking alone or with young children. This place is a must see and a hidden gem. I gave it a four out of 5 due to the overcrowding and lack of privacy in the the campground. Many of the sites are great for tents but very uneven for vans or small RVs. The window and lost mine trails are great 1/2 hikes. You have to plan around the weather and time of year. We have camped here in 20 degrees in November and 90s in May.
Great campground. One of my favorites that I have been to! Beautiful view surrounded by the Chisos Mountains. Definitely recommend trying to get a campsite with a canopy top for shade, ours did not have one and we were very jealous of everyone else that did. It does get windy from time to time but it’s all part of the experience when camping! Bathrooms have plumbing, running water, and outlets. Drinking water is also available at a few spots around the campsite. If you are looking to hike you are very close to a few trailheads. The mountain lodge, the store, and visitor center is all about 3 minute drive or 20 or so minute walk up.
Colima 2 is a primitive campsite in the Chisos Basin in Big Bend National Park on the Colima Trail. My boyfriend and I backpacked to the campsite from the Chisos Basin trail head down Pinnacles trail to Boot Canyon. The Northeast Rim trail was closed at the time due to respecting space for the peregrine falcons and their nests. The night before, we camped in the Rio Grande campground which wasn't secluded enough for us, so we decided to reserve this campground at the Chisos Basin Visitor Center the next morning. Camp was super easy to set up here. There was a bear box included and plenty of flat ground for easily tent setup. There was PLENTY of tree coverage which was nice because it got hot out in the afternoons under the sun. We chose this campsite because we wanted to hike the South Rim on the same day. We offloaded some weight from our backpacking packs after setting up camp in the mid afternoon, got to hike the South Rim for the remaining hours of daylight, and enjoyed dinner back at Colima 2. The next day, we hiked back to the Chisos Basin trail head on the Laguna Meadows trail. Colima 2 offered the seclusion from other campgrounds we were wanting, and it's definitely on our radar when we return to Big Bend National Park.
This campground is located near the center of the park and at a high elevation. It is located in the only mountain range that is entirely within a national park. There are many hiking trails and chances for encounters with nature in the area. The campground is not accessible for large rv's or large tow behinds, so tent camping, pop up callers, tear drop trailers, and class b vans are prevalent. There is a gift shop and restaurant in crisis basin as well.
Beautiful views, great facilities, and awesome weather. Big Bend National Park is one of the best stops in Texas, hands down, and the Chisos Basin Campground is the best spot in the park. To the east, the campground is shadowed by Casa Grande, the largest peak in the Chisos. To the west you have the Window, an awesome cut in the basin that lets the sun peek through a little longer in the evenings.
You can't get better views than the onces in this campground. The only problem is how crowded it gets. Lots of kids and boy scouts unfortunately.