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About Chisos Basin (Big Bend)

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.

ADA Access: N

Sites
69
Operator
National Park Service
Access
Drive In
Walk In
Hike In
Features
+ More
ADA Accessible
Alcohol Allowed
Drinking Water
No Electric Hookups
Fires Allowed
Firewood Available
Market
Pets Allowed
No Phone Service
Picnic Table
Reservable
Sanitary Dump
Sewer Hookups
No Showers
Toilets
Trash Available
Water Hookups
No WiFi
Location
Chisos Basin (Big Bend) is located in Texas
Latitude
29.275 N
Longitude
-103.304 W
Get Directions
Directions
From Interstate 10, take highway 385 south to Fort Stockton and then on to Marathon. From Marathon, go 40 miles south on Highway 385 to the north entrance of Big Bend National Park. Drive straight 26 miles to Park Headquarters at Panther Junction. Turn right and drive for three miles. Turn left at the Basin sign and go seven miles before making a right into the campground road.
37 Reviews of Chisos Basin (Big Bend)
Awesome!

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 for the win!

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.

Beautiful, dramatic scenery, nature

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.

Wonderful national park campground

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.

Most scenic campsite in Texas

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.

Awesome views + close to hiking!

Chisos Basin is surrounded by rocky cliffs and is located near some pretty awesome hiking trails. The campground is all first come, first-served. Arrive early so that you can claim a good site.

The campsite sits at an altitude of 5,500ish feet. Since Chisos Basin sits at a higher altitude I recommend bringing a heavier bag. They do not allow wood or ground fires in the park.

Pets are allowed but must be leashed. Pets are not allowed on trails in the park.

Chisos basin campground

This campground is surrounded by beautiful big bend mountains and a ton of hiking trails. The campsites each have charcoal grills, picnic tables and bear boxes to keep your food/equipment safe.

Great camping

This is a great campsite in the heart of Big Bend NP. From here there is easy access to some of the best trails in the park. Facilities include toilets and running water, no showers. Be aware, it can get windy and quite chilly in the basin in the evenings (visited in February and March).

Great campground bring shade

Great campground but no shade. Several trails start around the campground. Facilities are old but maintained. Near the resturant and hotel.

Fun wilderness

We did trail camping. Each camp site had a different amount of bear boxes and different sizes. Trails were fun and challenging.