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CHISOS BASIN (BIG BEND), TX

part ofBig Bend National Park, National Park Service
Photo: CHISOS BASIN (BIG BEND)
Status: Open year round.   Season Dates
 

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., it is surrounded on all sides by tall, rocky cliffs and conveniently located near some of the park's most spectacular and popular trails. The Rio Grande River is only a short drive away.

Also found in the basin area is the Chisos Basin Visitor Center, the Camper Store and the Chisos Basin Lodge, which houses the only restaurant in Big Bend National Park.

Natural Features:

The national park is named for a curve in the Rio Grande River 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, Pion 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 in fall and winter, it is warmer than other areas 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.

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 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 a few miles away, where visitors can canoe, kayak and fish.

Facilities:

The Chisos Basin Campground has 60 individual campsites. Because of their size, they are more suitable to tent camping than to 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.

Nearby Attractions:

Terlingua Ghost Town, a former mining town that is now a popular tourist destination, is about 30 miles from the western side of the park and Chisos Basin.

Activities and Amenities

Within Facility
  • Accessible Flush Toilets
  • Accessible Sites
  • Amphitheater
  • Biking
  • Birding
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Drinking Water
  • Dump Station
  • Food Storage Locker
  • Grills
  • Hiking
  • Host
  • Interpretive Trails
  • Mountain Biking
  • Parking Area
  • Paved Roads
  • Pay Phone
  • Picnic Shelters
  • Picnic Tables
  • Recycling
  • Trailheads
  • Trash Collection
  • Wildlife Viewing
Within 10 Miles
  • Accessible Trails
  • General Store
  • Gift Shop
  • Lodging
  • Picnic Area
  • Restaurant
  • Visitor Center
Greater Than 10 Miles
  • Bait Shop
  • Bike Rentals
  • Boardwalk
  • Boat Ramp
  • Canoeing
  • Electric Hookups
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Horse Corrals
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hospital
  • Laundry Facilities
  • Rafting
  • River Access
  • Scenic Overlooks
  • Sewer Hookups
  • Showers
Know Before You Go
  • This is not an authorized border crossing point; the closest legal ports of entry are at Del Rio and Presidio, TX
  • The road to the campground is steep and winding with sharp hairpin turns; the vehicle restriction for this campground is 24 feet for motor homes and 20 feet for travel trailers
  • Wood and ground fires are not permitted at any time
  • There are no electric, water or sewer hookups at this facility
  • First-come, first-served sites are available outside of the reservation season
  • Generator use is allowed in sites 1 through 18 only
  • Bears frequent the area; all food must be kept in the food storage locker or in a hard-sided vehicle; trash must be disposed of in the animal-proof dumpsters provided; do not place coolers or food boxes on the ground at any time
  • Motorboats are permitted on the river with some restrictions
  • Protection rangers on duty in park

Getting There:

GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
29.275, -103.30417
29°16'30"N, 103°18'15"W

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 to the campground.

Contact Information:

Mailing Address:

CHISOS BASIN (BIG BEND)
PO BOX 129
BIG BEND NAT. PARK TX 79834

Phone Number:

Information: (432)477-1121
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