Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park

Quick Facts

Big Bend National Park


(432) 477-2251

Map Directions

Things To Do


Big Bend National Park is a land of borders. Situated on the boundary with Mexico along the Rio Grande, it is a place where countries and cultures meet. It is also a place that merges natural environments, from desert to mountains. It is a place where south meets north and east meets west, creating a great diversity of plants and animals. The park covers over 801,000 acres of west Texas in the place where the Rio Grande makes a sharp turn - the Big Bend. The park is open 24 hours daily, all year. The Panther Junction Visitor Center is open daily, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., but may be closed on Christmas Day. The entrance stations and other visitor centers have variable seasons and hours. Hiking, camping, and biking are popular activities at Big Bend National Park.

Map of Big Bend

Latitude, Longitude: 29.327733, -103.205872



  • Boating

    If you have the time and the inclination, you may want to consider a river trip. Seeing the park's canyons from the middle of the Rio Grande is both fascinating and gratifying.

  • Bicycling

    Lightly traveled roads and varied terrain make Big Bend a premier bicycling location. Over 100 miles of paved roads, and 160 miles of backcountry dirt roads provide challenges for riders of all types and abilities. Bicyclists must be extremely cautious and well-prepared, but bicycling allows outstanding panoramic views, unobstructed by a windshield. It also allows the bicyclist to see and hear some of the smaller wonders of Big Bend from a more intimate viewpoint.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    Over 300 miles of roads allow access to the landscape and locations in the park, depending on the type of vehicle. The roads that can be driven on include paved road, improved dirt roads, and primitive dirt roads. Ask for more information at the Visitor Centers.

  • Camping

    The National Park Service operates three developed frontcountry campgrounds at Rio Grande Village, the Chisos Basin, and the Cottonwood campground, near Castolon. A limited number of campsites in Rio Grande Village and the Chisos Basin campgrounds are reservable; these sites are reservable for the time period from November 15 to April 15 each year. Camping is also available at primitive backcountry campsites in the Chisos Mountains and along backcountry roads. High clearance or 4-wheel drive vehicles are necessary to reach most road sites. Big Bend's unpaved roads are generally unsuitable for RVs and trailers (check current conditions with a ranger). Overnight camping in any of the primitive road sites requires a backcountry use permit, obtained in person at park visitor centers up to 24 hours in advance.

  • Climbing

    Big Bend National Park is not typically considered a climbers' destination, but it offers some scenic, challenging, and wildly varied rock climbs. Over the years, park visitors have often inquired about climbing, but there is little written. A rudimentary climber's guide is available by request at most visitor centers. Climbing in the park is unofficially discouraged because there is little written information to disseminate, the quality of rock ranges from fair to terrifying, the weather can be extremely harsh, and the approaches can be long, waterless ordeals. Bolting of any kind, electric or hand, is strictly forbidden

  • Hiking

    Big Bend National park is a hiker's paradise containing the largest expanse of roadless public lands in Texas. More than 150 miles of trails offer opportunities for day hikes or backpacking trips. Elevations range from 1,800 feet at the eastern end of Boquillas Canyon to 7,832 feet atop Emory Peak in the Chisos Mountains. These elevation changes produce an exceptional variety of plants, animals, and scenic vistas.

  • Picnicking

    There are scenic overlooks and exhibits available for picnicking.


Big Bend is relatively uncrowded much of the year. Visitation is highest in March and April. The park is extremely crowded during spring break, which is usually the second and third week in March. Easter weekend, Thanksgiving weekend, and the week between Christmas and New Year's Day are also very busy. All lodging and campsites are usually full during these periods. Visitation is lowest in August and September. There are five visitor centers; Panther Junction, Chisos Basin, and Persimmon Gap Visitor Center are open year round; Castolon and Rio Grande are open seasonally from November through April.

Fall and spring are usually warm and pleasant. Summers are hot, although temperatures vary greatly between the desert floor and the Chisos Mountains; May and June are the hottest months. Afternoon and evening rains often cool the desert from July to October. Winters are generally mild, although periods of cold weather (including light snow or ice) are possible. Winter visitors must prepare for a variety of conditions.

Park Partners

Big Bend Natural History Association

The Big Bend Natural History Association (BBNHA) was established in 1956 as a private, non-profit organization. The Association's goal is to educate the public and increase their understanding and appreciation of the Big Bend Area and what it represents in terms of historical and natural heritage.

(432) 477-2236

Big Bend Resort and Adventures by Forever Resorts

Forever Resorts runs and operates two lodging areas in Big Bend National Park. The Motor Inn has 51 rooms while the Mission Lodge, located across the street, has 35 rooms. For those looking to go RV or camping, there are 131 sites with full hookups located in the Big Bend Motor Inn RV Park. The Big Bend Resort and Adventures cafe offers a variety of food, complete with an ice cream bar. For those with less time, the Convenience Store offers a variety of snacks, picnic supplies, ice, basic groceries and fuel. When heading out, Big Bend offers a variety of guided tours through the park in a vehicle. To make reservations call 432-371-2218.

(432) 371-2218



Several highways lead to Big Bend National Park: TX 118 from Alpine to Study Butte or FM 170 from Presidio to Study Butte (then 26 miles east to park headquarters) or US 90 or US 385 to Marathon (then 70 miles south to park headquarters).


The nearest airports served by major airlines are located in Midland/Odessa, Texas (235 miles from park headquarters) and El Paso, Texas (330 miles from park headquarters). Rental cars are available at both airports.

Public Transportation

The nearest Amtrak station is located in Alpine, Texas (100 miles from park headquarters). Call Amtrak at 1-800-USA-RAIL for schedule information. Greyhound provides daily service to Alpine, Texas (100 miles from park headquarters). Call Greyhound at 1-800-231-2222 for schedule information. A rental car will be required to reach the park.

Phone Numbers


(432) 477-2251