Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park

Places to Go in Big Bend

Big Bend offers many interesting places to visit during your stay in the park. It is recommended that your first stop be at one of the parks visitor centers. Here you can obtain all the information needed for a safe and enjoyable experience. Three developed, or frontcountry, campgrounds are located in the park, offering convenient places for camping. Numerous backcountry camping opporunities also exist in the park.


Covering over 800,000 acres, Big Bend is a big place; to help you plan your trip the following pages explore various sections of the park, centered around the five visitor centers and developed areas:


Panther Junction Area

All roads (the paved ones anyway) lead to Panther Junction. Located here is the park headquarters and main visitor center. Just a short distance down the road is one of two gas stations in the park. This is a great place to get started!


Chisos Basin Area

The Basin is Big Bend's year-round focal point—located at 5,400 feet, mild temperatures make the the Basin a pleasant place to beat the desert heat in the summer.


A campground, visitor center, camper store and resturant are also located here. All high Chisos Mountains trails begin here.


Persimmon Gap Area

As the northern gateway to the park, a majority of our visitors pass by Persimmon Gap as they enter Big Bend. A visitor center and picnic area are located at the gap. Along the road to Pather Junction are a number of roadside pull-offs and several dayhikes.


Rio Grande Village Area

A winter-time focal point, Rio Grande Village offers two campgrounds (one with RV hook-ups), a camper store with public showers and laundry. The camper store also offers gasoline. The visitor center here is open seasonally. Rio Grande Village is one of the best places to observe wildlife in the park, due to its proximity to the Rio Grande.


In the summer the river corridor averages over 100°F. A number of hikes, from easy to challenging start in this area. A soak in the hot springs eases sore muscles.


Castolon Area

The west side of the park offers stunning desert views and opportunities to explore the complex history of the region. The Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive to Castolon offers numerous roadside exhibits and short hikes as well as a visual introduction to the geology of the Big Bend. Santa Elena Canyon looms over the this park of the park, and can be seen for many miles.


The Castolon Historic district offers a visitor center (open seasonally) and a historic store. The nearby Cottonwood campground provides a quiet, riverside camping experience.