Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park

Visitor Services

Banking Services

It is advisable to bring small bills ($1, $5, $10, $20) since larger bills can be difficult to change. Entrance fees and camping fees may also be paid with major credit cards or traveler's check. Most stores accept major credit cards and traveler's checks.

The nearest bank is located in Study Butte, 26 miles west of park headquarters. ATMs are located at the Chisos Mountains Lodge and Rio Grande Village Store inside the park, and outside the park in Study Butte.

Talk like a Local

A Big Bend pronunciation guide
As a border area with a unique mixture of two cultures and regional character, many of the place names, and plant and animal species common to the Big Bend are new to many of our visitors. The words listed below are some that you might encounter on a visit to the Big Bend.
WORD PRONUNCIATION CONTEXT
Boquillas bow-key-us River canyon; also name of Mexican commmunity
Castolon cast-oh-lon Historic district on the west side of the park
Chihuahuan chee-wah-wan The desert that the Big Bend is a part of
Chisos chee-sos Mountain range in the center of the park; location of the Basin
Cholla choy-yah Common cactus
Guayacan way-ah-kahn Common desert plant
Javelina ha-vay-lee-nah Common name for the collared peccary
Lajitas la-hee-tas Resort community to the west of the park
Lechuguilla lech-uh-gee­-ah Common desert plant
Luna's Jacal loon-ahs hah-call Historic mexican residence along the Old Maverick Road
Mariscal mar-ees-kal Mountain in south-central part of the park
Marufo Vega mah-roof-oh vey-ga Backcountry hiking trail in the remote Deadhorse Mountains
Mesa de Anguila may-sah day an-gee-la Remote area at the western edge of the park
Mesquite mess-keet Common desert plant
Ocotillo oh ko tee yo Common desert plant
Rosillos row-see-yos Mountains in the north-central part of the park
Santa Elena san-tah a lain ah River canyon on the west side of the park
Study Butte stew-ty beaut Community to the west of the park
Tasajillo ta-suh-hee­-oh Common desert plant
Terlingua ter-ling-wah community to the west of the park
Terlingua Abajo ter-ling-wah ah-bah-ho Former mexican community north of Santa Elena Canyon
Tinaja tin-ah-hah Erosion-carved waterhole
Tornillo tor-nee-yo Major drainage on the east side of the park

Gas Station

Gasoline is available at two locations in the park operated by Forever Resorts Inc. The Panther Junction station, located just west of the visitor center, offers gas, diesel, and can undertake minor repairs. The gas station at Rio Grande Village is located in the store, and also provides propane.

Inside the Park
Rio Grande Village Service Station: 432.477.2293
Panther Junction Service Station: 432.477.2294

Outside the Park
To the west:
Big Bend Motor Inn Fina, Study Butte [gas and diesel]: 432.371.2483
Study Butte Store and Station, Study Butte [gas, propane,and diesel]: 432.371.2231
Lajitas Trading Post, Lajitas [gas]: 432.424.3234
Terlingua Auto Service [auto repair and towing]:432.371.2223

To the north:
Stillwell Store, FM 2627 [gas]: 432.376.2244

Persimmon Gap Area

Elevation:
2970 ft. above sea level (905m)

Services and Facilities:
Persimmon Gap Entrance Station is open most of the year. If the entrance station is closed, please pay your park entrance fee at the nearby Persimmon Gap Visitor Center (if open), or the Panther Junction Visitor Center.

Persimmon Gap Visitor Center is open most of the year and offers park orientation and information. The Visitor Center includes exhibits, a book store, and a mini-theater for viewing Big Bend videos. Backcountry and river use permits are available. A pay phone is located outside of the visitor center.

A picnic area with pit toilets is located 1/4 mile south of the entrance station.

There is no gas or food service at Persimmon Gap.

What to do:
The northern portion of the park is largely undeveloped. Along the road from Panther Junction to Persimmon Gap are a number of roadside exhibits, including the Fossil Bone Exhibit area. The 14-mile Dagger Flat Auto Trail provides a scenic exploration of the desert environment, ending in a forest of Giant Dagger Yuccas; this dirt road is usually passable to all vehicles.

Dayhikes in this park of the park include the routes to Dog Canyon and Devil's Den, as well as a primitive trail up Persimmon Gap Draw towards Persimmon Peak.

Telephone Services

Public Phones
Public phones are located in all developed areas at visitor centers, campgrounds, camper stores, and the Chisos Mountains Lodge.

Cell Phones

Limited cell phone coverage is available in the Big Bend area. Reception depends on both the service you use and your location within the park; lower elevations and mountains often block signals.

Showers

Inside the Park
Public showers are available at the Rio Grande Village Store. The showers and public restrooms are usually open 8:00 AM - 8:00 PM (varies seasonally). The showers are coin-operated and provide 5 minutes of shower time for $1.50. No amenities are provided; soap, shampoo, and other items may be purchased at the Rio Grande Village Store.

Outside the Park
Public showers are also available outside of the park in the Study Butte/Terlingua area.

Chisos Basin Area

Ringed by massive cliffs and superlative views, the Chisos Basin is located in the center of Big Bend NP. Here, you will find the only restaurant and lodging within the entire park. A National Park Service visitor center and a camper's store are also located here. A campground is located a short distance from the Basin developed area.

Elevation
5,400 feet (1,646 meters)

Services and Facilities
A 60-site Class A campground is located in the lower portion of the developed area. An outdoor ampitheatre is located adjacent to the campground. In the upper developed area a visitor center, camper store and resturant are also located here.

What to do
Numerous trails begin in the basin; ranging from dayhikes to much longer backcountry trails, there is something for everyone. The .3 mile Window View Trail provides an excellent place to watch sunset and view the mountains. The number of services here, including the lodge, also provide ample opportunites to relax and enjoy yourself.

Fees & Reservations

Entrance Fees—for a single visit up to seven days

Vehicle: $20 for a seven day pass good at any park entrance.
Individual: (on bicycle, motorcycle, or group members) $10 for a seven day pass.

Children 15 years old and younger are admitted free of charge. Non-commercial groups, such as scout groups, pay $10 per person for everyone 16 years and older (instead of $20 per vehicle).

Commercial Tour Fees—For information on commercial tour fees, click here.

Entrance Passes
The following passes for free entrance to the park are honored and available at the entrance stations or visitor centers. Click here to learn more about these passes.

Big Bend Annual Pass:
$40—Allows unlimited entry to Big Bend National Park for one year from month of purchase. more...

Interagency Annual Pass:
$80—Allows unlimited entry to all federal recreational lands for one year from month of purchase. more...

Senior Pass:
$10—Lifetime pass to all federal entrance fee areas for people 62 years and older. more...

Access Pass:
Free—Lifetime pass to all federal entrance fee areas for permanently disabled persons. more...

Older passes and passports

  • Throughout 2007 the Golden Eagle Passport, National Parks Pass, and the new Interagency Annual Pass will be valid; the Golden Eagle Passports and National Parks Passes that were sold in 2006 will be honored until they expire.
  • The Golden Age and the Golden Access Passports will continue to be honored for the lifetime of the pass holder, so both passes, along with the new Interagency Senior and Access Passes, will be valid for many years to come.

Educational Group Fee Waivers
Entrance fee is waived for educational groups, including chaperones, visiting the park as part of their course work. Materials for a fee waiver must be submitted at least two weeks prior to visit.
more...

Campground Fees
The nightly fee for camping in one of Big Bend's developed frontcountry campgrounds is $14. For a complete listing of campground fees, view the campground pages. For information on reserving a campsite at a developed campground, click here.

Visitor Center Hours

Open year-round

Panther Junction Visitor Center
8:00am - 6:00pm. Daily. Reduced hours on Christmas day.

Chisos Basin Visitor Center
November-March: 8:00am - 3:30pm. Daily. Closed for lunch. Reduced hours on Christmas day.
April-October: 9:00am - 4:30pm. Daily. Closed for lunch.


Open Seasonally
The visitor centers listed below operate primarily during Big Bend's busy season from October-April.

Rio Grande Village Visitor Center
8:30am - 4:30 pm Daily. Closed for lunch.

Persimmon Gap Visitor Center
9:00am - 4:30pm. Daily. Closed for lunch.

Castolon Visitor Center
10:00am-5:00pm Daily. Closed for lunch.

NOTE: All visitor center hours subject to change.

Public Transportation

There is no public transportation in the immediate vicinity of the park. A variety of transportation methods can get you to cities within a days drive of the park:

Airports
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.

Rail Service
The nearest Amtrak station is located in Alpine, Texas (100 miles from park headquarters). Call Amtrak at 1-800-USA-RAIL for schedule information.

Bus Service
Greyhound provides daily service to Alpine, Texas (100 miles from park headquarters). Call Greyhound at 1-800-231-2222 for schedule information.

Camping, lodging & facilities

Where can I park my trailer (or RV)?

Many people are used to parking anywhere in an RV.

Visitors to Big Bend must stay in a designated camping area

. If you want hook-ups, you can stay in the RV park at Rio Grande Village. IMPORTANT: You must use all 3 hook-ups (electricity, three inch sewer connection, and water). If you cannot use all three hook-ups, you can stay in a park campground without hookups, or stay in one of the RV hookup areas outside of the park.

Where can I camp?
There are three developed (frontcountry) campgrounds in the park, located at Rio Grande Village, the Chisos Basin, and Castolon. The Rio Grande Village and Chisos Basin campgrounds provide sewer dump stations and a place to fill your water tank, but none of the three campgrounds offers RV hookups. There are also primitive sites on dirt roads and virtually unlimited backpacking areas where you can camp with a backcountry use permit.

Where can I camp?
There are three developed (frontcountry) campgrounds in the park, located at Rio Grande Village, the Chisos Basin, and Castolon. The Rio Grande Village and Chisos Basin campgrounds provide sewer dump stations and a place to fill your water tank, but none of the three campgrounds offers RV hookups. There are also primitive sites on dirt roads and virtually unlimited backpacking areas where you can camp with a backcountry use permit.

Can I make reservations for camping?
A limited number of campsites in Rio Grande Village and the Chisos Basin campgrounds are designated reservable. These sites are reservable for the time period from November 15 to April 15. Reservations may be made up to 180 days in advance by visiting recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777. Big Bend National Park cannot make reservations.

Otherwise, all park campgrounds are operated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Are there showers in the park?
The only area in the park with public showers is Rio Grande Village. The showers are located at the store; hours may vary seasonally, check at any visitor center for current times. Showers are also available in Study Butte and at the Stillwell Ranch.

Where can I stay in the park if I’m not camping?
The Chisos Mountains Lodge is the only lodging available in the park; their phone number is 432-477-2291. If the Lodge is full, there are numerous motels outside of the park.

Where is the nearest ATM (automated teller machine)?
The nearest ATM machine is located at the Quicksilver Branch Bank in Study Butte. Banking services are also located in Alpine and Fort Stockton (100 miles and 127 miles, respectively, from park headquarters).

Where can I get groceries in the park?
Groceries are available at Rio Grande Village, the Chisos Basin, and Castolon. The gas station at Panther Junction also has a limited selection of groceries. There are also several stores outside the park in Study Butte.

Where can I buy gas?
In the park, gas is only available at Rio Grande Village and Panther Junction. Gas is also available in Study Butte, Lajitas, and at the Stillwell Ranch.

Where can I buy diesel?
At the Panther Junction Service Station or outside the park at Study Butte.

Where can I buy LP gas (liquid propane)?
At Rio Grande Village store, but be sure you check ahead of time - they do not always have someone available who is licensed to dispense propane. Propane is also available in Study Butte (call before drving there).

Can I use my cell phone in the park?
Cell phone service is available in the park, but do not depend on it. Signal availability and strength varies depending on your location in the park and the service you are using. It's a good idea to have an alternate method of communication, such as a prepaid phone card.
 

 


Lodging

Chisos Mountains Lodge
The Chisos Mountains Lodge, operated by Forever Resorts, Inc., is located in the Chisos Basin at 5,400 feet elevation. The lodge offers a variety of rooms and cottages, plus a gift shop and dining room.

Where To Eat

Inside the park
The Mountain View Resturaunt in the Chisos Mountains Lodge offers the only full-service dining inside the park.

Outside of the park
Many dining opportunities exist outside the park in the communities of Terlingua and Study Butte. Click here to view a listing of resturaunts outside of the park.