Almost Free Camping at Big Bend National Park
We love Wild Camping (aka Boondocking) but before our trip to Big Bend, we had never heard of backcountry RV camping in a national park. So naturally we had to check it out and this is the awesomeness of what we found:
A measly $10 permit gets you up to 14 days of camping! I call this almost free because anything under $10 a day is cheap much less for two weeks! There are at least 3 areas that are RV friendly for camping: Hannold Draw, Government Spring (we stayed here), and Croton Spring (and here). However, generator use is strictly prohibited (this is where solar comes in handy).
We weren’t able to stay at the same location for our full 5 days in the park due to other camper reservations. So we stayed 3 nights at one site and 2 nights at another but we were over the top about both locations. Permits are first come, first-served and only available in person at the park visitor center. Permits can be picked up a maximum of 24 hours prior to your camping; and yes the earlier you arrive the better and weekends can be difficult.
Most have no natural shade and there are no picnic tables, bathrooms, or shade shelters. I can’t imagine camping here during the peak of summer heat. But March is blissfully quiet, serene and comfortably cool at night! You may want to check our Boondocking Tips here if you’re new to dry camping.
Leave No Trace
As with most wild camping: if you pack it in, pack it out. No exceptions!
One things for sure, when you’re Wild Camping you never know what your neighbors are going to be like. Ours were total pigs that came and went as they pleased. They rarely stopped for photo opps and turned down our invitation for dinner (guess they didn’t know we’re vegetarian).
Singa on the other hand (despite our best efforts), had several reptile friends for dinner. Yuck!
Other Camping Options
If you want wifi and full hook-ups you could stay at the trailer village for $35 a night (if it’s 100+ degrees, ok …otherwise no thanks)! There are other RV friendly campgrounds but the standard RV amenities in this National Park come few and far between…and generators are never allowed!
A friendly Tip: If you don’t have a tow car and plan to drive your RV this park is HUGE! Expect to spend a small fortune driving from one end to the other, and if your RV is over 24′ you can’t make it to some of the most scenic hikes in the Chisos Basin due to the road restrictions.