For those who wish to tent camp in the backcountry without having to backpack, Big Bend offers a number of primitive campsites along backcountry roads. These sites are located in the desert and along the Rio Grande. While a couple of sites are accessible to most vehicles, a high-clearance and sometimes 4-wheel drive vehicle is necessary to reach most of them. Primitive sites offer nice views, solitude, and a small flat gravel space to set up camp next to your vehicle. No shade, toilets, or other amenities are provided.
Permits for all primitive campsites are available during business hours at Panther Junction and Rio Grande Village Visitor Centers up to 24 hours in advance.
The sites available for online permitting are:
Grapevine Hills 1-5, Croton Spring 1-2, Paint Gap 1-4, Hannold Draw, Nine Point Draw, Nugent Mountain, Pine Canyon 1-5, Robbers Roost, and Twisted Shoe.
Permits available for these sites online via www.recreation.gov, or the recreation.gov call center at 1-877-444-6777
Primitive Roadside Campsites— Improved Dirt Roads
Primitive roadside campsites along improved dirt roads are usually accessible to passenger vehicles except after rain when road conditions may deteriorate and require the use of high clearance or even 4-wheel drive vehicles to access these campsites.
Primitive Roadside Campsites— Primitive Dirt Roads
Primitive dirt roads are maintained for high clearance vehicles only, and may require 4-wheel drive. They may be rocky with areas of soft sand that are unsafe for sedans or RVs. Rain can make roads difficult to drive or impassable.
Last updated: February 8, 2020