Rio Grande Village Campground
Big Bend National Park is an 800,000 acre park that is known for great hiking, stargazing, bird watching, and mild winter temperatures.
With an average high temperature of 70 degrees in December, this park made it to the top of our list when traveling through Texas last winter.
Our next decision to make was, of course, where should we camp? We chose Rio Grande Village Campground.
Big Bend National Park is located along a 118 mile stretch of the Rio Grande River in Southwest Texas. The Panther Junction Visitor Center and Park Headquarters building is 69 miles South of Marathon, TX. This is a very remote park, so be prepared with plenty of food and supplies before heading in (although there is gas and food available at a few locations within the park).
Sites and Amenities
Of the 4 campgrounds within Big Bend National Park, we picked Rio Grande Village. The other 3 are Chisos Basin, Cottonwood, and Rio Grande Village RV Park (which is the only one that offers full hookups).
There are 100 campsite is Rio Grande Village, all of them having no hook-ups (keep in mind that summertime temperatures are known to exceed 110 degrees here). Each site is equipped with a picnic table, charcoal grill and bear-proof food storage locker.
Several restroom buildings are scattered throughout the campground, all with running water and water spigots to fill jugs with. There is also a dump station with potable water near the entrance to the campground.
Coin operated showers are located inside the Rio Grande Village store, as well as a small laundry facility.
With 201 miles of hiking trails within Big Bend National Park, you should never run out of new things to see.
The camp store is very nice, offering souvenirs, food, gas, and even a selection of cold beer.
We had absolutely NO CELL SERVICE the whole time we were here. BUT, the Panther Junction Visitor Center and the Rio Grande Village camp store both have free wifi available. We did notice that the wifi at Panther Junction was incredibly faster than at the Rio Grand Village camp store.
Campsites at Rio Grande Village Campground are reservable November 15–April 15. Of the 100 sites, 43 of them are reservable.
As mentioned earlier, all of the sites in this campground have no electricity. They do, however, allow generator usage at certain campsites (see map below).
Reservations can be made up to 6 months in advance at this National Park Service website, or by calling 1-877-444-6777. The camping fee is a very reasonable $14/night.
Self-registration is also available at the entrance to the campground.
We left Marathon, TX and made the long, lonely drive down into Big Bend National Park on a sunny Sunday afternoon. After entering the park at the North entrance station, there was still 47 miles to drive to get to Rio Grande Village Campground. This is a very large National Park!
Once we arrived, we checked into our first campsite, number 5. This was a pull through campsite, that had no shade. That was okay, because the temperature only got into the mid 70’s during the day.
Seeing just how huge this park is, we agreed that a 2 day stay wasn’t going to be nearly long enough. We had to move to a different campsite, but it was worth it to spend 2 more days here. Our second campsite was number 27, and it was shaded and a lot more private than most others.
After being told about a beautiful sunset view, we decided to hike the Rio Grande Village Nature Trail. This trail is connected to the campground, and accessible near campsite #18. This was a fairly easy hike, and we were rewarded with a blazing orange and purple sunset disappearing over the Rio Grande.
Another amazing hike that you should make sure to check out is the Boquillas Canyon Trail. This 1.4 mile medium rated hike takes you up, down, and into the canyon until it’s walls close in on the river.
Of all the cool things we did while staying here, I think soaking in a hot spring along the banks of the Rio Grande was our favorite!
Big Bend National Park is one of the most unique places we have ever camped. The fact that it’s hundreds of miles from the nearest big city, adds to the “middle of nowhere” feeling, which was very refreshing. This is also a factor for the park being a Certified Dark-Sky Park.
It may be a little more out of the way than the more well known National Parks, but Big Bend is sure to amaze you – if you’ll give it a chance.