Primitive Roadside Camping in Big Bend National Park

Primitive Roadside Camping in National Park Backcountry

Like most National Parks, Big Bend offers plenty of world class camping. Unlike most other National Parks however, your camp site might not be accessible by a paved road at Big Bend. Big Bend National Park has a large number of primitive roadside camping areas in the backcountry. Many of these sites can only be reached by high clearance, four wheel drive vehicles. These campsites all offer incredible camping experiences. Most primitive campsites are deep enough into the desert that you can’t see any developments or even other campers. Being able to car camp with this much seclusion is an awesome experience.  We camped in the Pine Canyon camping area during this trip. Check out the quick youtube video we put together of the Pine Canyon Camping area.


Big Bend Backcountry Camping
Miles from civilization with the desert all to yourself

On our recent trip to Big Bend National Park we were lucky enough to get one of these primitive roadside campsites. We visited right at the end of peak camping season so sites were going quickly. Our site was Pine Canyon Campground Site 5. We had an incredible view of the Chisos Mountains from our site; and even though our site was on a road with a popular hiking trail at the end of it we didn’t see anyone else once we made it out to Site 5.

Pine Canyon, Primitive Roadside Camping, Big Bend National Park
The sign at the entrance to the Pine Canyon camping area. Make sure you have a high clearance vehicle!
Primitive Roadside Camping, Big Bend National Park, Backcountry
Here is a section of the primitive road to Pine Canyon site #5.

If you are planning a trip to Big Bend and are looking to do some primitive roadside camping then here’s our advice:

  1. Arrive early. This is very important because the park does not allow people to call ahead and reserve camp sites. You must do it in person at the Panther Junction Ranger Station. So make sure you arrive early and take care of your reservation as soon as you enter the park.
  2. Bring lots of water. There is no access to water once you’re at the the campsites and you’re in the desert. Not much to explain here.
  3. Warm sleeping materials are a must. Even if the daytime temperatures are pushing the 100s you’ll want a decent blanket for the cold desert night.
Pine Canyon, Big Bend, Primitive Roadside Camping, Backcountry
Here is the tent pad and the view from Pine Canyon site #5.
Backcountry Camping, Primitive, Big Bend
The undeveloped road continues to the Pine Canyon Trailhead
Pine Canyon, Mountains, Big Bend Backcountry Camping
Some Mountain Views from the site

For more info on primitive roadside camping at Big Bend National Park check out park’s roadside camping info here.

For more info about all kinds of camping at Big Bend National Park check out the camping options here.

For more info on backcountry use at Big bend National Park check out the rules and regulations here.

Big Bend Backcountry Camping Sunrise
Can’t beat watching the sunrise after a night camping in the desert wilderness

Feel free to ask us any questions and be sure to let us know how your trip goes in the comments below!

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