Camping in Big Bend??

Discussion in 'Tejas and the Gulf States' started by Dagwood_55, Oct 13, 2017.

  1. Dagwood_55

    Dagwood_55 Long timer

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    I need a little specific advice on camping in Big Bend.

    Planing a little trip the day after Christmas for a week or so. And I'm looking for advice or recomendations on a place to camp. We will be in a 5th wheel with the bike on a tag trailer behind us. We have our camper rigged out with solar, so dry camping or boondocking is much better. No crowded RV parks for us!! More about scenery and solitude. Is there a particular NF campgroud without hookups??

    And will we need reservations for this kind of camping??

    Thanks,
    #1
  2. Stephen

    Stephen Long timer

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    I don't know where to start. The week after Christmas is among the busiest times out there, along with spring break and Thanksgiving. Otherwise, it's a great time to go. There is no National Forest. There's hardly any forest. Almost all the land in Texas is privately owned. There's not a lot of boondocking to be done. Wherever you go in the Bend at Christmas, you better have reservations.

    The National Park is a truly great place, but the backcountry roads aren't for fifth wheels, and even the Basin can't handle the big ones. There are two campgrounds for RV's down by the river, otherwise I'm not sure there's a lot for a big RV. You need to call the park.

    Big Bend Ranch State Park farther west and the end of 30 miles of bad road. May or may not have spots for RV's. Campgrounds are very primitive. You need to call the park.

    There are RV parks in Study Butte, Terlingua, Marathon.. maybe other places. I know you said that's not what you want, but I honestly don't know where else you can put a rig.

    Maybe there are some RV'ers on here who know more.
    #2
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  3. Magus

    Magus Never grew up...

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    Recommend you look at some air bnb listing out there. If you can camp in the boondocks with your rig there are some cheap and convenient spots that I have used.
    #3
  4. DirtyDog

    DirtyDog Omnia mea mecum porto

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    You can RV at Panther Junction, Rio grande Village, Cottonwood (more isolated), and other sites and will need a reservation. The park has numerous backcountry campsites, some of which are accessible by RV. The park office can tell you which sites are accessible for your rig via phone or in person. The backcountry sites are not able to be reserved. You have to get there early and snag one. There is a strategy to this and certain arrival days and times are better. We arrived late one day due to delays and all backcountry sites that were car-accessible were taken, so we drove all the way to Study Butte and tent camped in an RV park there.

    Good luck.
    #4
  5. Stephen

    Stephen Long timer

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    This is a good idea.

    I reread my post and it sounded a little harsher than I'd intended. I really didn't mean it that way.
    #5
  6. mwatson

    mwatson Haz-Mat

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    Check out ...The Stillwell Ranch Store & RV Park..
    Its just a few miles north of the HWY 385 entrance more off the grid than Terlingua area..
    i stayed there a couple times in the "off" season and been the only one staying there..
    i use big bend resort rv park in study butte for a base camp they normally have a spot on the south side away from the "parkinglot" you just need to ask to be on the back side..
    its in the middle of BBNP and BBSP so it makes 2 or 3 days on the bike EZ to get to... there are a few other good places.. High in camping is at Lajitas only place i know that has concrete pads....
    See you around maybe i spend 3 weeks out there around Xmas and Nyears...
    HazMat
    #6
  7. FotoTEX

    FotoTEX Long timer

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    The best place to RV camp right outside Big Bend NP is located in Lajitas, TX and called Maverick Ranch. Part Of Lajitas Resort. Great place. Great food. Great Bar. Close to Terlinqua. Starlite Theatre/Restaurant is excellent. LOcal flavor and always characters hanging out next door. Make reservations NOW.
    #7
  8. tennessee thumper

    tennessee thumper Long timer

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    Scenery and solitude...

    ...you'll need park your RV wherever and ride your bike to the back-country camp spots.

    I just spend 4 days camping at the Solis and Black Dike camp sites on River Road in the National Park.

    If you are able, take a dual sport or 4x4 to get back there, you'll be rewarded with all the scenery and solitude you could ever ask for.

    If you are on a bike, you'll need to have intermediate to advanced skills on some of the stretches of River Road. I was with two other BMW airhead GS's and it took us about 1 hour to travel 10 miles on River Road.

    Right now River Road West was the easier of the two to navigate with the only issues being washboard sections that will rattle your fillings. RR East was rough in spots and had 1/4 mile stretches of sand that were tricky with a packed down bike.

    Glen Springs and some of the other back country roads/campsites are very nice. Black Dike has shade trees and great views. Solis is typical flat desert site but just a stones throw from the Rio Grande.

    Views from Black Dike campsite on River Road East
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    Rio Grande @ Solis campsite on River Road West

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    #8
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  9. kojack06

    kojack06 Been here awhile

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    http://www.ranchotopanga.com/

    This is place I camp when I'm at BB(which is pretty frequently). Its basic(use to be $10.00 a night for the "valley"-which is where I like because its less windy in winter), has a clean shower and toilet, and tent pads. It is owned by retired Marine, which meets Kojack06 approval. The location is south of Terlingua on Highway 170. It is outside of the national park, however its near Terlingua and also on the famous "River Road(Highway 170)", which many come to the region to ride. (There is also a "River Road" INSIDE the park which is dirt).

    If you want to explore Big Bend Ranch STATE PARK, while you are at Big Bend NATIONAL PARK, this campground is on the way.
    #9
  10. Deuce

    Deuce Crazy Canuck

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    This thread has showed up at the perfect time for us. We're heading that way the last week in January. Driving our Jeep Rubicon with a Cricket off road trailer.

    :1drink
    #10
  11. FotoTEX

    FotoTEX Long timer

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    I agree Rancho Topanga is a great place to camp close to Big Bend and Terlingua. Great views and a excellent shower. Gun shop on site too. Good people.
    #11
  12. scottyb

    scottyb Been here awhile

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    We have an adobe on the Ranch around Gate 9 and we go down every Christmas holiday. All good suggestions above. Watch your gas as Study Butte is eighty miles from Alpine. There is gas Study Butte, Lajitas and Panther Junction in the Park. There is gas at Rio Grande Village but it’s been closed for remodeling. No gas at the Ranch office. Naturally at Precido at the end of 170. Have fun! Watch the weather it’s snowed the last two holidays we’ve been down there and they run out of gas too.
    #12
  13. FotoTEX

    FotoTEX Long timer

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    Terlinqua Ranch Lodge has RV camp sites. Remote and beautiful. Also has restaurant and cheap Beer. About 30 miles from Study Butte. 13 miles of paved and the last 3 miles are gravel. well Maintained. Carroll Shelby started it in the 60s. Look for the sign to TRL about 15 miles north of Study Butte. Great roads from the ranch to explore. Very scenic there and millions of stars.
    #13