Big Bend Natural History Association

***Self-Guided Trip Planning

It's summer in Big Bend! May and June are usually the hottest months here, with life-threatening weather conditions almost every day. Please be cautious!

  • Paved roads are undergoing repair and resurfacing work. Center lines and no-passing markers are often missing. Be alert for heavy truck traffic, flaggers, pilot vehicles, wet tar, oil, or paint, and stopped traffic. Some visitors have reported minor damage to vehicles from loose gravel and spatters of tar. This project is supervised by an outside agency, and the park does not always have advance information about scheduling or which areas will be affected. However, delays rarely exceed 15 minutes.
  •  Panther Junction Visitor Center and the Chisos Basin Visitor Center are open. Persimmon Gap and Rio Grande Village Visitor Centers are closed for the summer (re-opening the first week of November.) Castolon Visitor Center is closed and is expected to move to its new permanent home in the historic Garlick House next season. Cottonwood Campground and Rio Grande Village Campground have moved to summer capacity status.
  • Restaurant service at the Chisos Mountains Lodge is sporadic due to staffing difficulties. Current hours are 2-7 pm, Thursday through Monday, for take-out only. This is subject to change without notice.
  • Face masks may be required again, depending on Brewster County's latest Covid-19 and hospital availability updates. If "mask required" signs are posted, please have your mask on before entering visitor centers or camper stores. Updates may not be posted on the park website, so please have masks in your car.

PLEASE NOTE that the park is expected to remain extremely busy through at least mid-May. Campgrounds, primitive roadside sites, and the Chisos Mountains Lodge are full most nights.

Planning ahead is crucial to a safe trip. In addition to one or more of the following guidebooks, we highly recommend consulting the park's main website frequently for important safety updates.

Campgrounds, most primitive roadside sites, and most designated mountain hike-in sites remain available by advance reservation through www.recreation.gov. Permits for desert wilderness backpacking, overnight river trips, and some limited-access drive-in sites can be made in person during business hours at Panther Junction. Please note that you MUST have a permit or reservation in advance to be able to stay over night inside the park. There is NO first-come, first-served camping. If you don't have a reservation and you arrive outside of business hours, you must find a spot outside the park. See the main Big Bend National Park website, www.nps.gov/bibe , for full information on what's open and how to reserve a campsite. Remember also that neighboring Big Bend Ranch State Park often has campsites available when the National Park is full. Primitive camping may be available at Black Gap Wildlife Management Area; consult Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Chisos Mountains Trails Map 2020

Chisos Mountains Trails Map 2020

Revised in 2019 and in full color, this handy map includes a new inset map of the Chisos Basin Trailhead and developed area as well as descriptions...
$1.39
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Desert Hiking Tips: Expert Advice on Hiking and Driving

Desert Hiking Tips: Expert Advice on Hiking and Driving

  This pocket-size book might be a life-saver—or at least a time- and embarrassment-saver! Veteran outdoorsman Bruce Grubbs provides the...
$10.95
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Hiker's Guide 2021

Hiker's Guide 2021

Significantly revised, the 2021 edition is filled with full-color photographs and is a large format 8.5" x 11" for readability. The...
$4.95
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2019 Trails Illustrated Map: Big Bend National Park

2019 Trails Illustrated Map: Big Bend National Park

• Waterproof • Tear-Resistant • Topographic Map The largest protected area of the Chihuahuan Desert, Big Bend National Park is a...
$14.95
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Backcountry Road Guide

Backcountry Road Guide

Thoroughly revised mile by mile, this new edition of the Road Guide to Backcountry Roads of Big Bend National Park now includes GPS coordinates as...
$4.95
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River Guide to the Rio Grande: Colorado and Santa Elena Canyons

River Guide to the Rio Grande: Colorado and Santa Elena Canyons

This guide covers from Tapado Canyon to the Santa Elena Canyon takeout and includes Colorado Canyon and Santa Elena Canyon. A newly revised version...
$14.95
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River Guide to the Rio Grande: Mariscal and Boquillas Canyons

River Guide to the Rio Grande: Mariscal and Boquillas Canyons

Newly revised version of the classic guide, with updated text and new full color maps and photos. Includes the “Great Unknown.” 20...
$15.95
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Death In Big Bend

Death In Big Bend

Real Stories of Death and Rescue in Big Bend National Park by Laurence Parent. BACK IN PRINT!!! This Big Bend bestseller was unavailable for a while,...
$18.95
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Great Walks of Big Bend

Great Walks of Big Bend

Note: The Chisos Mountains walks in this guide are NOT affected by the spring-summer 2021 wildfire closures. All of them remain open as of May 2021....
$8.95
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Hiking Big Bend National Park 3rd Edition

Hiking Big Bend National Park 3rd Edition

By Laurence Parent. Hiking Big Bend National Park features forty-seven of the finest trails in Texas - from short day hikes to backcountry treks....
$22.95
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