Rio Grande Village Campground

Big Bend National Park, TX
(no hookups)

Rio Grande Village Campground Website  – (432) 477-1121
Site Map – (click all images for larger sizes)

Rio Grande CG - Site 1

First row, starting with Site 1

January 26-28, 2017 – I really hadn’t planned to stay here during my initial research because I’m not crazy about boondocking these days and due to having work to do for clients, I needed internet access. So I planned to stay a week at Stillwell Store & RV Park with full hookups since a friend had stayed there and it had good wi-fi. Nothing was really wrong there, but I quickly determined that for me, it was too far a drive. Although it’s only 7 miles to the northern entrance, it’s another 30 miles to the main visitor center at Panther Junction, most convenient to the areas I wanted to explore.  After driving in one day from there, I decided that wasn’t going to work for me.  See below for info on where I stayed on the west side of the park to more conveniently explore attractions on that side.  This is a huge park, folks, with long distances between attractions and maximum speed of 45 mph, so plan accordingly. Overall map of Big Bend National Park.

Rio Grande CG - Site 57

Me in Site 57

I decided to take my chances on the first-come, first-served sites and see if I could get in here.  When I arrived before 11:00 am, there was only one site that I could fit into, and I ended up really enjoying my 3 night stay. The cool thing about no hookups is that you can pull right in to a back-in site and not worry about everything fitting!

Rio Grande CG - Site 3

Site 3 – a nice pull-through

But there are numerous good sized pull-through sites, too.

Rio Grande CG - Site 7

Sites with mountain views

Rounding the corner of the first row, you get closer to the beautiful Chisos Mountains.  It’s incredibly dark out here at night, a big attraction for star gazers.

Rio Grande CG - Site 70

Site 70

Another row of sites more in the center of the campground.

Rio Grande CG - no generator zone

One of the No Generator zones

See Site Map for campground layout, first-come, first-served sites vs. those that can be reserved, sections that allow generator use or not.

Don’t miss the Nature Walk and Overlook Loop Trail if possible.  It has some steps and rocks going uphill, but it’s not difficult and the views make it totally worth it.

Trail - Overlook

View from Overlook Loop Trail

From here you can look back at the trail, the campground and the Rio Grande.

Trail - Rio Grande

Looking across the Rio Grande to Mexico

A few miles from the campground, you can get over to Mexico via the Boquillas Crossing Port of Entry, but you must have your passport to cross. This was an easy and fun little trip where you take a rowboat across the river and then can ride a donkey, horse or truck into town with a local guide.

Boquillas Canyon - Me

Boquillos Canyon trail viewpoint

I also did the 1.4 mile round trip hike through Boquillas Canyon. I always like to do little easy hikes like this and it was a beautiful day for it.

Boquillas Canyon - end

End of Boquillas Canyon trail

I was a little disappointed that this is about as far as you can go. I had hoped to be able to get more into the canyon with the walls closer around you, but it was still worth it.  More info on River Hikes at Big Bend.

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Cost:  $14/night (half off with America the Beautiful passes).

Reservations:  877-444-6777 – Through Recreation.gov only and cannot be made through the park itself.

Facilities:  100 campsites that range in size from small tent sites to large pull-through sites that can fit a 40-ft. motor home.  About 44 sites can be reserved and the rest are first-come, first served.

Amenities (no charge): Each site has a picnic table, charcoal grill and bear-proof food storage locker. Some are also furnished with picnic shelters for shade, but these are smaller sites by the nature trail.

Hookups:  None at any site. Generators are permitted in some sites (8 am – 8 pm) and a couple areas do not allow their use at all.  All sites are within easy walking distance to water spigots and restrooms.  There is a dump station at the campground’s entrance. Showers and laundry facilities at the Rio Grande Village Store just outside the entrance to the campground (about 1/2 mile).

General Camping Info:  14 consecutive day stay limit with a limit of 28 total nights in the park in a calendar year. Campers can occupy a specific site up to 14 total nights in a year. Between February 1–April 15, visitors are limited to a total of 14 nights in the park.

Internet/Wi-Fi/Cell Phone: No wi-fi or Verizon Jetpack signal available within the campground.  Free wi-fi is available at the Village store, about 1/2 mile from the campground and at the other visitor centers.  Phone signals for calls were more of a problem and not reliable.

Satellite TV:  I had no problem with my DirecTV tripod setup, but most of the campground looked open enough so that rooftop deals shouldn’t be a problem, either.

Pet Friendly:  Allowed in campground on a leash, but no pets are not allowed on any of the trails in Big Bend.

My tips:  Be sure to stock up on food and fill up with gas because there is no major shopping within close range. The village does have a small store with some basics (bread, bacon, milk, eggs, sandwiches and snacks, some camping supplies, but naturally things are much more expensive there. I had also heard that the water “tasted funny” here, so I filled up my tank before I arrived.

Campsite Photos.com – Pictures of all individual campsites.

RVParkReviews.com – Reviews from other campers on Rio Grande Village Campground

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Other campgrounds within Big Bend:

Rio Grande CG - full hookups

Rio Grande Trailer Village – Full Hookups

Rio Grande Trailer Village Campground (full hookups) – Operated by concession. This is right next to the Village Store, but is basically just a paved parking lot with tight spots. I could not see spending $33/night to stay here.

Chisos Basin  –  No hookups; 60-sites, 24 can be reserved.  Flush toilets, running water, grills, picnic tables, and dump station. Trailers over 20′ and RV’s over 24′ are not recommended due to narrow, winding road to the Basin and small campsites at this campground.

Cottonwood – No hookups; 24 sites. A quiet, shady desert oasis located between the Castolon Historic District and scenic Santa Elena Canyon. Pit toilets, picnic tables, grills, and water are available. No dump station, no generators allowed.

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West side of Big Bend:

After my first 3 nights at Stillwell RV Park and 3 nights here, I moved over to stay a week in Terlingua at Big Bend Resort & Adventures RV Park.

Big Bend Adventures Resort - Terlingua

Big Bend Resort & Adventures RV Park – Terlinqua

Nothing really exceptional about the park except it’s a convenient location to explore the Terlingua Ghost Town and Historic Cemetery, the scenic drive from Lajitas to Presidio that goes part way through Big Bend Ranch State Park, and Big Bend National Park attractions on this side like the scenic Chisos Basin Road (to Chisos Mountains Lodge), Castolon Visitor Center and Historic District, Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive and Santa Elena Canyon.

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two-centsMalia’s 2 Cents:  I thought Rio Grande Village Campground was definitely the most convenient for exploring the east side of the park without having to drive all day. I met some really nice people here, too, so be sure to walk around the campground and do the nature trail.  I saw several roadrunners and bunnies, but the highlight was when I spotted a bobcat loping alongside me!  Bummer that I couldn’t get my camera out fast enough to get a shot, but it sure was a thrill.

Your Two Cents?  The only way I know if the reviews and research I present are helpful to you is if I hear from you.  I sure would appreciate your feedback in Comments below.

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More Big Bend Camping Info:

Reflections From the Fence – My friend Carol’s report about their visit there in 2012. This is where I heard about Stillwell Store & RV Park, where I stayed for a few days initially since I wanted full hookups and wi-fi, which is not usual around here. The campground was fine and the wi-fi did work, but I found it too far from the main areas of Big Bend that I wanted to explore.

All Malia’s Miles Big Bend Pages: (more coming soon)

Main pageRio Grande Village CampgroundBoquillas Border CrossingChisos Basin Road and Mountains LodgeRoss Maxwell Scenic DriveSanta Elena Canyon

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  • Sharon Penney-Morrison

    Great article. I like to know, if possible, where I am staying and what it looks like. This could be a possible place to visit. I love the way you describe sites and what is available.

    • Thanks a bunch, Sharon! There are a lot more blogs and websites out there now than there were when I started my website in 2005, but that was exactly why I started it. Especially as a solo woman RVer, I wanted to know what a place was like as much as possible before I got there and that info was hard to come by back in the “old days.” I continue it because other folks still find it helpful, but also so that I remember where I’ve been. LOL. In 16 years, I’ve been to so many places, I still refer back to my website for details that become fuzzy as time goes by.

  • Edie Snell

    We were there, that’s our T@B to the left in the picture of the no generator area. Small world we travelers live in!

    • Edie, that is just too cool! Small world indeed, but how in the world did you happen to see this page? Love it!

      • Edie Snell

        Crystal Garman Baker, from the FB T@B group posted the link saying that there was a T@B in one of the photos. We had been in Big Bend in January so I took a look and recognized our “Nutshell”

        • I absolutely love that! I don’t recognize Crystal’s name right off and I’m not in the T@B group, so must be another group or FB connection. In any case, sounds like she didn’t even know it was yours!

          • Edie Snell

            The T@B Facebook group has over 5000 members so I’m not surprised she didn’t know it was ours.Lots of times we will take a picture or post a location of T@Bs we see because they arent that common. Then we post the question “Is it someone from a he group?”

          • Totally cool – thanks for letting me know!

divider-greenMailboxYour comments and feedback matter to me. The only way I know if this site is of any value to you is if you tell me about it. I love hearing from you and my mailbox is always open. Contact me or please leave comments above. Comments from folks who have "journeyed" with me at Malia's Mailbox.

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