We chose to camp at Chisos Basin for the fact that it was in the mountains (cooler), and a smaller campground.
Let me first address the only reason this rating is 4 and not a 5. I would give it a 4.5 if I could. Unfortunately, the park website does not advise about privacy of campsites. There are a few (mostly on the last loop on the exterior of the loop) that were very secluded, but otherwise, it is not a very private campground. Water spouts are shared between about 4 campsites each and as such, along with the natural rocky terrain) you hear people walking near or through your site quite often. One of our friends travelling with us said it was as if the people were all in her tent with her.
Other than that... the chisos are AMAZING! And unlike many other parks where driving down from the mountain takes a while, it takes only about 15-20 minutes to get back out to the main road where you can reach other places from there.
We saw a variety of animal life. MANY MANY birds, still counting, deer that run through the campsite every morning, a ring tailed cat (INCREDIBLY cute!), a million lizards, jack rabbits, cotton tails, and other things. We did not see any mountain lions (good), or bears, or snakes.
The ampitheater at this camp ground hosted events 3 out of the 4 nights we were there.
The Window Trail hike took us just about three hours and this was with stopping for lunch. They recommend 4, but I would say, just take a LOT of water. If you are from the gluf coast like us, you will be chugging water nonstop.
We also went down the mountain and did the Balancing Rock Trail off of the Grapevine Hills Road. This trail was very very easy, with a few rocks to scuttle around near the top. Lots of great rock formations and plant life to see.
Within an hour drive are: Hot Springs Trail, St. Elena Canyon, and Study Butte/Terlingua (attractions)
There was a mountain lion sighting on the trail from the campground to the lodge/visitor's center/store on Monday, March 17th. But again, we saw nothing.
Star gazing was magnificant until the moon came out... but even after, it was still better than anything near home we can see. It was almost pitch black, and then once the moon came out, you could make out everything in the basin without a flashlight.
The camp sites do have drinking water spicket(shared between 4). There is a dish sink at each restroom building, and the restrooms have heaters that turn on at night when it's cold.
Hosts are very approachable for the most part.
No wood fires are allowed (as most arid campgrounds), but charcoal is allowed in the grills. Just be careful how much lighter fluid you put on or you will get told to put water on it... and good luck getting dinner going after that. Took us two hours almost. I asked the next day, if lighter fluid isn't encouraged how do they light their coals, and I was told that of course they use lighter fluid. Eh.
They also discourage charcoal chimneys, so bring long tongs to use for dutch oven cooking.
Make sure your tent and wind/rain fly are very secure... at night the winds can be vicious. :)
- Also Known As:
- Chisos Basin Campground Hotel Big Bend National Park
- Chisos Basin Campground Big Bend National Park, Texas