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“Stunning veiws 360 degrees” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Chisos Basin Campground

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Chisos Basin Campground
Certificate of Excellence
Sugar Land, Texas
Level Contributor
26 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Stunning veiws 360 degrees”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 23, 2014

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. :)

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
9 Thank heatherleightravels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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74 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    44
    26
    4
    0
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (10)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
73 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 12, 2014

This campground is really amazing! It's in the most beautiful spot. The weather in late February was perfect. Warm during the day with a cool breeze in the shade. Cold at night. It's in a basin, so there are 360 mountain views. A trip up to the lodge and window view trail makes for the most stunning sunsets you'll ever see. The light does so many things to all the rock features at different times. It's hard to know what to look at!
At night my husband and I put our sleeping bags outside for a while and stared in amazement at more stars than we've ever seen. That is a priceless experience. It's been many many years since I've been able to see the Milky Way. One early morning it rained lightly. So soothing. And when we woke up, there was fog and clouds rolling over the mountains. Just incredible!
The area is nice and clean, bathrooms are very clean and easily accessible. No showers, but I washed my hair in the sink. Take baby wipes, they're great in a pinch! If you're camping, you're probably not worried about getting a little grungy anyway.
Our campsite (#13) was pretty good. Had a covered patio and was close to the bathrooms. It was close to the trail up to the lodge so that may be a downside because of foot traffic. Didn't bother us though.
I almost gave it 4 stars but couldn't because of the overall positive experience. Our sight was right below the residential area where lodge employees stay. On Monday night there was a group of women who stayed up until 2 a.m. drinking, talking, and laughing (one had a cackle) very loudly. Since it's in a basin, noises really echo. There is a 10 p.m. curfew, and you'd think especially employees would observe that. I hardly got any sleep that night. Luckily the next day I was able to find the host (Ed, I think) and he was so incredibly helpful, listened, and took action. I filled out a complaint and the Park law enforcement came by and took a statement. I wasn't the first to complain about this so I hope they can sort it out. The campground is so incredibly peaceful and I want everyone to enjoy that. I was impressed by the host and law enforcement and their prompt attention and concern. And for that, I give it 5 stars.
I heard the last girl say, as she left at 2 a.m., "See you next Monday." Monday must be party night. Hopefully they've dealt with it, but if not, don't plan on sleeping much. Or bring ear plugs, which I promptly purchased at the little store the next day. ;)
I still recommend this campground. It's spectacular!

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Starinhon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Antonio, Texas
Level Contributor
16 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 22, 2013

Camping up there is unreal. The stars and scenery are unmatched. There is plenty of hiking available around the campground without having to drive to other parts of the park. For me, the Chisos is the coolest part of the park. Next time, I want to camp primitively all around the mountains, but the sites in the campground were great for non hikers.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
Helpful?
7 Thank Kyle U
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fort Worth, Texas
Level Contributor
61 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 28, 2013 via mobile

My boyfriend and I just finished a 5 night stay at the Chisos Basin campground at site 54. As other reviewers have mentioned, 39 is the best spot and I agree but 54 was great too. The camp hosts were very friendly and ready to help and answer questions and the trails were really close by. Lack of showers was really hard, but we did a backpacker type shower and we were just fine. This is a great place for quiet, solitude, great views and awesome night sky viewing/photography. I highly recommend.

Also, do keep a clean camp site and always carry a knife/mace just in case. We did hear wildlife at night but never saw them and we're not threatened.

  • Stayed September 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
8 Thank jules_travel55857
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
68 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 20, 2013

I always loved the desert, and this phenomenal park offers you everything, but make sure to plan your visit during Fall, or Winter, because at Summer is TOO HOT! And there are a lot of rattlesnakes on every path you walk. The hotel is so peaceful, a perfect place to RELAX, and forget about the city. The last time I was there, there were no Wi-Fi, nor TVs, nothing! It was perfect! No contact of any kind, just you and nature!! Ahhh! Paradise.... I am not sure if its still the same nowadays, last time I visited it was the year 2000

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
Helpful?
1 Thank The_Darth_Fruit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
13 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 12, 2013 via mobile

My husband and I just spent 4 nights and enjoyed it so much! I would recommend it for some hiking during the day and great nights observing the night sky!! We stayed here in Chisos Basin since its still pretty warm and wanted the cooler nights. Of course, being surrounded by mountains are always a plus!

We stayed at campsite #17. There wasn't much shade but we wanted a non-obstructed view of the night sky since we wanted to do some astrophotography.

The bathrooms were pretty clean. It's true there are no showers. We used the body wipes purchased from REI and they got us by fine. One day we did take a drive down to Rio Grande Village store and took advantage of the shower facilities there. They were pretty clean and there is a $1.50 charge for 5 minutes.

Also, unless we you want to eat at the lodge, be sure to bring your food supplies. There is a little store for little things you may forget but like anything else, there is quite a mark-up. There is a storage locker for food there. We kept ours in bags and cooler in our vehicle since we drove all over and wanted to have them handy. cooler in our vehicle since we drove all over and wanted to have them handy.

The camp host was nice and informative when we first showed up after 7pm. We wouldn't mind going back!! That's for sure!

  • Stayed September 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
Helpful?
2 Thank Cdhargis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Baguio, Philippines
Level Contributor
118 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 123 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 15, 2013

We went on a holiday weekend and the place was advertised as FULL as we drove inside the park. Luckily, it was about "check-out" time (12nn) and a lot of camp areas freed up. We set up our tent and then self-paid by the entrance to the campground. You take note of the campsite number, go back to the camp entrance which is near the park volunteer's RV at that time. It's a shed with some posters, a box containing the envelope to hold your payment ($14/night) and the drop-box. Complete the information in the form, keep your receipt/stub, add your payment in the envelope, seal and drop it in the box. A clip is provided in your campsite to hang the receipt. A volunteer will go around to check it and mark your "check-out" date.

Our campsite had a storage locker, a picnic shed and a clean ground for the tent. A few rocks were kept on the side to help secure the tent (it can be quite windy in the area). The ground had clean bathrooms, no showers, a drinking water faucet and a sink for washing dishes. I was impressed with how clean the area was.

Park volunteers helped us with the directions to the hiking trail we wanted to trek (Emory peak!). They directed us to go by Chisos mountain lodge and we found signs pointing us to the right direction. The trail was well-marked and clean.

It got windy at night when we were there and it slammed on our tent which woke us multiple times. Clear skies showed plenty of stars though - no light pollution in this area! Noise was not a problem since there was a 10pm quiet time rule.

Bring a strong flashlight for dinner and walking to the restroom. Bring something to keep you warm at night since the temperature drops significantly when the sun sets. When planning to hike, bring lots of water! Park ranger volunteers stay on-site for any questions.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
8 Thank noleaveswilltravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Chisos Basin Campground

Property: Chisos Basin Campground
Address: Chisos Basin, Big Bend National Park, TX 79834
Location: United States > Texas > Big Bend National Park
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 7 Specialty Lodging in Big Bend National Park
Number of rooms: 65
Also Known As:
Chisos Basin Campground Hotel Big Bend National Park
Chisos Basin Campground Big Bend National Park, Texas

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