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Castolon Campground

Castalon Historic District, Big Bend National Park, TX 79834
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#5 of 5 campsites in Big Bend National Park
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Mel wrote a review Mar 2019
Arlington, Texas5 contributions
+1
We really liked this camp. Nice and quiet, only 20ish sites, no generators allowed. The sites were grassy and flat with plenty of shade trees. We didn't mind the pit toilets because they were kept super clean. We visited in March though, so I can imagine in the heat of summer the smell could get pretty bad. There are regular toilets and a store and visitor center about a 5 min drive away. Close to several trails and 7 miles from Santa Elena Canyon. Beautiful sunsets both at the campsite and a 5 min drive out if you want to see it without the trees. If you are going at the busy season, you need to be there at 8 am and check for people leaving. This goes for any campsites in Big Bend. We checked out the other 2 camps during our week stay and decided to stick with Cottonwood.
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Date of stay: March 2019Trip type: Travelled with family
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ERL972 wrote a review Oct 2017
Texas535 contributions215 helpful votes
If you are in an RV and have your own toilet and shower it is a good location for access to the park. If you are tent camping, there are no showers, pit toilets and no wood fires. Still though you do have access to a great park if all you are needing is a place to place your tent.
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Date of stay: October 2017Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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roadtramp56 wrote a review Oct 2017
Quartzsite, Arizona55 contributions12 helpful votes
I so looked forward to visiting this park...I phoned the park service phone number ahead of time to find out about methods of paying for camping...I was told I could pay by credit card, so I did not stop to get cash... I arrived big bend and the woman at the entrance stated, at my query, the campground has a self-pay station... I drove the hour to my chosen campground...the scenery was gorgeous and the road is very nice...I used just ahead app and learned lots about the area... Eagerly anticipating camping and exploring, I arrived at cottonwood campground and found a lovely spot... immediately after this, I began to experience the big disappointment... First, the only self pay station is a system of envelopes stuffed with cash (bills - no coins) or a check...no where was there ability to pay using credit card...second, when I walked to the self pay area, there were no envelopes....I could not comply with the written orders to put the stub of the pay envelope at my campsite within thirty minutes of arrival.... The next morning a ranger came and restocked said envelopes - and I still had the same problem - no cash and no credit cards can be used at campground... I stayed two nights with the specter of being harassed by the ranger...indeed, I cut my visit short because of this...(i'd anticipated 10-14 days)... Another disappointment is the campground being touted as "right on the river"...in actuality, it is a bit of a walk down the road and a small alleyway and you can see the water - no area conducive to staying at the water for anything other than a quick distant look...and there is a barbed wire fence surrounding the campground - between the sites and the river... The area was beautiful - lots of big trees - and wildlife (owls, javelina, roadrunner, large praying mantis), and it was quiet and people were friendly...the views of the Milky Way were spectacular... All in all, big bend was a big bust...I can't give a high rating, due to the campground issue...I think big bend would be far more suitable to a day trip scenario...
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Date of stay: October 2017Trip type: Travelled with friends
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Wade W wrote a review May 2017
Greenwood31 contributions17 helpful votes
I'm going to go against the other reviews for this campsite. I guess if you have a self contained camper, it's ok, however, when tent camping, this campground leaves alot to be desired. First, the toilets. They are pit toilets, with no inside lights, and were swarming with nats! At night, when you had to go in there with a headlight on in order to see, your head was covered with nats! Second, because all of the middle campsites are low-lying, the smell from the toilets just hung there all night. Third, there were few trees and the sun is quite brutal there. I've camped at a lot of places across the country, and this might be the worst campground i've stayed in. Stay at Chisos Basin and drive to Santa Elena Canyon, that's my recommendation.
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Date of stay: March 2017Trip type: Travelled with family
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Brenna R wrote a review Apr 2017
Minneapolis, Minnesota530 contributions240 helpful votes
Overall we really liked this campground! The spots were all extremely spacious, especially when compared to the other two campgrounds in the park (we drive through to check them out). We were lucky that when we got there, there were a couple spots to chose from so we got a spot with some shade but there were a few spots without any. We did have some flies and bees, but not real issues. We also had nightly visits from Javelina and one night forgot to take in the dog food (our fault) and they ate it. Oops. But a very nice campground. The rangers were around all the time to answer questions. No water was available when we were there and one of the bathrooms was a little backed up with a rancid urine smell.
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Date of stay: March 2017Trip type: Travelled with friends
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
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travelers241 wrote a review Mar 2017
Colorado16 contributions8 helpful votes
No reservations, so get there early. About 20 campsites, drinking water and pit toilets. It is very quiet and the stars at night are big and bright! A group of 15-20 Javelinas walked through the campground at about 6pm, and two Great horned Owls were roosting in the Cottonwood trees. On the Western end of the NP. We drove the River Road one day and didn't see another human for several hours. We took a bike ride on the Maverick Road, hiked to The Window in the Chisos Mountains, too.
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Date of stay: February 2017
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Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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SonoraDick wrote a review Oct 2016
Tucson, Arizona156 contributions77 helpful votes
+1
Full disclosure... I've visited Big Bend many times through the years, and usually camped. I happen to think that the campground in the Basin (Chisos Mountains) is among the very best I've experienced, anywhere. But I live over 600 miles from Big Bend, and I knew that the Basin would be full by the time I arrived in October, so I opted to camp here for my first three nights instead. That made visits to Santa Elena Canyon (9 miles), Terlingua (30), and Castolon much easier than they would have been had I been staying in the mountains. I found Cottonwood (NOT Castolon, as mentioned above) Campground to be totally satisfactory. Easy access, my site was large and level, lots of grass and (as others have mentioned) trees. Water & bathrooms (one was closed due to off-season) were nearby. At night I listened to two owls calling out to one another, and coyotes howling. I wasn't around much during the day, but I know others did just relax there and enjoyed the peace and quiet. Views are limited due to the trees and dense vegetation along the river. This isn't one of the places where you know you're in a national park just by looking up. I think those places (such as the Chisos) are really special. I was totally satisfied staying in Cottonwood, however, and rate it four stars rather than five only because I reserve five stars for the very best.
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Date of stay: October 2016Trip type: Travelled solo
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Wes S wrote a review Oct 2016
Pensacola, Florida136 contributions74 helpful votes
This is an excellent site, and is located close to the Castolon Historic Visitors Center and shop, Santa Elena and the hiking trail, and historic town of Terlingua. The site has no electricity but has a cistern of potable water for drinking and cooking. Irrigation is used to water the beautiful cottonwoods so camp on high ground. Might be a bit hot in the summer, but during spring and fall it is perfect. Great place for RVs and tents. I camped in October and it was about 50-60 percent filled with mostly tents and several RVs. I loved the location and the road to get to the campground is very scenic.
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Date of stay: October 2016
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M J wrote a review May 2016
Austin, Texas7990 contributions894 helpful votes
The Cottonwood Campground is on the west side of Big Bend National Park. It is just off Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive near Santa Elena Canyon. There is water in the campground but not at the campsites. There are no hookups at the campsites and no store of any kind nearby. The campground is pretty with lots of trees and birds. If you do not need hookups and stores, this is the Big Bend campground is nicer than Rio Grande Village.
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Date of stay: April 2016
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Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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TrueTexasTraveler wrote a review Jan 2016
Amarillo, Texas1059 contributions594 helpful votes
This is a great campground if you're planning to camp at Big Bend. It's not as busy as the Chisos Basin campground so it's easier to find a spot. While the Chisos Basin tends to be cooler due to it's elevation, there is a lot of shade at this campground from the Cottonwood Trees so even in late May during the day the heat was tolerable. The camp sites are spacious, with a table and grill and the well kept toilets are a close walk from any site. Each site has a water spigot and there is drinking water available at the entrance. People tend to be friendly so get to know your neighbors and hear some good stories. Also, you'll probably see some wildlife as they also live in this oasis and are used to humans. Enjoy your stay.
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Date of stay: May 2015
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Trip type: Travelled with friends
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LOCATION
United StatesTexasBig Bend National Park
NUMBER OF ROOMS
35
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CASTOLON CAMPGROUND: See 16 Reviews and 24 Photos (Big Bend National Park, TX) - Tripadvisor

Frequently Asked Questions about Castolon Campground
Which popular attractions are close to Castolon Campground?
Nearby attractions include Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive (0.9 km).
Are pets allowed at Castolon Campground?
Yes, pets are typically allowed, but it's always best to call ahead to confirm.