Big Bend Conservancy
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Two primitive campsites are located along the river at Johnson's Ranch, along the River Road West.Site Name JR-1 JR-2Vehicles 2 3Persons 10 8Horses 4 (4x4 req.) 2 (4x4 req.) How to Get ThereThe Johnson's Ranch campsites are located along the River Road, 15.6 miles from the west end near Castolon, or 38.4 miles from the east end near Rio Grande Village. There is a short 0.3 mile access road to the campsites.Usual Road ConditionsThe River Road is maintained for High-Clearance Vehicles Only. After rains, the River Road is extremely muddy and may quickly become impassable to ALL vehicles. Four-wheel drive may be required. Always ask a ranger for current conditions.Current road conditions...Ground Cover/ShadeOnly minimal shade available at these campsites. The campsites are located in thick, brushy, riparian vegetation.ViewsOnly minimal views from the campsites, but a 5-minute walk to the Johnson Ranch ruins provides a magnificent view of the south Chisos, the Rio Grande, and the cliff face of the Sierra Ponce in Mexico.River AccessThe river is accessible by following some winding livestock trails through the thick mesquite. Access is easiest from site JR-2.Cautionary NotesTo minimize the possibility of theft, secure belongings when away from the campsite and while sleeping. Do not leave site unattended for long periods of time.RemarksCheck current road conditions with a ranger. 4-wheel drive is required after any rain.Nearby ruins are the remains of the Elmo Johnson Ranch. This combination trading post, cotton farm, and goat ranch was in operation until the 1940's. During the 1930's the US Army constructed an airstrip here. Camping is prohibited near the ruins.A backcountry use permit is required (available at visitor centers). Campers are responsible for regulations listed on the permit. Camping is in designated sites for minimal impact on the surrounding vegetation.
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