Amistad National Recreation Area | Outdoorsy

Amistad National Recreation Area
Guide

Introduction

Amistad National Recreation Area is a unique oasis in the desert that sits within a transition zone between major life and climate zones, and features diverse flora and fauna species that make the park a lovely RV destination. Located near Del Rio, Texas, on the US-Mexico Border, this recreation area is easily accessible by RVs, trailers, and cars, and features paved and gravel roads that make navigation a breeze. Amistad derives from the Spanish word meaning friendship.

Over 70 campsites within five RV campgrounds are available at Amistad National Recreation Area, all of which are available on first-come, first-served basis only. No reservations are accepted, but the campsites are open year-round. You’ll find a picnic table and fire grill at all the campsites in the park, but only one campground has potable water. There are no RV hookup options at the park. Other amenities available include vault toilets, trash cans, restrooms, and a picnic shelter.

Bring your adventure to life as you engage in a wide variety of recreational pursuits at Amistad National Recreation Area, including wildlife and bird viewing, fishing, and hunting. The park is a boater’s paradise too. If you enjoy water skiing, scuba diving, or swimming, then you’re covered. Come along with your camera to take beautiful photographs of the park’s features.

Park Alerts (11)

[Park Closure] Group Campground and Some Regular Campgrounds Closure

June 12, 2020- In accordance with the President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America and CDC regulations regarding COVID-19, group & some regular campgrounds will remain closed until further notice. For details please see the link provided.

[Park Closure] Closure of Picnic Areas

May 21, 2020- Due to groups not maintaining social distance (at least 6 feet) from others, the picnic areas at the Viewpoint Cliffs, Rough Canyon, 277 North, 277 South, San Pedro Campground, Black Brush, and the Pecos are closed until further notice.

[Information] Boat Ramps and Hiking Trails Remain Open

May 1, 2020- Boat ramps & hiking trails remain open. Visitors are encouraged to follow CDC social distancing guidelines (keeping at least 6 ft from other visitors). Restrooms at Diablo East, Rough Canyon, Box Canyon, and Pecos boat ramps have re-opened.

[Caution] Val Verde County White-Tailed Deer Tests Postive for Chronic Wasting Disease

Texas Parks & Wildlife Department is implementing a containment strategy designed to limit the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease from Val Verde County. TPWD will continue to respond to reports of sick deer.

[Information] Day Use Areas at Governors Landing and Spur 454 Now Open

May 22, 2020- Governors Landing and Spur 454 to San Pedro Cliffs day use areas re-opened. Visitors are highly encouraged to social distance (at least 6 feet) from others. If visitors do not comply with the CDC guidelines, these areas may close again.

[Information] Rough Canyon and Spur 406 Campgrounds Open

June 1, 2020- Rough Canyon and Spur 406 campgrounds re-opened. Visitors are highly encouraged to social distance (at least 6 feet) from others. If visitors do not comply with the CDC guidelines, these areas may close again.

[Information] Fishing Tournaments May Resume

May 29, 2020- To schedule a fishing tournament date, please contact Ranger Activities Technician, Kaci Messenger, at kaci_messenger@nps.gov. 

[Caution] Zebra Mussel Alert

Samples collected from Lake Amistad in 2018 tested positive for zebra mussel DNA. All subsequent samples have been negative. Boaters are advised to Clean, Drain and Dry all boats and equipment. Click the link to learn more:

[Information] Visitor Center Now Open

June 12, 2020- Visitor Center will resume normal operating hours, seven days a week 8:00am-4:30pm. Visitors are encouraged to follow social distancing guidelines. Masks are required.

[Information] Park Fees Resume

May 29, 2020- Lake use passes are now required and can be purchased at automated fee machines located at Diablo East and Rough Canyon. Exchanges for annual passes bought at this time will be honored when Visitor Center reopens.

[Park Closure] Day Use Areas Closed 9:00PM-7:00AM

July 2, 2020- Day use areas at Governors Landing and Spur 454/San Pedro Cliffs are closed from 9:00pm-7:00am.

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Camping Accommodations

36'
Max RV length
36'
Max trailer Length
Electrical hookup
Water hookup
Generator use
Food storage
Sewer hookup
Dogs & cats

RV Rentals in Amistad National Recreation Area

Transportation

Driving

Located near Del Rio, Texas, on the US-Mexico Border, Amistad National Recreation Area is accessed from the north or south via US Highway 227/377. The park sits 160 miles west of San Antonio along US Highway 90, and 230 miles east of Big Bend. Local paved and gravel roads within the park offer easy accessibility to the campgrounds and campsites. Driving off-road is not permitted within the park.

Parking

Within Amistad National Recreation Area, there are designated parking areas for RVs, trailers, and cars. Except when parking your rigs at your respective campsite, the designated parking areas must be used.

Public Transportation

A public rail service is available in Del Rio. Greyhound USA also offers bus services from Houston to Amistad National Recreation Area.

Campgrounds and parking in Amistad National Recreation Area

Campsites in Amistad National Recreation Area

First-come first-served

Rough Canyon Campground

4 pet-friendly campsites that accommodate RVs and tents are available at Rough Canyon Campground. During winter months, camp hosts may be on-site at the Visitor Center in the campground. No hookups or potable water are available in the campground, but vault toilets, picnic tables, and fire grills are available.

RV/trailer length limit at the campground is 36 feet, and all campsites are available on first-come, first-served basis only. Quiet hours are from 10 pm to 6 am.

Spur 406 Campground

At Spur 406 Campground, there are 6 pet-friendly campsites available for RVs and tents and on first-come, first-served basis only. No hookups nor potable water are available at the campground; however, pit toilets and trash cans are provided. You’ll also find picnic tables and fire grills at the campsites.

RVs and trailers larger than 30 feet cannot be accommodated at the campground. Quiet hours are from 10 pm to 6 am.

277 North Campground

277 North Campground features 17 pet-friendly campsites available for RVs and tents and on first-come, first-served basis only. No hookups nor potable water are available at the campground; however, pit toilets picnic tables and fire grills are provided at the campsites.

RVs and trailers larger than 36 feet cannot be accommodated at the campground. Quiet hours are from 10 pm to 6 am.

San Pedro Campground

There are 30 pet-friendly campsites that can accommodate RVs and tents, and 5 tent-only campsites at San Pedro Campground. No hookups or potable water are available in the campground, but vault toilets, picnic tables and fire grills are present.

RV/trailer length limit at the campground is 28 feet, and all campsites are available on first-come, first-served basis only. Quiet hours are from 10 pm to 6 am.

Access to the campground is via a 1¼ mile graded gravel road.

Governors Landing Campground

At Governors Landing Campground, there are 15 pet-friendly campsites that are available for RVs and tents. Although there are no hookups at the campground, there is potable water available. RV length limit at the campground is 28 feet. Amenities at the campground include restrooms, vault toilets, and picnic shelter. A picnic table and fire grill are available in each campsite. Quiet hours are from 10 pm to 6 am.

While camped at Governors Landing, you can enjoy fishing, beaching, biking, boating, and water access.

All the campsites are available on first-come, first-served basis only.

Seasonal activities in Amistad National Recreation Area

Summer

Water Skiing/Scuba Diving

Although there is no commercial skiing available, water skiing is a popular activity at Amistad National Recreation Area. So, if you intend to enjoy this pursuit in the park, you must come along with your boat and skis. As you ski, be safe, stay out of shallow and dangerous areas, wear a personal flotation device and be familiar with boating safety.

The uniquely clear waters at Amistad National Recreation Area makes it a scuba diver’s paradise. At the dive cove located at Diablo East, you can launch away!

Swimming

The desert heat in summer at Amistad National Recreation Area is impressive, and RV campers find a perfect escape by swimming in the park’s waters. Swimming areas that are unsupervised are located at Diablo East and Governor’s Landing. Certain areas are closed to swimming in the park because of the concentration of vessels and fishing hooks/lines that pose safety hazards to swimmers. No lifeguards are on duty at the park, so exercise caution while swimming. Also, note that some areas in Amistad Reservoir have sudden drop offs.

Spring

Flora

Amistad National Recreation Area supports three major plant communities that occur in a combination found only in the park. They include Tamaulipan Shrubland, Chihuahuan Desert, and Edwards Plateau. The Tamaulipan Shrubland features plant species that have adapted to irregular rainfall and occasionally high humidity, such as acacia and retama. The cactus species that you’ll find in the park are typical examples of the Chihuahuan Desert plant community, while oaks and junipers that are found around the Amistad Reservoir are plants of the Edwards Plateau.

Fall

Boating

Amistad National Recreation Area is a boater’s paradise, owing to the fact that the park offers amazing boating opportunities for RV campers and enthusiasts. From waters in narrow, steeply-walled canyons to open areas, boating at the park is absolutely refreshing. To use your watercraft on the waters in the park, you will need to obtain a Lake Use Pass.

There are numerous boat launch ramps within the park where you can kickstart your adventure on the park’s waters, with the main ones located at Rough Canyon, Diablo East, Southwinds Marina, and Box Canyon. Commercial boat rentals are available in the park.

Wildlife and Bird Viewing

At Amistad National Recreation Area, there are many animals, but most of them are secretive, so you may only get to see white-tail deer, jackrabbits, and cottontail rabbits. Occasionally, porcupine and skunk are sighted in the park.

Thanks to the park’s location within a transition zone between northern, southern, eastern and western avifauna, there is a wonderful mix of bird species that offer great bird viewing opportunities for RV campers and visitors. Black-capped vireo, Colima warbler, and golden-cheeked warbler are some of the common birds in the park.

Look out for Monarch butterflies that are migrate through the park in fall and roost in the park’s trees.

Winter

Fishing

Different fish habitats are present in Amistad National Recreation Area, including Rio Grande, Devil’s River and Pecos, in addition to Amistad Reservoir. Amistad Reservoir is the primary fishing location within the recreation area and features abundant bass and catfish. Other fish species that are stocked in the reservoir include largemouth and shad. At Rio Grande, the primary fish available is darter, while in Pecos River, livebearers are common. Fish at Devil’s River if you want to catch minnow. Other fish in the park include sunfish, cichlid and drums, gar and silversides.

Find the perfect campsite.