Big Bend National Park
Located in remote south-western Texas on the US-Mexico border, Big Bend National Park is one of America’s most beautiful film locations.
The park covers 801,163 acres (324,219 ha) of the northern part of the Chihuahuan Desert along the Rio Grande. It is famous for its rugged desert locations, canyons, and otherworldly roads ideal for car commercials.
Big Bend National Park is home to more than 1,200 species of plants, more than 450 species of birds, 56 species of reptiles, and 75 species of mammals living in many microclimates. Wildlife of note includes roadrunners, coyotes, black bears, mountain lions, rattlesnakes, scorpions, tarantulas, javelinas, jackrabbits, and kangaroo rats.
The park has many geological features including sea fossils and dinosaur bones, as well as volcanic dikes.
Films including No Country for Old Men, Boyhood, and Paris, Texas have shot in Big Bend National Park.
When To Shoot?
The busy tourist season runs from November through to January. Winters are cool and dry. Given the desert climate, subfreezing temperatures occasionally occur at night. During daylight hours sensible sun protection and plenty of water is a must.
Summers are the hot and rainy season running from June to October. This is followed by wildflowers in full bloom.
Bird migrations take place through the year. Northern species migrate to Big Bend National Park during the winter, while birds from the tropics head north to breed in the spring.
Permission to film in Big Bend National Park is at the discretion of the National Parks Service. The project may be denied or revoked if the project poses a threat to the park resources, places unreasonable burdens on park staff, disrupts normal public use, or the project depicts activities that are not permitted within the park.
Liability insurance is required covering a minimum $1,000,000.
Commercial still photography requires a permit. Additional fees may apply if photography takes place in areas where members of the public are generally not allowed, or uses models / set builds / props, or would incur additional administrative costs to monitor the activity.
Documentaries are required to have permits.
Personal use photography or filming of breaking news events will not require a permit.
For more information on permitting contact the national parks office directly here.
National Parks service fees are charged based on the size of your crew and type of shoot.
A river float permit is required for filming on the Rio Grande.
Projects involving locations along the Rio Grande involve the international border with Mexico and will require prior approval from the Department of Homeland Security.
Note, several immigration checkpoints exist deep inside the US side of the border. If you are a foreign film crew, be sure to travel with your passport, even if you have no intention to travel across the border.
Drone filming is prohibited in Big Bend National Park.
Getting There & Around
El Paso in the closest city and major airport. Alpine and Marathon are the closest towns for basic supplies.
Some park roads can only be accessed by 4WD.
Accommodation and restaurants and other services are available inside the park all year-round.
West Texas Production Support & Film Crew
Are you a brand, media company, advertising agency or production company looking to film in Big Bend National Park? Contact us for Texas based content producers or shooting crew including directors, DP’s, videographers, cameramen, and photographers.