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Devils River State Natural Area, located in the rugged terrain of Southwest Texas, offers a remote and pristine environment for an array of outdoor activities, including camping, kayaking, fishing, and hiking. When planning a camping trip specifically to one of the hike-in sites, there are essential details to consider for a safe and enjoyable experience.

Reservations and Permits

Reservation Requirement: Before setting out, campers must reserve hike-in sites in advance. These reservations can be made online or by calling the state park reservation system. Walk-ins are not guaranteed a spot due to limited availability.

Permits: Upon arrival, campers need to check-in at the park headquarters to obtain necessary permits and be briefed about park regulations and safety information.

Access to Hike-In Sites

Trail Difficulty: Access to these remote sites usually requires hiking several miles, often on rugged and challenging trails. Ensure that you're physically prepared and that you have a map of the trail system.

Water Crossings: Depending on the site and season, you may need to cross the Devils River to reach your site. Always check the water level and current conditions, as flash flooding can occur.

Weather Conditions: The area can experience extreme temperatures and sudden weather changes. It is vital to check the local weather forecast and to be prepared for any conditions.

Campsite Information

Facilities: Hike-in sites typically offer a primitive camping experience. Amenities, if any, are minimal and may include a cleared area for tents, a fire ring, and possibly a picnic table. There are usually no restrooms, showers, or water sources at the sites.

Water Sources: Campers must bring all the water they will need or have the capability to purify natural water sources. Staying hydrated in the typically hot and arid climate of the region is crucial.

Food Storage: Secure storage of food is important to keep wildlife away from your site. Use bear-proof containers or suspended storage methods to protect your food - and the wildlife.

Rules and Regulations

Leave No Trace: Practice Leave No Trace principles by packing out all waste, respecting wildlife, and leaving the site as you found it or better.

Fires: Check fire regulations before your trip. Fires may be restricted or prohibited, depending on conditions. If allowed, use existing fire rings and keep fires small. Always fully extinguish fires before leaving them unattended.

Wildlife Encounters: The area is home to various wildlife, including snakes and mountain lions. Be aware of your surroundings, keep a safe distance, and know what to do in an encounter.

Quiet Hours: To maintain the natural peace of the area and respect for other campers, observe park quiet hours, typically from 10 PM to 6 AM.

Safety and Preparations

Emergency Protocols: Cell service may be nonexistent. Plan accordingly by informing someone of your itinerary, carrying a map and compass, and having a plan for emergencies.

Gear: Pack the appropriate gear, including a tent, sleeping bag, cooking equipment, and a first aid kit compatible with the challenges of backcountry camping.

Water Safety: If kayaking or engaging in other water activities on the Devils River, wear a life jacket and be aware of the rules and potential hazards.

Education: Familiarize yourself with the local flora and fauna, as there can be dangerous plants or animals.


Devils River State Natural Area provides an excellent chance for adventure and solitude, especially for those who choose hike-in camping. Proper preparation, respecting the park policies, and staying informed about the unique challenges of the area are key to ensuring a memorable and safe camping experience. Always check the latest information from the park's official resources before starting your journey.

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