Big Meadows is located in the San Juan Mountains in south central Colorado, about 11 miles west of South Fork. The campground is heavily wooded with spruce trees, which shade most of the campsites.
The Rio Grande National Forest spans 1.86 million acres in south-central Colorado. The Continental Divide runs for 236 miles along most of the forest's western border, presenting a myriad of ecosystems from alpine desert to dense wilderness.
$20 per night for single site
$40 per night for double site
$8 per extra vehicle
$10 for day use
$70 for group site (1-40 people)
Reservations: To reserve sites go here.
Natural Features: The campground meanders up a mountainside above Big Meadows Reservoir in a series of loops. As a sub-alpine region, the campground gets more rainfall than the opposite side of the lake, resulting in plentiful wildflowers and aspens surrounding the campsites.
Recreation: An accessible fishing pier, located on the north shore of the reservoir, allows anglers to cast for rainbow, brown and brook trout. Hunting, boating and hiking are also popular pastimes.
Hikers and horseback riders will enjoy the 6-mile Archuleta Trail. The trail accesses the Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado's largest wilderness, which boasts the headwaters of dozens of major streams and rivers that feed into the Rio Grande and San Juan rivers.
Facilities: Each site has a campfire ring and picnic tables. Drinking water and garbage bins are available. The nearest dump station is 13 miles away, and a boat ramp is located on the north shore of the reservoir.
Nearby Attractions: The surrounding area has plenty to keep visitors busy, with attractions like Great Sand Dunes National Park, Native American ruins, remnants of the Spanish Conquistadors and gold rush ghost towns. The Sangre de Cristo and San Juan Ranges are laced with trails for avid hikers.
Open Dates: Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day. May stay open a week after Labor Day.
Directions: From South Fork, Colorado, take Highway 160 for 13 miles west, turn onto Forest Road 410 SW, and go 1.8 miles to Big Meadows Campground. See map below.
For more information, visit the Forest Service website.