Big Meadows Campground and Picnic Area

Area Status: Closed
This area is Closed

 Big Meadows is located in the San Juan Mountains in south-central Colorado, about 11 miles west of South Fork. The campground is lightly wooded with spruce trees, creating a beautiful meadow atmosphere. 

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.

Natural Features:

The campground meanders up a mountainside above Big Meadows Reservoir in a series of 3 loops. As a sub-alpine region, the campground gets more snow melt and rainfall than the opposite side of the lake, resulting in plentiful wildflowers and aspens surrounding the campsites.


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 nearby, 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.


Each site has a campfire ring and picnic tables. Drinking water is available. 

The nearest dump station is 13 miles away, and a boat ramp is located on the north shore of the reservoir.

There is a picnic area adjacent to this campground.

Nearby Attractions:

The surrounding area has plenty to keep visitors busy, with attractions like Great Sand Dunes National Park, Native American ruins, the Continental Divide Trail and gold rush ghost towns. The Sangre de Cristo and San Juan Ranges are laced with trails for all levels of  hikers.

Fish Your National Forests: This site can be accessed by passenger car. Fish available include: Trout, Native Trout. Types of fishing available include: Wade, Shore, Non-motorized boat, Float tube, Fly, Spin, Bait. ADA accessible fishing access with fishing pier and boat launch

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Summer-Open. Winter-Limited campsites with no restrooms water or trash.
Reservations: Reservations can be made by visiting Reservations must be made at least 4 days ahead of arrival and can be made up to 6 months in advance for standard sites or 12 months in advance for group areas.
Area Amenities: Accessible,Boat ramp,Tent camping,Picnic tables,Toilets,Drinking water,Parking
Fees $26/night for single unit, $52/night for double unit. $87/night for group area.  $13 per day for the Day Use Picnic Area
Open Season: Memorial Day Weekend - The second Monday of September.
Usage: Heavy
Best Season: June, July, August, Sept.
Busiest Season: July
Restrictions: On Big Meadows Reservoir, boats are allowed. No wakes are allowed, trolling motors are okay. Boat ramp on north shore.  There is a 14 day camping limit in campground. Must have a Colorado Fishing License to fish the reservoir and streams.
Closest Towns: South Fork, Colorado
Water: Drinking Water
Restroom: Vault Toilet
Information Center: Electric hookups are not available. This campground has first-come, first-served sites. A fee will be charged for additional vehicles. The 14 day stay limit is strictly enforced. Camping for a period longer than 14 days during any 30-consecutive day period is prohibited. If you have booked back-to-back reservations, you will be asked to cancel all days after the first 14. This campground is set to open on May 21, 2021.

General Information


GPS Info. (Latitude, Longitude):
37.53806, -106.79611
37°32'17"N, 106°47'46"W

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.


Accessible sites and fishing access.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Camping & Cabins

Show detail SHOW


Show detail SHOW


Show detail SHOW

Nature Viewing

Show detail SHOW


Show detail SHOW

Scenic Driving

Show detail SHOW

Water Activities

Show detail SHOW

Winter Sports

Show detail SHOW


Picnic tables
Drinking water Will be available later in the summer
Boat ramp
Tent camping