Recreation

Welcome to the Rio Grande National Forest where there is Solitude in Every Season!

From the Sangre de Cristo to the San Juan Mountains, the jagged peaks and rushing rivers of the San Luis Valley public lands wrap themselves around this Rocky Mountain basin.  Whether viewing the mountain scenery from roads or finding challenge on trails, visitors discover solitude and self-reliance through uncrowded year-round recreation opportunities.

The Rio Grande National Forest forms the scenic backdrop to the San Luis Valley.  With a landscape of high peaks, geological wonders, and steep river canyons, the spectacular scenery beckons adventures from near and far.  Year round recreation opportunities abound!  So, what are you waiting for? Pack up your family and friends and head for adventure in Colorado’s great outdoors!

Use the sidebar menu on the left to find an activity or right to find an area and learn about all the different ways you can enjoy the outdoors in the Rio Grande National Forest.

Camping is limited to 14 days in a 30 day period.

Accessible Recreation

The Rio Grande National Forest offers a number of recreational facilities designed with accessibility in mind for persons with disabilities. Also, there are programs that allow visitor discounts for fees charged on national forests.

Reservations & Rentals

While many campgrounds are on a first-come basis, you can make reservations for some campgrounds.  In addition there are eight cabins that are available for rental. To make reservations call: 877-444-6777 go to recreation.gov

Rocky Mountain Regional Recreation

Rocky Mountain Region recreational information, for regional campgrounds, cabin rentals and other information go to "Rocky Mountain Recreation Guide" web site

Recreation Conditions Report

 Area Name Status Area Conditions
Alamosa Campground Open to Visitor Open for the season. CAMPGROUND HAS A RESTROOM- NO WATER, NO TRASH SERVICE- PACK IN- PACK OUT!!.  This campground stays open until weather closes it. 
Aspen Glade Campground Open to Visitor Open Friday May 25th
Big Meadows Campground and Picnic Area Open to Visitor Open for the season
Big Meadows Reservoir Boating Site Open to Visitor The lake is usually Ice Free by May and is then open until November.
Bristol Head Campground Open to Visitor Open for the season
Buffalo Pass Campground Open to Visitor NO WATER -  PACK IN/PACK OUT.
Cathedral Campground Open to Visitor NO POTABLE WATER,  can filter water from nearby creek. Open until closed by snow, no trash service   PACK IN - PACKOUT
Comstock Campground Open to Visitor NO WATER - Open until weather closes access. No water or trash service after Labor Day until Memorial weekend.
Conejos Campground Open to Visitor Camp ground will be partially opened while Mix Lake campground is being renovated
Cross Creek Campground Open to Visitor NO WATER in the off season, but the pit toilet is open - Deep snow can close the individual campsites between December and March.  PACK IN PACK OUT.
Elk Creek Campground Open to Visitor Open for the season
Elk Creek Overflow Campground Open to Visitor Open for the season
Highway Springs Campground Open to Visitor Open for the season
Ivy Creek Campground Open to Visitor NO WATER - Open until weather closes access.  PACK IN PACK OUT.
Lake Fork Campground Open to Visitor Open for the season
Lost Trail Campground Open to Visitor No Water, No Trash Services. Open all year - this campground is usually physically closed by deep winter snows and closed access roads from November through May 15th of each year.
Lower Beaver Creek Campground Open to Visitor Open for the season
Luders Creek Campground Open to Visitor NO WATER -  PACK IN/PACK OUT..  No drinking water for humans; designated watering area for stock in Luders Creek.
Marshall Park Campground Open to Visitor Open for the season
Mix Lake Campground Closed to Visitor Due to the Spruce Beetle Infestation, Mixed Lake will be closed for approximately 3-5 years.   Conejos Campground, located next to Spectacle Lake, will be partially open during this time.
Mogote Campground Open to Visitor Open for the season 
North Clear Creek Campground Open to Visitor Open for the season
North Crestone Creek Campground Open to Visitor NO WATER -   Camp host on site   PACK IN/PACK OUT. 
Palisade Campground Open to Visitor OPEN FOR THE SEASON. No water or trash service after Labor Day until Memorial weekend.
Park Creek Campground Open to Visitor Open for the season
Penitente Canyon Campground Open to Visitor BLM campground, phone 719 852-7074 for more information. Open year around unless closed by snow. 
Poso Campground Open to Visitor NO WATER -   PACK IN/PACK OUT.
Rio Grande Campground Open to Visitor No drinking water is available. Open unless winter weather or muddy road closes access. 
River Hill Campground Open to Visitor CLOSED FOR THE SEASON - will reopen Memorial weekend
Road Canyon Campground Open to Visitor NO WATER - Open until weather closes access. No trash service after Labor Day.
Rock Creek Campground Open to Visitor NO WATER -  No trash service before Memorial Day and after Labor Day.
Rock Creek Picnic Site Open to Visitor OPENED on April 15th and should stay open until December 15th.  Closed by winter snow and muddy roads from December 15th Until Memorial weekend.  Open for day use picnicing only, NO OVERNIGHT CAMPING ALLOWED
Silver Thread Campground Open to Visitor Open until snow physically  closes access. NO WATER or trash service before Memorial Day and after Labor Day.
Spectacle Lake Campground Open to Visitor Open for the season 
Stone Cellar Campground Open to Visitor NO WATER -  PACK IN/PACK OUT.
Storm King Campground Open to Visitor NO WATER  -  PACK IN/PACK OUT.
Stunner Campground Open to Visitor CAMPGROUND HAS A RESTROOM-NO WATER - Open early to mid-June, depending on snow depth. Campground stays open until weather closes it. 
Thirty Mile Campground Open to Visitor Open for the season  The Weminuche Trail # 818 to be intermittently closed summer of 2018 - more details
Trujillo Meadows Campground Open to Visitor Campground is open, Trujillo Meadows reservoir closed and drained until mid August 2018. Call camp ground manager 719 376-6001 for latest information
Tucker Ponds Campground Open to Visitor Open for the season
Upper Beaver Creek Campground Open to Visitor Open for the season
Zapata Falls Campground Open to Visitor BLM campground, phone 719 852-7074 for more information. NO WATER - PACK IN PACK OUT   The unpaved road from the highway to the campgrounds gains 1,000 feet in 3.6 miles and is rough in places. Passenger cars and RVs can navigate the road, but it may be too challenging for some vehicles. NO RESERVATIONS. Usually fills up by noon on Fridays for the weekend, earlier in the week for three day weekends.