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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
ADA Access: N
Great campground all around. The Reservoir has some of the best fishing we have found. We caught our bag limit every time we fished. The campground is nicely treed and the spaces are more private than most. The vault toilets are the cleanest and nicest I have ever seen! Be advised that if you are in an RV, you must bring your own water. There are no water hook ups, only to fill containers. There is trash service, but no electric or dump station. There is a really nice trail around the lake.
I couldn't ask for a better place to go visit! Right off the bat, the scenery is phenomenal. It's everything we wanted in a Colorado vacation. The mountains were spectacular. The water was cold and clear. It was perfect. To start, we stayed in site 38. It's pretty far back off the water, but it feels so cozy and private. It's a level site that works for a shorter trailer or popup. It's close to the drinking water and bathrooms.
Let's talk bathrooms for a second. I was nervous having never used a vault toilet. The camp host does an excellent job of cleaning! I was pleasantly surprised. There was air freshener so it wasn't smelly at all.
As far as activities go, there's a short hike to a waterfall that's easily accessible to the base. If you're feeling adventurous, it's fairly easy to climb up to the top. So fun! My 8 year old LOVED this and begged to go back. There's also a two mile trail around the the reservoir. We didn't walk the trail because we ran out of time, but our campground neighbors did, and they enjoyed the views. As well, on a clear night, you can see so many stars. It was cold at night, but well worth bundling up to watch the sunset and check out the night sky. Star gazers, this will be right up your alley.
If you're looking for additional activities in the area, we visited Treasure Falls and Lobo Overlook. Both were a short drive, and easily done with kids.
Overall, this was such a great trip.
(For interested parties, there was limited cell service with AT&T and T-Mobile)
Great views of the water. Sites are nicely distanced. It was cold and windy during our stay but the scenery made up for it. Campground is nicely taken care of and the host was helpful. Can’t wait to come back!
Loved it so much the first time that we came back! For the best views, make sure to book in the lower loop. We stayed in site 11. Not the best views of the reservoir but decent. You can hear the waterfall. Campground sites at close to 10k feet in elevation. Keep that in mind. We enjoyed a great little hike around the reservoir plus amazing fly fishing the next morning. Can’t wait to get back!
Views of the reservoir are so beautiful! We stayed on site #8. Nice size, slight views of the water, it was nice! The fishing was great, the hiking was nice, the bathroom is impecable! Kudos to the hosts!!!! We will be back in August.
National campground with spectacular views of mountains and lake. Some secluded campsites but most have a view of the lake. Most of the Pine trees were hit with the Pine beetle, some still remain along with all the Aspen trees, even with some Pine trees lost this place is Beautiful!
Good fishing and hiking. Campground is very popular so not the best spot if you're looking for quiet mountain camping, but still a fun, safe family campground. On the other side of Wolf Creek Pass is Pagosa Springs with fun activities, good food, and several great breweries. Oh, and the famous Hot Springs! The big, popular hot springs are cool, but across the street is a lesser known Overlook hot springs. Very affordable and usually under utilized. It is also next door to a wonderful restaurant called The Lost Cajun. Big Meadows is a good campground but I like it most for it;s proximity for rafting, fishing, hiking and rock hounding.
I was here with 3 other adults last Summer. The "attendant" was an odd duck who really worried about me understanding how the online reservation rules worked, even though the place was empty. Then about our 3rd day there, his camper and all his stuff left… like he just up and quit! Beautiful place though… lake is popular with locals.