Camping on Rio Grande in South Fork Colorado

The Rio Grande National Forest offers a multitude of camping opportunities. Whether you decide to stay in a portable camper trailer, tent, or rough it under the stars, you are sure to find the perfect location. Almost 2 million acres of national forest surrounds the South Fork area, and mor than 20 campgrounds have been developed along highways 149 and 160. Most accommodate both camper trailers and tents.


Forest Service Campgrounds usually offer the following items: Tables, Toilets, Fire Grates, Garbage Cans, Parking Spurs and Drinking Water. Fire rings must be used. Visitors are allowed to stay up to 14 days. Reservations can be made for many of the campgrounds, although some are on a first come first serve basis. 

Dispersed Camping - The Rio Grande National Forest also has many undeveloped camp sites and wilderness areas. There are private properties throughout the forest, so please beware and do not cross the boundaries. Keep our land as pristine as you found it! Dispersed campers should choose spots that are previously used sites, 200ft from water source, and that keep vehicles within 300ft of a road

Forest Service Campgrounds Local RV Parks Check Fire Bans

Know Before You Go

  • Tell Someone: Where you’re going When you’ll be back
  • Trash the Trash - pack it in, pack it out. South Fork offers paid trash drop _________. Bury human waste/tp 2ft deep, and 200ft from water; or pack it out!
  • Pets: Scoop their poop and keep them leashed
  • Plan to find and claim your site mid-week for best options
  • Check local fire conditions. After the forest fire in 2013 that ravaged our economy and our national forest, we take fire bans SERIOUSLY. If you do have a campfire, extinguish it fully!!!
  • We don’t usually recommend camping during the winters (the locals will think you’ve lost your mind!) It’s COLD... and believe us, your “minus 300 sleeping bag” won’t cut it!
  • Plan for cold nights, even in July! At high elevations, temperatures drop significantly once the sun goes down
  • Bring plenty of water. There are only a few places to fill up: at the Visitor Center for a donation; or at the gas station
  • Maps - don’t rely on cell service. Either have them printed or downloaded.
  • First aid kit - you’re a long way from medical assistance. If you need help, call 911, visit the South Fork Clinic at 52 Jackson Street, or drive to the Rio Grande Hospital in Del Norte (about 20 miles)

Enjoy your forest and natural resources.

 CAMPGROUNDS Sites Fee Water
Big Meadows  •  Access to several lakes and hiking trails MORE INFO 42 Paid    •
Cathedral  •  Access to fly fishing on Embargo Creek  MORE INFO 22 FREE  
Cross Creek  •  Located at Beaver Creek Reservoir, at hiking trail head 8 $18  
Highway Springs  •  On the banks of the South Fork 13 $18  
Lower Beaver Creek  •  Access to Beaver Creek & Beaver Creek Reservoir 18 $18    •
Palisade  •  Along the Rio Grande River, between South Fork and Creede 12 $18    •
Park Creek  •  Access to the historic Summitville Mine 13 $18    •
Tucker Ponds  •  Access to Tucker Ponds and Pass Creek 15 $18    •
Upper Beaver Creek  •  Access to Beaver Creek & Beaver Creek Reservoir 14 $18    •
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South Fork Visitor Center
28 Silverthread Lane
South Fork, Colorado 81154


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