Explore the most popular Camping trails in Rio Grande National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

over grown
1 month ago

Walked the loop with our 3 kids this morning. My 4 & 5 year old were able to walk the entire loop without help. 1 down tree covering the trail, parts overgrown but overall easy to follow.

Went from Lobo Overlook to Big Meadows lake through Archuleta lake. At mile 9.5 watch for the trail. We got off and bushwhacked until we saw people up on the bluff to the left on the correct trail. Stay up high. Awesome trail run! Want to do it again!

9-12-19 Had a lot of fun. Wore my legs out for over 7 miles with a training pack. Chipmunks galore, lots of beautiful rushing water and pristine views. 2 manageable water crossings and 1 downed tree.

Great hike with beautiful view of reservoir lake. Some narrow trail sections but clearly visible. Lots of green growth through trails into some marsh behind lake. Would definitely recommend and will do this hike again.

2 months ago

We did the 1.3 mile trail going to Rough Creek Falls with our two dogs and it is beautiful! The falls were really nice. The first half mile of the trail is pretty rocky. We actually did this trail twice because we went back for our fishing rod and caught some fish in the creek. Trailhead would have been difficult to find without some help from the locals. Lots of mosquitos and bees in August.

Beautiful easy hike around the lake. Really enjoyed it.

3 months ago

We hiked the 1.3 mi and back (2.6 mi total) to Rough Creek Falls with our twin 4 year olds which was challenging at times but well worth the effort and doable. The Falls are gorgeous and highly recommended.

A fun, easy trail. Hiked this in the early morning and the mist over the reservoir was magical. Take note that this area has suffered heavily from beetle infestation, and many of the surrounding ridges are covered with mostly dead, standing trees as a result. The trail is fairly well maintained but brush and grass hang over the trail in places. My pants got soaked from all the morning dew on the grass/brush hanging over the trail.

Beautiful easy hike. Lots of wildflowers and sunshine

Great easy trail. Myriad of flowers, even in late July. However we were on this trail to intersect with Archuleta Trail in the Weminuche Wilderness. Trail 839 which goes up the South Fork of the Rio Grande. The Archuleta Trail is NOT listed in AllTrails. A serious oversight.

Beautiful and easy trail around a huge lake!

4 months ago

Make sure u bring mesquito repellent they are all over the place and bring good water shoes

4 months ago

Love love this trail! Everyone said we could not go up due to the snow, however the snow was mostly under trees and at a higher elevation, but it all possible on foot! it was wet tho due to heavy snowmelt, but as long as you have goretex boots ...its good!! Great trip!!

4 months ago

Not a difficult hike at all. There’s a lot of water this year so the meadow has a lot of marsh area and is pretty wet and muddy in spots. You should definitely wear clothes that can get wet and muddy. I had waterproof hiking boots and was fine. The scenery was beautiful.

5 months ago

Courtnay's review is pretty spot on. I'd almost mark this as a hard one based on the incline that is the majority of the hike in. It took me a little less than an hour to get to the lake, but not without breathing hard and only staying continuous because the mosquitos were vicious each time I stopped. Sometimes AllTrails can mix up distances, so I was ready for twice the distance listed, but round trip, it's 5.6 miles. I ended up tooling around some of the other trails back there, as Big Lake isn't as big as it may imply, even with the wet spring we've had. Trail was pretty muddy for about a mile midway up and rutted from motorcycles. But the columbines were abundant, along with a ton of lupine & other wildflowers I'm not savvy enough to know. Because of the dense aspen surrounding the trail, I'd imagine it's drop dead gorgeous in the fall. Especially with the open meadow around the lake at the end.

Water was very cold! Have to walk through a good bit of creek before the falls are tucked into a canyon. Lots of people, plenty of parking though. Beautiful view of the mountains.

6 months ago

It took me two summers to find this trailhead. I finally went around Antonito, asking for good hiking spots and this girl started to talk about this trail she used to hike as a kid, up to a waterfall. I knew this was the same trail I had tried to (and failed to) find last summer. It was gorgeous. Epic views. Super easy hike to the waterfall. I passed a local who told me that he'd hiked to the falls hundreds of times and had never seen it rushing like it is now with the snowmelt. My dog and I continued to hike up. I wanted to see the lake. The views of the valley below are stunning. I did see LOTS OF TICKS! Just beware. We hiked about three miles or maybe a little more up before we hit deep snow. I didn't have snowshoes with me, so we turned around and headed back down. I will definitely be doing this one again, and, BONUS, there are gorgeous camp sites all along the river on the way in to the trailhead.

Thu Jul 05 2018

Did this hike with a heavy pack. I am not going to lie this trail challenged all my strength to get to the top. Keep in mind that I also hiked out from another lake the same morning that I made this hike. If you are a fan of fishing and I am, a fly-fisher who loves it.This was some of the best alpine lake fishing I have done so far.

Fri May 25 2018

Did this hike this morning. IMHO, the highlight of the hike was the side trail to Rough Creek Falls. Very pretty. Ruybalid Lake itself is in a beautiful location. But the view is marred by the prevalence of so many Engelmann Spruce trees devastated by the spruce bark beetle. I still think it's worthwhile to climb up to the lake. Just don't be disappointed when you discover that the reality doesn't match the pictures you might have see of the picturesque lake. One trail-finding note. When you reach the meadow at the top of the climb, the trail towards Ruybalid Lake is not that evident. To find it. look out into the meadow, and head towards the two 6 foot posts about 10 yards apart from each other. The furthest post has the number 855 engraved at the top of the post, signifying the Forest Service designation of the Ruybalid Lake Trail. From these posts, the trail is a lot clearer. Enjoy your hike.

Sat Aug 05 2017

Recommend going with someone who has done the hike before. Just a few spots near the top where you can go in the wrong direction. This is a very challenging hike but still do-able. Kids included.

Sun Jul 23 2017

Wow! We made it! What an experience to see a lake named by one of our ancestors. The hike was really tough - after the 26+ switchbacks, there's still a ways to go. But the lake is worth it! It's even been stocked with fish!

Sun Jul 02 2017

This was a tough one. I didn't think I would make it. Pace yourself. The views are EPIC! Also, don't get your hopes up once you pass that 26th switchback, there's more up ahead. Prepare for mosquitoes from hell and even worse weather. We made the hike only to stand for 3 hrs in the hail! Good luck.

Sun Jun 04 2017

I hiked this 5/27/17. For an asthmatic Floridian who lacks cardio, it took me about 2 and a half hours to reach the lakes. As it was threatening to rain after I'd chilled for over an hour, I got back to the trailhead in just over an hour. The trail is practically entirely uphill going out. Towards the very start, there are two creeks to cross--the first one is fairly deep and got the insides of my half-ankle-high boots wet. You can likely avoid getting wet on the second one. It's a gorgeous hike with two small meadows. You're primarily in a mix of aspen and pine. There's many fallen trees around, but only one obstructed the trail. Towards the beginning of the trail, you can hear a waterfall to your right (if going out) and walk on a sort of obvious trail to see part of it and a beaver dam. When I was at the lakes, a pair of hunters in a jeep entered the area from the opposite side and shot some ducks. I don't think they saw me (I was at the tree line), but they left quickly. Certainly watch yourself out there, but I doubt they meant harm except to ducks. The trail is fairly rocky at times, and there's a few mud spots towards the end from snowmelt, but you should be fine if you watch your footing. It's gorgeous out there. Also, be weary as there is no cell service in this part of the forest. It doesn't matter to some, but someone was worried for me since I hadn't replied all day since letting them know I had left.

Fri Jun 02 2017

The hike ended up being 8 miles and that included going to the falls which is off to the side of the main trail. There are some fallen trees in the middle of the trail, a horse wouldn't be able to get around. If you're looking for your prince there's tons of frogs to choose from at the lake. Watch out for wood ticks along the way, I found 2 on my clothes on my way up. The GPS doesn't take you to the trail, if you look to the right just before turning on old bridge road there's a sign that points you in the right direction.

Sun Aug 21 2016

This is a fun trail with about 2500 ft of elevation gain at the front. It's beautiful and Ruybalid lake is well worth the hike. However, if you're looking to follow the trail past the lake and hook up with "No Name Lake" trail be prepared. The trail after the lake is non-existent. Even with a good map, compass, and GPS we weren't able to find the trail. We ended up bush wacking our way through marshes and thick forest to get to No Name Lake. bonus: less than a mile up there is a detour to some of the most amazing falls I've ever seen. Definitely take it.

Wed Jul 06 2016

I'm reviewing to provide some up-to-date information. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to hit the entire trail but I'll definitely be back for the whole thing. The trail is pretty easy to find. From Antonito take HWY 17 to Horca and turn right onto FDR 50, a dirt road. This will take you past Rainbow Trout Ranch. Take FDR 50 to Record Bridge Road. *Note if you turn left to take Old Bridge Road following GPS you will not be able to reach the other side of the Conejos so go up one street. Pass over the bridge and there's a little parking area with a sign for the trail, #855, the San Juan Wilderness, and a couple of lakes. The trail head is just slightly to the left of the parking area. 1.3 miles into the hike are The Falls. There is a sign that marks where you can follow the trail to the falls. We took this and ended up heading all the way back over the rocks to see the falls up-close and personal. They're beautiful. The hike up to this spot is not terribly challenging, just watch your footing on the rocks and take it slow. The trail has pretty good coverage with the trees at these early spots so you're not constantly in the sun. The trail had some people on it but it was certainly not crowded.

Wed Mar 23 2016

Great place to camp. It has an awesome view of the valley. It can get really windy, though.

Tue Aug 11 2015

I wrote a review for Big Lake---only to figure out 3 years later it was for the WRONG big lake. Sorry if I mislead anyone into taking this hike!

Sun Oct 06 2013

great NF campground. views of the dunes. Great hike to Zapata falls, a must do when in the area. Other hikes in the area. The national forest web site does not show the campground. It is there.

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