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    Archuleta Trail and Big Meadows Trail

    Difficulty
    This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
    Moderate
    Duration
    This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
    2.5-4h
    Distance
    This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
    10.5 km
    Elevation
    This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
    297 m
    User Ratings
    These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
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    Directions to Trailhead

    The Archuleta Trail and Big Meadows Trail is a fantastic hiking adventure in the San Juan Mountains that provides beautifully scenic views of a nearby reservoir and river. While out on the trail, you will make your way along the shores of Big Meadows Reservoir, before hiking alongside the South Fork of the Rio Grande for views over the rapids. Be sure to wear proper hiking boots and watch your footing while traversing the narrow trails on the edge of the rushing river.

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    Route Description for Archuleta Trail and Big Meadows Trail

    For those adventurers who want to experience the natural beauty of the Colorado landscape without the killer elevation that often goes along with it, the Archuleta Trail and Big Meadows Trail is a great route that will take you along the water’s edge to experience a different kind of scenery in the San Juan Mountains.

    Setting out from the trailhead, you will make your way to the southwest and skirt along the shores of Big Meadows Reservoir while taking in the beautiful views across the water. Eventually, you will leave behind the shores of the reservoir and continue on to the southwest, where you will arrive at the banks of the Rio Grande.

    Continuing on in the same direction, you will gradually climb uphill alongside the riverbank, exercising caution as the trail narrows at the edge of the rushing water. After walking along the forested river bank, the trail will bend to the north for a short distance alongside Archuleta Creek, before arriving at the endpoint of the route. From here, simply turn back and follow the same path past the reservoir to arrive at the trailhead where you began your adventure.

    Getting to the Archuleta Trail and Big Meadows Trail Trailhead

    The starting point for the Archuleta Trail and Big Meadows Trail can be found at the Big Meadows Reservoir Boating Site off Forest Service Road 430.

    Route Information

    • Backcountry Campground

      Big Meadows Campground

    • When to do

      May-October

    • Pets allowed

      Yes - On Leash

    • Family friendly

      Older Children only

    • Route Signage

      Average

    • Crowd Levels

      Moderate

    • Route Type

      Out and back

    Archuleta Trail and Big Meadows Trail Elevation Graph

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    Archuleta Trail and Big Meadows Trail Reviews

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