Big Meadows, Green Mountain Trailhead, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Big Meadows - 3.6 miles
Green Mountain Trailhead
|Round-Trip Length:||3.6 miles|
|Start-End Elevation:||8,794' - 9,397' (9,442' max elevation)|
|Elevation Change:||+606' net elevation gain|
Big Meadows - 3.6 Miles Round-Trip
Big Meadows is located 1.8 miles from the Green Mountain Trailhead on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park. Five different water sources flow through or around the expanse, creating distinct hydrological, ecological and chemical zones within the meadow complex.
This rich ecosystem provides ideal habitat for moose, elk, and deer, and is one of the best year-round wildlife viewing locations in the Park. Mild grades and good trail conditions are well-suited for families, runners, equestrians, and winter recreation. The Green Mountain Trail continues on to the Continental Divide with access to Haynach Lakes:
The Green Mountain Trail heads east on moderate grades through a heavy fir-forest and lush understory. Peripheral meadows are ideal places to see moose and elk along the way.
Travel quickens on level grades to the edge of Big Meadows at the Lower Tonahutu Trail split and Big Meadows Backcountry Campsite (1.8 miles : 9,397').
The trail continues 1.2 miles around Big Meadows to its northeast edge with many good viewpoints and easy interior access (3.0 miles : 9,441').
- N40 18.440 W105 50.464 — 0.0 miles : Green Mountain Trailhead
- N40 18.572 W105 49.974 — .5 miles : Reach 1st of many large meadows on this trail
- N40 18.610 W105 49.457 — 1.0 miles : Mild travel through fir-lodgepole forest
- N40 18.588 W105 48.772 — 1.7 miles : Green Mountain Backcountry Campsite
- N40 18.656 W105 48.718 — 1.8 miles : West edge of Big Meadows, bend north
- N40 19.124 W105 48.762 — 2.35 miles : Split for Onahu Creek Trailhead - keep rt
- N40 19.417 W105 48.220 — 3.0 miles : Reach far east end of Big Meadows
Camping and Backpacking Information
- A permit is required for all backcountry camping in Rocky Mountain National Park. Permits may be obtained from the Beaver Meadows Visitors Center Backcountry Office, or the Kawuneeche Visitor Center at Grand Lake. Day-of-trip permits may be obtained in-person, year round.
- Reservations may be secured by mail or in person anytime after March 1 for a permit to be used in that calendar year. Phone reservations are accepted from March 1 - May 15, and anytime after October 1 for a permit in that calendar year.
- Backcountry Campsites for Big Meadows and Granite Falls:
Big Meadows Backcountry Group Site (9,405')
- The Big Meadows Backcountry Group Site is located 1.9 miles from the Green Mountain Trailhead on the west edge of Big Meadows. The site is located in a stand of mixed pine that looks out over the meadows. 1 site and a privy is available.
- Sunset Backcountry Campsite Site (9,505')
- The Sunset Backcountry Campsite is located 3.8 miles from the Green Mountain Trailhead. A wood footbridge leads south over the creek to the site, located near the bank in a stand of mixed pine. 1 site is available.
- Sunrise Backcountry Campsite (9,527')
- The Sunset Backcountry Campsite is located 4.05 miles from the Green Mountain Trailhead. The site is located north of the trail over a pine-ringed meadow with an oxbow stream. 1 site is available.
- Lower Granite Falls Backcountry Campsites (9,747')
- The Lower Granite Falls Backcountry Campsite is located 5.05 miles from the Green Mountain Trailhead. The sites are located in a forested area along Tonahutu Creek. The sites are .1 miles downstream from Granite Falls. 2 sites are available.
- Granite Falls Backcountry Campsites (9,921')
- The Granite Falls Backcountry Campsites are located 5.35 miles from the Green Mountain Trailhead. The sites are located north of the trail in a spruce-fir forest on the west edge of a wet sedge meadow. The sites are .2 miles upstream from Granite Falls. 2 sites are available.
Rules and Regulations
- There is a $20 entrance fee per vehicle to enter Rocky Mountain National Park.
- Dogs are not allowed on backcountry trails in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Directions to Trailhead
Big Meadows is accessible from the Green Mountain Trailhead on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park. The Green Mountain Trailhead is located 38.8 miles from the Beaver Meadows Entrance Station on the east side of Highway 34.
Follow signs for Trail Ridge Road from the Beaver Meadows Entrance Station. Remain on this road for 38.8 miles to the Green Mountain Trailhead. Note that Trail Ridge Road becomes Highway 34 once over the Continental Divide.
Rocky Mountain National Park