Big Tesuque

No short text This is a tent-only campground high in the Aspen-Fir zone of the Sangre de Christo Mountains. It is flanked on both sides by streams. Some of the campsites are a nice distance from the highway, and probably have few problems with road noise at night.

Campground data:

Controlling agency: Santa Fe National Forest; Española Ranger District
Official URL:Forest Service campground web site
Region: North-central; Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
CG elevation: 9698ft; 2956m
Campsite count: 8. Some side trails appeared to lead off to other campsites without picnic tables.

The forest service says 10 campsites.

Visual density: 3.00. Visual density from memory.
Fee: $0.00.
Season: All year. Snow might affect how easy it is to camp.
Dogs: Yes. on leash
Horses: Unknown.
Handicapped accessible: Unknown.
General tent notes: No tent pads, but many grassy areas.
RV parking surface: pavement
RV pull-through spaces? No.
General RV notes: This is not a good campground for RVs because all sites are walk-in.
Campground facilities: trash can(s), vault toilet(s), fire pit, tent-only (no RV) camping area.
Campground attractions: hiking, wilderness access, wildflowers, stream (Two streams run through the campground.), year-round access.

When we visited it:

Date: 2001-08-03
Cleanliness: 9.


Waypoint Type Description
BTSQCGCampgroundBig Tesuque campground


Paper maps:
Map name Cartographer Year Scale Topo map? Online access Notes
Guide to Indian Country of Arizona Colorado New Mexico Utah Automobile Club of Southern California 1998 1:0 N from Amazon (purchase) Good overview road map for northwest NM. No scale is given on the map. The corner coordinates are approximate.
Pecos Wilderness, Santa Fe and Carson National Forests US Forest Service 2004 1:54000 Y from Amazon (purchase)
Santa Fe BLM 1996 1:100000 Y from Amazon (purchase)
Santa Fe USGS 1954 1:250000 Y from (free)
Santa Fe National Forest US Forest Service 2004 1:126720 N from Amazon (purchase) East half
Wildernesses of New Mexico US Forest Service 1981 1:1000000 N No online copies. Base map with national forests, wilderness areas and highways.

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Getting to the campground:

About the campground:

A campsite
The campsites are up one of the two trails near the streams. This campsite is up the left trail, which is also the Big Tesuque Trail No. 152. Near the campsites are large fields of thimbleberry, but I would not count on finding enough to put on your morning pancakes.

Both sides of the campground have a stream nearby. This photo is looking down the right stream. A trail heads up this stream also, but it is not signed and I could not find it on the topo map. Sometime when I have more time I will hike it to see where it goes.

If you look closely on the far right about 2/3 of the way up this photo, you can see part of a tent at the campsite closest to the road (it is easier to identify in the bigger version of this picture). You can also see the road through the trees in the far upper right portion of the photo.

One of the two streams in the campground
butterfly on flower

While checking out the campground, we saw that the flowers were popular with the insect life, one example of which is here. This moth is a member of the genus Gnophaela, probably G. discreta, but it could also be G. vermiculata.

Thanks to Bruce Neville for the moth information.

Plants we saw around the campground:

Reader comments about this campground:

On Mon Jun 27 13:43:34 2005 Anita from Albuquerque said:
Just spent the weekend at Big Tesuque Campground and they now have trash bins, toilets, BBQ grills and fire pits. Its still free! 6/27/05

On Tue May 30 14:13:07 2006 Kyle from Alamogordo said:
Great campground. There are two sides the, one that is in the pictures are to the right. There are about 68 more too the left. The left side is very high traffic because of the trail but still nice. No drinkable water.

On Tue May 30 14:13:51 2006 kyle from Alamogordo said:
6 to 8 more

On Sat Nov 5 11:52:35 2011 Jake from Albuquerque said:
Great for a small wkend trip! There are two sections, one to the left and one to the right of the parking lot. Its easy to miss the section on the left if you come in at night. Also its more like 13 miles down the road, after Hyde State Park. Campground has clean pit-bathrooms and developed sites with fire-rings.

On Mon Jan 23 09:53:12 2017 Juice box from Laguna Pueblo and Roswell, NM said:
Going to go camping here with the wife this weekend.were both glad it's free.i hope to freeze my tushy off

On Thu Jan 26 09:40:32 2017 Steve from Little Rock, AR said:
October 2015

Aspens are very colorful, gorgeous here in October and if you love camping among the spruce and aspen, this is your place. Parking is available only along the highway and you'll have to haul everything uphill to a campsite. Lots of highway traffic during the day in October going to/from Santa Fe to the end of the highway at Ski Santa Fe. Very scenic with lots of trails in the area.

Add your comments about the Big Tesuque campground.

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