Big Sur

Wave Description:

Big Sur is a bit of a legend. It only flows during rare high flow events; 18,000 cfs will start to get things going, but it doesn’t really shine until it gets over 23,000 cfs, which is a rare event on this heavily-controlled area of the Colorado indeed. Big Sur is the product of the remnants of a former roller dam structure that forms a beautifully symmetrical wave. The problem is that the Cameo Dam gates usually stay shut until the river sees rare high water flows. When it’s in, get there.

Gauge Information:

Colorado near Cameo gives a good idea of what’s going on at the wave. Over 18,000 is worth taking a look, and over 20,000 is worth a sick day.

For photos of the waves at specific flows, check out the River Surf Report.

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USGS Water-data graph for site 06710247


From Grand Junction, take the exit just AFTER Exit 49 for an unmarked road. Park after the signs and walk the sidewalk downstream to the wave. Leaving is easier eastbound, but if you have to get back to Junction you’ll need to pull a U-Turn in the emergency vehicle turnaround or drive 30 miles or so out of your way.