In spinal cord injury (SCI), timely therapeutic intervention is critical to inhibit the post-injury rapidly progressing degeneration of spinal cord. Towards that objective, we determined the accessibility of intravenously administered biodegradable nanoparticles (NPs) as a drug delivery system to the lesion site in rat and pig contusion models of SCI. Poly (d,l-lactide co-glycolide, PLGA)-based NPs loaded with a near-infrared dye as a marker for NPs were used. To analyze and quantify localization of NPs to the lesion site, we mapped the entire spinal cord, segment-by-segment, for the signal count. Our objectives were to determine the NP dose effect and duration of retention of NPs at the lesion site, and the time window post-SCI within which NPs localize at the lesion site. We hypothesized that breakdown of the blood-spinal cord barrier following contusion injury could lead to more specific localization of NPs at the lesion site. The mapping data showed a dose-dependent increase and significantly greater localization of NPs at the lesion site than in the remaining uninjured segment of the spinal cord. Further, NPs were seen to be retained at the lesion site for more than a week. With delayed post-SCI administration, localization of NPs at the lesion site was reduced but still localize even at four weeks post-injury administration. Interestingly, in uninjured animals (sham control), greater accumulation of NPs was seen in the thoracic and lumbar enlargement regions of the spinal cord, which in animals with SCI changed to the lesion site, indicating drastic post-injury hemodynamic changes in the spinal cord. Similar to the rat results, pig contusion model of SCI showed greater NP localization at the lesion site. In conclusion, NPs could potentially be explored as a carrier for delivery of therapeutics to the lesion site to minimize the impact of post-SCI response.