Lincoln National Forest


A view on Lincoln National Forest
A view on Lincoln National Forest
A view of limestone draperies on a wall inside Sitting Bull Cave
Inside Sitting Bull Cave

Lincoln National Forest is 1.1 million acres of some of the most varied and beautiful countryside on Earth. Located in south central New Mexico, Lincoln National Forest is home to the Sitting Bull Falls Recreation Area and the Sitting Bull Falls Cave (photo to the left). This is also the birth place (and burial place) of the world-famous Smokey Bear. Sunspot, with the solar and stellar observatories, is in the Forest in the Sacramento Mountains, east of Alamogordo.

Elevations range from 4,000' to 11,500' and pass through 5 different vegetation zones, spanning ecosystems from the cacti of the hot Chihuahuan desert to the sub-alpine spruces, firs and other conifers. In the upper elevations, summer temperatures can run into the low 80's during the day and be in the 40's at night. In the winter the lows can be sub-zero with highs up to 50°. In the lower elevations, temperatures will run 10° to 15° warmer than the high elevations. Snow starts to come down in late October and can stay into May. Because of spring winds, the fire season usually starts in March and runs into July when monsoon season starts. The rainy season usually runs through September and then dies down.

The Sacramento, Capitan and Guadalupe Mountains are all within the forest. The Forest includes a big chunk of the White Mountains, too. The Capitan Mountains Wilderness and White Mountain Wilderness are both within the Lincoln National Forest. The southern boundary of the Forest is against Carlsbad Caverns Wilderness in Carlsbad Caverns National Park. This southern part of the Forest has several caves, including one developed area around the Sitting Bull Falls Cave (Carlsbad Caverns Wilderness has many caves, all undeveloped). All the caves known so far on the Lincoln National Forest require either a permit for entry or a guide, or both. The southern portion of Lincoln National Forest is pretty rugged, dry and essentially undeveloped, perhaps one step from being outright wilderness...

There are 2 ski areas on the Forest: Snow Canyon outside of Cloudcroft and Ski Apache in the White Mountains near Ruidoso.

Lincoln National Forest
 
Photos of Lincoln National Forest courtesy of the US Forest Service
 
 

Campgrounds on Lincoln National Forest

Most campgrounds have a 14-day stay limit.

Smokey Bear Ranger District

Campground Name Season Elevation Amenities Directions
Southfork mid May - mid Sept 7,500' Handicapped accessibleToiletsPicnic TablesCampfires allowedTrash collectionHiking trailheadDrinking WaterTent campingTrailer camping Follow NM 48, 9 miles north from Ruidoso; turn west (left) and follow NM 37 for 1-1/2 miles, turn southwest (left) on Forest Road 107 (County Road C-009), continue for 5 miles. Pass Bonito Lake, turn left go straight for about 1 mile.
Three Rivers Year round 6,400' ToiletsPicnic TablesCampfires allowedTrash collectionHiking trailheadDrinking WaterTent campingTrailer camping 24 miles south of Carrizozo or 18 miles north of Tularosa on US 54, turn east onto Forest Road 579 at the sign that says Three Rivers Petroglyph Site and Campground, go 13 miles (the last 7 miles are dirt). The road is well marked to the campground. Trailhead #44 into White Mountain Wilderness located at upper end of campground.
Skyline May 1 - Nov 1 9,000' ToiletsPicnic TablesCampfires allowedHiking trailheadTent camping Follow NM 48 north out of Ruidoso 4 miles and turn west (left) on NM 532 for 1 mile. Turn north (right) onto Forest Road 117 and go 4 miles on gravel, the last 2 miles can be rough.
Monjeau May 1 - Nov 1 9,500' ToiletsPicnic TablesCampfires allowedTrash collectionHiking trailheadTent camping Take NM 48 north out of Ruidoso for 4 miles. Turn west (left) on NM 532 for 1 mile. Turn north (right) on Forest Road 117 for 5 miles. The last 3 miles may be rough.
Oak Grove May 1 - Sept 15 8,400' ToiletsPicnic TablesCampfires allowedTrash collectionTent campingTrailer camping Take NM 48 north out of Ruidoso for 4 miles, turn west (left) on NM 532 and go 5 miles.
Baca Year round 8,200' Picnic TablesTent campingTrailer camping About 10 miles east of the village of Capitan on US 380, turn left on Forest Road 57 and go about 7 miles. The Baca area is on the north (left) side of FR 57. This is a pinon-juniper area with room for tent and trailer camping.
 

Group Area Camping

Group Area Camping General Information Maximum Group Size
Sam Tobias Memorial Campground (formerly Cedar Creek) These units are available by reservation only. All reservations can be made by calling the toll-free number 877-444-6777. All units are wheelchair accessible and have pavilions, picnic tables, campfire pits, grills, water, vault toilets. 250 people per group.
 

Dispersed Camping

Dispersed Camping General Information Directions
Cedar Creek Stay limit is 3 days. No facilities available. Tent camping is allowed at the end of Cedar Creek, with limited room for pickup campers and small trailers. Follow FR 88 to its end, about 4 miles. This forested area is suitable for picnicking and walking.
Eagle Creek Stay limit is 30 days. No improvements. The camping is rough. Go 4 miles north of Ruidoso on NM 48, turn west (left) on NM 532 toward Sierra Blanca mountain. Go about 3 miles, then turn north (right) on to FR 127. This is a good area for hiking and seeing wildlife and wildflowers.
Argentina/Bonito Trailhead Stay limit is 15 days. Three corrals surrounded by ample pull-off areas for parking. Vault toilets available. There's a wooded area with meadows for camping. Wilderness trails are accessible from this location with good opportunities for loop hiking or horseback riding. No motorized vehicles (or bikes) allowed inside the Wilderness. Take NM48 north out of Ruidoso to FR 107 and go left to the end of the road. FR 107 ends about 5 miles past the turn-off to South Fork Campground.
Top of Capitan's (Capitan Mountain Wilderness) Stay limit is 30 days. 4-WHEEL DRIVE NEEDED. No motorized equipment or mechanized vehicles (or bikes) allowed inside the Wilderness (which is 100 feet to the North of FR 56). No improvements. This area is heavily timbered with Ponderosa pine, Douglas fir and aspen. This is a good area to see wildlife and wildflowers. Few people use this area, so there is usually an opportunity for solitude. Go 2 miles east of Capitan on US 380, turn left on FT 56. This rough road goes to the top of the Capitan's: you will need a HIGH CLEARANCE 4WD VEHICLE for this road. The wilderness boundary is 100' north of FR 56.
 

Sacramento Ranger District

Campground Name Elevation Amenities Directions
Silver Campground 9,000' ToiletsPicnic AreaCampfires allowedTrash collectionTrailheadDrinking WaterTent campingTrailer camping Located 2 miles NE of Cloudcroft on NM 244. There are paved roads to and through campground.
Apache Campground 8,900' ToiletsPicnic AreaCampfires allowedTrash collectionTrailheadDrinking WaterTent campingTrailer camping Located 2 miles NE of Cloudcroft on NM 244. All paved roads to and through campground.
Saddle Campground 9,000' ToiletsPicnic AreaCampfires allowedTrash collectionTrailheadDrinking WaterTent campingTrailer camping Located 2 miles NE of Cloudcroft on NM 244. All paved roads to and through campgrounds. 14 day stay limit
Silver Overflow 9,000' ToiletsPicnic AreaCampfires allowedTrash collectionTrailheadTent campingTrailer camping Silver Overflow is located 2 miles NE of Cloudcroft on NM 244. It is completely paved.
Pine 8,800' ToiletsPicnic AreaCampfires allowedTrash collectionTent campingTrailer camping Located 1 mile NE of Cloudcroft on NM 244. Interior roads are gravel.
Deerhead 8,700' ToiletsPicnic AreaCampfires allowedTrash collectionTent camping Located on NM 244 at the south edge of the village. Interior roads are gravel. Steep access, sharp turns and limited parking prohibit use of camping trailers.
Sleepy Grass 8,800' ToiletsPicnic AreaCampfires allowedTrash collectionTrailheadDrinking WaterTent campingTrailer camping Located off NM 130 about 1.4 miles south of the village. Bear left onto FR24B. Interior roads are gravel. Trail for the visually handicapped at south end of campground. Boy Scout camp next door.
Upper Karr 8,800' ToiletsCampfires allowedTrash collectionTent campingTrailer camping Located off NM 244 one mile NE of Cloudcroft.

Advance reservations may be made for the Sacramento Ranger District Group Area campsites. All reservations can be made by calling 877-444-6777. Other campsites on the Lincoln National Forest are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

 

Group Campgrounds

Group Area Camping General Information Directions Maximum Group Size
Aspen Group Elevation 8,700 ft. Toilets only. 5 sites on 5 acres. These units are available by reservation only. Located 1.4 miles south of Cloudcroft off NM 130. Turn left onto FR 24B.  
Black Bear Group Elevation 8,700 ft. 10 sites. Vault toilets, campfire pits, grills, picnic tables. These units are available by reservation only. Campground is located 1.4 miles south of Cloudcroft off NM 130. Turn left onto FR 24B.  
Lower Fir Group Elevation 8,680', 8 tables, 2 fire rings, toilet, drinking water hydrant, and garbage depositories are provided. These units are available by reservation only. Located off NM 244 one mile NE of Cloudcroft. Unpaved interior roads. 8 sites (200 - person capacity)
Slide Group Elevation 8,700', 10 tables, 2 fire rings, toilet, and garbage depositories. Trailer length limit is 16 feet. These units are available by reservation only. Campground is 2 miles south of Cloudcroft via NM 130 to FR 6563, turn west and go around the bend. Interior roads are gravel. 100-person capacity (parking limited to 12 trailers or 50 cars).
Upper Fir Group Elevation 8,000', 12 tables, 2 fire rings, toilet, drinking water hydrant, and garbage depositories are provided. RV's limited to 16' length. These units are available by reservation only. Located off NM 244 one mile NE of Cloudcroft. The campground has recently paved interior roads. 7 sites, 200-person capacity.
 

Dispersed Camping

Dispersed Camping General Information Directions
Bluff Springs Open year round. This popular camping area has a small waterfall, parking area and toilet. The springs are located 200 yards above the waterfall Bluff Springs is about 4 miles off NM 6563 (Sunspot Scenic Byway) on FR 164.
Bailey Canyon Open year round. This area has many undeveloped camp/picnic sites spread out along FR 206. This is an ORV Restricted Area. Access is steep and not suited to low clearance vehicles or those pulling trailers. Access is from NM 82 via Bailey Canyon.
Sacramento River Area Open year round. Sacramento Lake, a small, shallow, marshy body of water is not suited to most recreational activities. There are numerous undeveloped campsites and a small waterfall just above Apple Tree Canyon. RV's are limited to 16'. Sacramento River Area is along the Sacramento River (FR 537) from Thousandmile Canyon to Scott Able Canyon. A small stream is next to the all-weather road.
Hornbuckle Hill Open year round. Undeveloped campsites with spectacular views to the south and west. Hornbuckle Hill is on the ridge west of the Sacramento River on FR 90 (West Side Road). There's a spring about 1 mile west, below the road.
Water Canyon Open year round. Some good spots for camping and horse camping, close to several trailheads. FR 164 is paved to the mouth of the canyon.
Wills Canyon Road Open year round. The canyon sports several good spots for camping and horse camping. This is an ideal area for hiking and mountain biking on the many old railroad grades that wander through the area. There are numerous springs in the canyon as well as a small live stream. 4WD vehicles are not recommended above the junction with Hubbell Canyon (but trail bikes okay). Wills Canyon Road (FR169) angles WSW from FR 164, west of the junction with NM 130. The road is fair in dry weather but can be muddy and bad during the winter, early spring or when wet. The road ends at Trail 9277.
Karr Canyon Open year round. Undeveloped campsites in canyon about 2/3 mile both north and south of Karr Canyon Picnic Area. Road south of picnic area is rough. Heavily used, especially on summer weekends. Karr Canyon is on FR 63 between FS 82 and FR 6563
Benson Ridge Open year round. Many undeveloped campsites in the area. Area is especially popular for hunting and snowmobiling in season. Benson Ridge area is criss-crossed by a system of old logging roads.
Alamo Peak Road Open year round. Several undeveloped camp areas good for RV camping. Alamo Peak Road is a paved road off Scenic Byway 6563. The popular Rim Trail (T105) intersects this road.
West Side Road Open year round. Elevation about 7,000'. Numerous undeveloped campsites but very few water sources near the road. West Side Road is FR 90 from NM 82 at High Rolls to FR 537 at Hornbuckle Hill (30.1 miles). There are no other connecting roads on or off this road. The north half is an all-weather gravel road. The south half is very bad during the winter and when wet.
Grapevine Canyon Open year round. Elevation 5,000'. Very heavily used in hunting season. A very large open concrete storage tank supports a population of carp and maybe some bass on land owned by City of Alamogordo. Entrance road leading east from Highway 54 requires permission from officials at Ft. Bliss, Texas. This road may be closed at times as a result of missile testing on McGregor Range.
Dry Canyon Open year round. The steep road going to the hang-gliding platform on top of Horse Ridge starts in this canyon. Good, open, temperate canyon for camping and target shooting. Dry Canyon is located south of NM 82 between mile marker 5 and mile marker 6.
Mill Ridge Open year round. Mill Ridge is a favored hang-gliding point on the District. Projected landing zone is in the desert off the Forest. Access from truck escape ramp at mile marker 5 on NM 82. Access road is rutted, rocky, and steep, requiring a high clearance vehicle, preferably 4WD.
James Canyon Open year round. 6 sites with picnic tables, grills, and one group ramada among scattered pine trees. James Canyon Campground is on US 82, about 2 miles northwest of Mayhill.
Forest Creek Open year round. A nice, flat, grassy area with some trees and lots of wildlife in the area. On NM 130, go south from Mayhill for about 1.5 miles. Turn left onto Miller Flats Road, FR 212. Continue on FR 212 for about 2 miles. On the right is a sign for Bible Canyon.
Bear Canyon and Bear Canyon Dam Lake area is a dry lake bed. You'll see deer, turkey and smaller wildlife, birds, and a few wildflowers. This is a popular spot with duck hunters in the fall. Tent camping is available at Bear Canyon Dam. It is NOT possible to take a trailer up to the dam area. There are no turn arounds and no pull off areas. At the switchback in Bear Canyon, a trailer can be pulled off the road and parked among the trees. Go south on NM 130 from Mayhill to the junction with NM 24. Turn onto NM 24. Within a quarter mile after crossing the Rio Penasco, you will see the old Bear Canyon Store. Bear right on FR 621.
Top of Denny Hill Open year round. This is primarily a pull-off area. You may see all kinds of wildlife in this area while hiking around. From Mayhill go south on NM 130, turn onto NM 24 and ascend Denny Hill. As you cross the cattle guard at the top of Denny Hill, there is a pull-off area beneath some trees.
Hoosier Canyon Open year round. Some flat areas suitable for camping. The fall sees great leaf colors in the canyon. Follow NM 130 southwest from Mayhill along the Penasco River to the junction with NM 24. Turn onto NM 24 to NM 521 (there is a sign for Weed - Sacramento). Turn on NM 521 and go through Weed and Sacramento, to FR 64. Continue on FR 64 for 6 miles to Hoosier Canyon (FR 5959).
Bear Slide This very popular camping area with several flat places suitable for RV vehicles and tents, is open year round. Go west from Sacramento on FR 64 following the Agua Chiquita Canyon, about 11 miles to the junction of FR 64 and FR 255, then cross the Aqua Chiquita Creek. FR 255 leads you to the top of the ridge to junctions of FR 171 (Perk Canyon), and FR 5600 (Monument Canyon). FR 255 continues down Jim Lewis Canyon. All of these canyons have some very nice dispersed camping areas.
Barrel Spring / Sand Spring Open year round. Near the junction with FR 539, there is a flat area suitable for camping with trees, and you'll probably see some wildlife around. From Sacramento, go west on FR 64 following the Agua Chiquita Canyon for about 13 miles.
Prestridge Hill/Hay Canyon Open year round. Hay Canyon Spring is a favorite spot in this area. There are some flat areas nearby nestled among the trees for camping and watching the wildlife. RV's limited to 16'. From Mayhill go south on NM 130 past the NM 24 turnoff for about 4 miles. At the road sign for Wills Canyon, turn south onto FR 164, about 1/2 mile, turn south again onto FR 541. This road goes up over Prestridge Hill and intersects with FR 257 at Hay Canyon.
Burnt Canyon Open year round. In the curve there is enough room for 4 or 5 camp trailers. This is a wooded area and you'll probably see some wildlife. Go east on US 82 out of Mayhill for 2 miles; turn north onto FR 607 (the Carr Gap Road) for about 3 miles, then turn right.
 

Guadalupe Ranger District

General Information

Open Year Round. Primitive roads are not passable when wet. There are no developed Forest Service campgrounds on the District, but free camping is permitted anywhere except: private land, livestock and wildlife watering areas, administrative sites, and Sitting Bull Falls Recreation Area. On private land, permission must be obtained by the owner before camping. RV Camping must be in self-contained units on National Forest system land. The Queen Café and RV Park located on NM 137 in Queen, NM has a campground with water and electrical hook-ups. There is no gasoline available on the District or at the Queen Café and RV Park.

*Water is available at the Guadalupe Administrative Site Information Board.

Daytime temperatures tend to be HOT in the summer time. Temperatures vary the rest of the year, but are mostly pleasant. Nighttime temperatures drop below freezing in the winter.

The wind is the most active in March, but can create an additional chill factor all year round. July and August are typically the rainiest months.

Always be prepared for changing weather conditions!

Both Carlsbad and Artesia are approximately 50 miles from the eastern boundary of the District. Out here you'll want to have proper clothing and camping gear.

Bring plenty of water and food for you and fuel for your vehicle.

Hiking Trails

Trails on the Smokey Bear Ranger District

Trail Name Trail Number Length in miles Rating Allowed Uses Notes
South Base Trail T57 10.1 Difficult Hiking trailHorseback Riding South Base Trail starts on the north side of Forest Road FR 338 about 1.2 miles from the junction of FR 56. It crosses trails 59 and 60 and ends at trail 61.
Summit Trail 58 8.2 Difficult Hiking trailHorseback Riding Summit Trail 58 follows the main ridge of the Capitan Mountains from the junction of trails 62 and 64 to the electronic site at the end of FR 56.
Padilla Canyon Trail 59 3.3 Difficult Hiking trailHorseback Riding Padilla Canyon Trail (59) starts at Padilla Point and FR 56. It drops down the south side, but turns east at the base of the Capitan's and ends at trail 60 (Mitten Bar).
Mitten Bar Trail 60 3.2 Intermediate Hiking trailHorseback Riding Mitten Bar Trail (60) begins on the south side of the Capitan's on trail 57 and connects to FR 56 about 1 mile west of the electronic site, after passing through the wilderness for a short distance.
Pierce Canyon Trail 61 5.8 Difficult Hiking trailHorseback Riding Pierce Canyon Trail (61) starts off on the south side of the wilderness area along FR 57 and connects with trail 58.
Pancho Canyon Trail 62 3.5 Difficult Hiking trailHorseback Riding Pancho Canyon Trail (62) starts on the south side of the wilderness at the end of FR 536 and travels up the canyon to the junction of trails 58 and 64.
Capitan Peak Trail 64 5.7 Difficult Hiking trailHorseback Riding Capitan Peak Trail (64) is very steep and has many switchbacks. It starts near the Pine Lodge Summer Home at the northeast portion of the Capitan's.
Copeland Canyon Trail 63 1.0 Easy Hiking trailHorseback Riding North Base Trail (65) is very steep and has many switchbacks. It travels near the Pine Lodge Summer Home area at the northeast portion of the Capitan's.
North Base Trail 65 4.6 Easy Hiking trailHorseback RidingMountain bikesATV's North Base Trail (65) primarily follows the foothills through pinyon-juniper woodland, traveling between FR 130 near Pine Lodge to FR 616. It crosses Seven Cabins Canyon and continues on to the west for another mile.
Seven Cabins Trail 66 3.8 Difficult Hiking trailHorseback Riding Seven Cabins Trail (66) is also a steep trail located on the north side of the Capitan's. It starts at the end of FR 256 and meets trails 58 and 61 on the main ridge of the mountain's.
Copeland Canyon Trail 69 1 Easy Hiking trailHorseback Riding Copeland Canyon Trail (69) has an elevation change of 400 feet over it's 1 mile length.
South Fork Trail 19 5.7 Difficult Hiking trailHorseback Riding South Fork Trail (19) is a relatively steep climb to the crest with elevation changes of 2700 feet following the course of the South Fork Rio Bonito. It starts at the upper end of South Fork Campground. This 5.7 mile trail ends at the junction with Crest Trail 25.
Crest Trail 25 21.1 Difficult Hiking trailHorseback Riding Crest Trail (25) starts in the parking lot 1/2 mile below Monjeau Lookout. It changes in elevation 2250 feet and ends at FR 108. The trail gives visitors a special view of White Sands, the Malpais and the desert to the west.
Bluefront Canyon Trail 33 5.2 Difficult Hiking trailHorseback Riding Bluefront Canyon Trail (33) starts from South Fork Trail 19, rises 2850 feet in elevation and ends at Crest Trail 25. This trail is a steep climb leading to the crest.
Aspen Canyon Trail 35 2.4 Difficult Hiking trailHorseback Riding Aspen Canyon Trail (35) starts at trail 36, rises 1500 feet and ends at trail 25. This trail follows Aspen Canyon Spring offering outstanding views from the crest of Elk Point and White Horse Hill. The trail may be used as a loop with Bonito Creek Trail 36 for a one-day trip or as an access rail to the crest.
Bonito Creek Trail 36 4.6 Difficult Hiking trailHorseback Riding Bonito Creek Trail (36) starts at the end of FR 107 and ends at trail 25. Following Bonito Creek, the trail rises 1100 feet through heavy stands of Aspen and small meadows with good camping sites just off the trail. Looking from the crest you can see Elk Point, White Horse Hill and a panoramic view of Tularosa Basin. Bonito Seep is located north of the trail just below the crest. This seep is a prime example of the origin of the White Mountain Wilderness streams that make up the Bonito watershed.
Little Bonito Creek Trail 37 1.5 Difficult Hiking trailHorseback Riding Little Bonito Creek Trail (36) starts at the junction with Bonito Creek Trail 36 and rises 525 feet to ends at the junction with Crest Trail 25. The trail climbs gradually through wooded area and mountain meadows to the crest, following the Little Bonito Spring. In combination with the lower part of Bonito Creek Trail 36, this is the easiest route to the upper end of Doherty Ridge Trail 50.
Argentina Canyon Trail 39 2.5 Difficult Hiking trailHorseback Riding Argentina Canyon Trail (39) begins at the end of FR 107 and rises 1300 feet to end at the junction with Crest Trail 25. Following Argentina Canyon and a year round stream, the trail gradually climbs to the crest through stands of pine, fir and aspen. From the crest you'll get a spectacular view of Carrizozo and the Malpais, as well as good views of the White Mountain Wilderness.
Three Rivers Trail 44 5.6 Difficult Hiking trailHorseback Riding Three Rivers Trail (44) begins at Three Rivers Campground and rises 3650 feet to end at the junction with Crest Trail 25. The trail follows Three Rivers Creek almost all the way to the Crest Trail. This is one of the largest streams in the wilderness, with a population of brook trout ranging from 4"-7" in length.
Doherty Ridge Trail 50 4.2 Difficult Hiking trailHorseback Riding Doherty Ridge Trail (50) starts from Crest Trail 25, changes in elevation 2050 feet and ends at Spring Canyon Well. This trail has the most diverse terrain of all the wilderness trails.
 

Sacramento Ranger District Trails

Trail Name Trail Number Length in miles Rating Allowed Uses Notes
La Pasada Encantada Trail 233 0.4 Easy hiking La Pasada Encantada Trail (233) is a short trail near the west end of Sleepy Grass Campground, primarily for the visually handicapped. It has informative Braille signs along a bordered path which allows one to feel the different trees and shrubs while listening to the birds and squirrels.
Rim Trail 105 28 Difficult hikingHorseback RidingMountain bikesATVs Rim Trail (105) is a National Recreational Trail. The registered section is 13.5 miles long and starts near Slide Group Campground, running parallel to the Scenic By-Way 6563 to Atkinson Field. The remainder of the trail goes on to Sunspot and then south to Hornbuckle Hill on FR 90 (West Side Road). There are many scenic vistas of the Tularosa Basin below.
Cathey Vista Trail None 0.25 Easy hiking Cathey Vista Trail ends at a vista overlooking the Tularosa Basin. Cathey Vista is 2 miles north of Sacramento Peak Observatory on Scenic By-Way 6563. Elevation is 9500 feet.
Dog Canyon Trail 106 5.2 Difficult hiking Dog Canyon Trail (106) is another National Recreation Trail starting at the mouth of Dog Canyon in Oliver Lee Memorial State Park and finishing at FR 90B on Joplin Ridge. The trail has an elevation gain of 3,130', from 4,400' at the trailhead to 7,600' on Joplin Ridge. Trail conditions vary from good to poor for the first two miles. The last 2.5 miles are arduous, steep grades on a very rocky trail. Scenic and historical, the trail provides magnificent views of Dog Canyon and the Tularosa Basin plus the San Andres Mountains.
Nelson Vista Trail 232 0.25 Easy hiking Nelson Vista Trail starts 5 miles south of Cloudcroft, just off the Scenic By-Way 6563. Foot traffic ONLY.
Osha Trail 10 2.5 Difficult hikingHorseback RidingMountain bikes Osha Trail (10) is a loop which starts opposite the old railroad trestle on US 82. The trail offers an outstanding view of White Sands and the Tularosa Basin with interpretive flora signs the whole length.
Willie White Trail 113 5.5 Moderate hikingHorseback RidingMountain bikes Willie White Trail (113) starts the junction of Willie White Canyon and Rio Penasco. There is water in both Willie White and Water Canyons. This trail encircles Bluff Springs on the old railroad bed.
Alamo Peak Trail 109 3.5 Moderate hiking Alamo Peak Trail (109) trailhead is on south side of Alamo Peak Road FR 64D, just before it enters the Alamo Peak Military Compound fence. The trail has a steep 15-20% grade. The trail connects with Pipeline and Atkinson trails which in turn connect with Rim Trail at Atkinson Field, providing several loop possibilities. The trail ends at West Side Road (FR 90). This trail receives heavy trail bike use during the summer and fall, especially on weekends.
Pipeline Trail T110 1.7 Easy hiking Pipeline Trail Trailhead (110) is at Atkinson Field. Connecting to Alamo Peak Trail and the south end of Rim Trail, this trail is very steep. The lower 2/3 follows the City of Alamogordo's aqueduct. This trail receives heavy motorcycle use in season.
Atkinson Trail 111 1.6 Difficult hiking Atkinson Trail (111) is a trail connecting with Alamo Peak Trail and Rim Trail. The trail is very steep, mostly along a canyon bottom. The trailhead is at Atkinson Field.
Monument Canyon Trail 123 0.8 Moderate hikingHorseback Riding Monument Spring Trail (123) is a foot trail for hiking or horseback riding. Go south on Sunspot Road (FR 6563) 17 miles to Sacramento River Road (FR 537). Going south on FR 537, turn east onto Scott Able Road (FR 460). Continue north and east to junction with FR 64. Turn south on FR 64 to junction with FR 255, turn south across the Agua Chiquita Creek on FR 255 to top of ridge, continue south onto FR 5600, travel about 1.5 miles to the trailhead. There is room at the trailhead for 2-3 campers. The three-mile trail leads down a canyon bottom past a beautiful running spring.
Weed Lookout Trail T120 1.1 Easy hiking Weed Lookout Trail (120) begins behind the service station at Sacramento, NM and ends at Weed Fire Lookout Tower. This trail mostly follows the canyon bottom but eventually climbs out to the top of the ridge. The trail wanders thru the devastation and sterilization left by a 15,500-acre forest fire which raged through the area in 1974.
Lick Canyon Trail 5543 4.5 Intermediate hikingHorseback RidingMountain bikesATVs Lick Canyon Trail (5543) is an ATV trail located in Lick Canyon between FR 9632D and FR253A. From NM 24 between Weed and Pinyon turn west on FR 183 (Pinyon Draw), travel about 5.5 miles to junction with FR 253, then go about 7.5 miles to the junction with FR 9642D, turn south on FR 9642D, travel about 0.1 mile. Trail is located in the bottom of the canyon. There are several good dispersed camping areas on Pinyon Draw and Lick Ridge.
Wayland Canyon Trail 433 4.3 Difficult hikingHorseback RidingMountain bikesATVs Wayland Canyon Trail (433) is an ATV trail in Wayland Canyon. Go west from Sacramento on FR 64 for about 4 miles, turn left on Skyridge Church Camp road, travel about 0.6 mile. The trail is located on the left of a wide turnout area. Wayland Canyon is filled with ponderosa pine and Douglas fir stands. The aspen, maple and Gambel oaks show good color in the fall.
Bear Track Trail 966A 1.2 Easy hikingHorseback RidingMountain bikesATVs Bear Track Trail (966A) is an 1.2 mile ATV trail from Long Canyon up to Lick Ridge. From NM 24, between Weed and Pinyon, turn west on FR 183 (Pinyon Draw), travel about 5.75 miles to the junction with FR 557, go about 3 miles to a fork in the road and trail sign. The trail leads up out of Long Canyon and ends at FR 253 (Lick Ridge).
Long Canyon Trail 9652 2.2 Difficult hikingHorseback RidingMountain bikesATVs Long Canyon Trail (9652) is a 2.2 mile ATV trail in Long Canyon, following the canyon bottom before climbing out to Lick Ridge. From NM 24, between Weed and Pinyon, turn west on FR 183 (Pinyon Draw), travel about 5.5 miles to junction with FR 557, go about 3 miles to a fork in the road, take trail 9652 on the right. The trail terminates at FR 253.
Elk Canyon Trail 253D 2.9 Difficult hikingHorseback RidingMountain bikesATVs Elk Canyon Trail (253D) is an ATV trail located in Elk Canyon leading out of the canyon to Lick Ridge. From NM 24, between Weed and Pinyon, turn west on FR 183(Pinyon Draw), travel about 5.5 miles to junction with FR 253 (to Lick Ridge), go about 3 miles take FR 253X on the right. The trail is on the left about 0.05 miles from the junction. The trail ends on FR 253 (Lick Ridge). This area is great for hunting deer and turkey.
Middle Tank Trail 9611B 1 Difficult hikingHorseback RidingMountain bikesATVs Middle Tank Trail (9611B) is an ATV trail located on the Prestridge fuel break, leading down into Bear Canyon and ending at Camp Mary White (Girl Scout Camp). There is no access right of way through this private property, so plan on retracing your journey to Prestridge Ridge. The trail is a 1 mile round trip. Go west from Sacramento on FR 64 about 2 1/2 miles, turn right onto FR 257 (Hay Canyon), travel 3 miles, turn right onto FR 541 (Prestridge Hill), go to the top of the hill, turn right onto FR 551, go .75 miles. The trail is located on the left. This area is heavily timbered.
West Tank Trail 9611A 2 Difficult hikingHorseback RidingMountain bikesATVs West Tank Trail (9611A) is a 2 mile round-trip ATV trail located off the Prestridge Ridge fuel break, leading down into Bear Canyon, ending at Camp Mary White (Girl Scout Camp). There is no access right of way through this private property, so plan on retracing your journey to Prestridge Ridge. Go west from Sacramento on FR64 about 2 1/2 miles, turn right onto FR 257 (Hay Canyon), travel 3 miles, turn right onto FR 541 (Prestridge Hill), go to the top of the hill, turn right onto FR 551, go .25 miles. The trail is located on the left.
 

Guadalupe Ranger District Trails

Trail Name Trail Number Length in miles Rating Allowed Uses Notes
Last Chance Canyon Trail 226 5.6 Easy HikersHorseback RidingMountain bikes Leave a vehicle at Last Chance Trailhead (fee required) then drive west on NM137 to FR67/CR413 (23 miles). Turn north onto FR67/CR413 for 5.5 miles. Turn east on FR277/CR413 and then east on FR277C (7 miles) to the Pumphouse Trailhead. From this direction, it is a downhill, one way hike to the bottom of Last Chance and Sitting Bull Canyons. Elevation change is 1,040 feet. Plan a full day to explore this magnificent hideaway of nature. Another day of adventure is start this trail from the Last Chance Trailhead. From 226, take 217 and portions of 215 and 68 through Sitting Bull Falls Recreation Area for a 10 mile loop hike. Elevation change is 1,040 feet. All trails in the area are non-motorized.
White Oaks Trail 217 2.8 Easy HikersHorseback RidingMountain bikes Access this trail from 226 or 68. Beginning at the intersection of 217 and 226, go 2.8 miles on T217 generally uphill (880 foot elevation change) through White Oaks Canyon to 215. Hike 215 for one mile to a panoramic view of Indian Basin before heading to Sitting Bull Falls Recreation Area on 215, 214 and 68. All trails in the area are non-motorized.
Overlook Trail 215 2.9 Moderate HikersHorseback RidingMountain bikes From Sitting Bull Falls Recreation Area, take 68 to 215. The trail winds its way from the bottom of Sitting Bull Canyon up a side canyon to the top of the mesa via several switchbacks constructed by the CCC in the late 1930s. The 215 portion of the trail is an elevation change of 530 feet. From the highest point on the mesa, views stretch from a water tower in Artesia, NM across Indian Basin. After enjoying the views, hike 217 for 2.8 miles and 226 for three miles to loop back to Last Chance Trailhead and another 1/2 mile to Sitting Bull Falls Recreation Area. All trails in the area are non-motorized.
CCC Trail T214 1.5 Easy HikersHorseback RidingMountain bikes Both ends of 214 connect with 68 to form a loop. The southern section of 214 passes through dry, open semi-desert terrain; the northern portion threads along a mesa. The two sections are connected by an impressive series of nine switchbacks constructed many decades ago by the CCC. Elevation difference is 700 feet. All trails in the area are non-motorized.
Sitting Bull Falls Trail 68 2.2 Easy HikersHorseback RidingMountain bikes From Sitting Bull Falls Recreation Area (fee required) consider hiking a 4.7 mile loop trail by including 214. 214 is connected at both ends with 68 at 2.1 and 9 miles from the Recreation Area.
For a one-way, downhill hike; leave a car at the Last Chance Trailhead (fee required) then drive to the top of the District to access 68 from NM137. There is a sign at the beginning of the trail at NM137. Drive 0.6 miles past some corrals in your vehicle or start from NM137 for a 3.6 mile hike to Sitting Bull Falls Recreation Area.
Cool off in the wading pools on top of the falls before heading to your car about 1/2 mile further to the Last Chance Trailhead. All trails in the area are non-motorized.
Gilson Canyon Trail 212 2.8 Easy HikersHorseback RidingMountain bikesATVs allowed From NM 137 turn north onto FR 68E at the Guadalupe Administrative Site. Follow FR 68E for 1.2 miles to 212. This is a one way, two track trail to the bottom of Gilson Canyon.
Anderson Canyon Trail 68E 0.8 Moderate HikersHorseback RidingMountain bikesATVs allowed From NM 137 turn north onto FR 68E at the Guadalupe Administrative Site. Follow FR68E for 1.2 miles to 212, then go another 0.2 miles to 68E. Follow 68E to the District boundary. This is a one way, two-track trail that stays on the ridge top.