CARSON NATIONAL FOREST
Carson National Forest is comprised of several large tracts in northern New Mexico, including lands along the Colorado border. Parts of the San Juan and Sangre de Cristo ranges are within the forest, and elevations vary from 6,000 feet to over 13,000 feet. Highest point in the state, 13,161-foot Wheeler Peak, is located here.
Terrain includes high rocky peaks and ridges, deep canyons and open mesas, with a number of rivers and lakes, and scores of streams. Vegetation ranges from bristlecone pine and alpine flora at highest elevations, through spruce and fir forests, to sagebrush and pinyon-juniper below. Among the wildlife are elk, black bear, mule deer, bighorn sheep, and mountain lion.
There are five designated wilderness areas: the 20,000-acre Wheeler Peak Wilderness, the 20,000-acre Latir Peak Wilderness, the 18,000-acre Cruces Basin Wilderness, and small portions of the Pecos and Chama River Canyon Wilderness areas, most of which are in Santa Fe National Forest.
Activities: Backpacking and hiking are available on about 330 miles of trails. Difficulty ranges from easy to strenuous. Many trails are open to horseback riding.
Mountain bikes are allowed on most trails except in designated wilderness areas. Cross-country skiing is possible on trails here during the snow season.
Rafting and canoeing are available on a couple of the rivers in springtime. Fishing is also feasible at lakes and alongside rivers and streams. Hunting is permitted in season.
Cam ping Regulations: Camping is allowed in most parts of the National Forest without restriction, except near public use areas or where otherwise prohibited. No permits are necessary.
Campsites should be away from meadows and at least 300 feet from water sources. Campfires are permitted but discouraged. Bringing a stove is recommended if one wishes to cook.
For Further Information: Carson National Forest, 208 Cruz Alta Road, P.O. Box 558, Taos, NM 87571; (505)758-6200.