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Carson National Forest

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Overview

The Carson National Forest is one of five National Forests in New Mexico. The National Forests are America's Great outdoors, here to serve the American people at work and play!

Some of the finest mountain scenery in the Southwest is found in the 1.5 million acres covered by the Carson National Forest. Elevations rise from 6,000 feet to 13,161 feet at Wheeler Peak, the highest in New Mexico. Our objective is to maintain that natural beauty.

The Carson National Forest offers unlimited recreational opportunities in any season. The magnificent mountain scenery and cool summer temperatures lure vacationers to enjoy the peace and quiet, for fishing, hunting, camping, and hiking. Winter activities include skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling.

Some recreation areas have undergone new and exciting renovations to make the National Forest lands accessible to all. Plans are being implemented to make additional recreation areas accessible.

Camping & Lodging

There are many established campgrounds available; with drinking water, toilets and without drinking water.

For those who want to get away, the Carson provides opportunities for back-country car and backpack camping. With few exceptions, visitors can roam the woods at will, wrapped in a cloak of peace and quiet. For more information, ask for a camping guide to the Carson.

Other Activities

Some of the finest alpine downhill skiing in the US is found at Taos Ski Valley, Red River and Sipapu Ski Areas. All are located within the forest. In addition, Angel Fire, Rio Costilla Ski Areas and Enchanted Forest-Cross Country Ski Area are located on nearby private lands.

Recommended Routes in Carson National Forest - 19

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Favorite Fall on the South Boundary Trail
Difficult

South Boundary Trail #164 - IMBA EPIC

21.4 mi 34.4 km 1,608' Up 490.05 m Up 4,384' Down 1336.37 m Down

Angel Fire, NM
Favorite Lost Lake
Intermediate/Difficult

East Fork to Lost Lake

13.9 mi 22.3 km 2,327' Up 709.21 m Up 2,319' Down 706.85 m Down

Taos Sk…, NM
Favorite Fall on the South Boundary Trail
Difficult

South Boundary BigRide Course - 2016

38.3 mi 61.7 km 3,892' Up 1186.14 m Up 5,439' Down 1657.78 m Down

Angel Fire, NM
Favorite Hittin' booters and poppin' wheelies coming down the SBT outside of Angel Fire, NM!
Intermediate

SBT: Heaven on Earth

12.4 mi 20.0 km 1,575' Up 479.98 m Up 1,575' Down 479.99 m Down

Taos, NM
Favorite Fall on the South Boundary Trail
Intermediate/Difficult

South Boundary BigRide Course - 2017

41.0 mi 66.0 km 4,280' Up 1304.48 m Up 5,827' Down 1775.96 m Down

Angel Fire, NM
Favorite Devisadero Loop Trail.
Difficult

Taos Vortex

15.2 mi 24.4 km 1,927' Up 587.47 m Up 1,928' Down 587.67 m Down

Taos, NM
Favorite Overlooking Taos!!
Difficult

Ojitos to El Nogal Loop ("Ojelno Loop")

11.3 mi 18.2 km 2,173' Up 662.43 m Up 2,173' Down 662.19 m Down

Taos, NM
Favorite Typical terrain you'll find along the Talpa Traverse.
Intermediate

Talpa Traverse (from El Nogal)

9.9 mi 15.9 km 1,066' Up 324.95 m Up 1,063' Down 324.03 m Down

Taos, NM
Favorite Heart of the Valle Vidal.
Intermediate

Valle Vidal Loop

47.7 mi 76.7 km 2,691' Up 820.26 m Up 2,693' Down 820.78 m Down

Red River, NM

Carson National Forest Biking

  • 749 Miles 1,205 Kilometers of Trail
  • 19 Recommended Routes
  • 21 Easy Trails Easy Trails
  • 78 Intermediate Trails Intermediate Trails
  • 25 Difficult Trails Difficult Trails
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Areas Within Carson National Forest

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Trails in Carson National Forest - 104

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4.8 mi 7.8 km #1Lost Lake Trail #91
Intermediate/Difficult
Red River, NM
Intermediate/Difficult
Red River, NM
3.9 mi 6.3 km #2Green Chile
Easy/Intermediate
Taos Ski Valley, NM
Easy/Intermediate
Taos Ski Valley, NM
0.1 mi 0.2 km #3Jumpin' Jack Flash
Intermediate
Taos Ski Valley, NM
Intermediate
Taos Ski Valley, NM
5.1 mi 8.1 km #4East Fork Trail #56
Intermediate
Red River, NM
Intermediate
Red River, NM
2.3 mi 3.7 km #5Middle Fork Trail/Forest Road 487
Intermediate
Taos Ski Valley, NM
Intermediate
Taos Ski Valley, NM
2.1 mi 3.4 km #6The Berminator
Difficult
Taos Ski Valley, NM
Difficult
Taos Ski Valley, NM
3.3 mi 5.3 km #7Frazer Mountain Road
Difficult
Red River, NM
Difficult
Red River, NM
3.1 mi 5.1 km #8Talpa Traverse Trail
Intermediate/Difficult
Taos, NM
Intermediate/Difficult
Taos, NM
4.4 mi 7.1 km #9Rito de la Olla (Bernardin Lake)
Easy/Intermediate
Ranchos de Taos, NM
Easy/Intermediate
Ranchos de Taos, NM
2.1 mi 3.3 km #10Flow Trail
Intermediate/Difficult
Red River, NM
Intermediate/Difficult
Red River, NM

Photos of Carson National Forest - 177

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Fall on the South Boundary Trail
Nov 9, 2018 near Ranchos…, NM
Hittin' booters and poppin' wheelies coming down the SBT outside of Angel Fire, NM!
Jul 23, 2016 near Angel Fire, NM
Steep slope traverse
Aug 2, 2015 near Red River, NM
Lost Lake
Aug 2, 2015 near Red River, NM
Rebecca riding middle fork trail/forest road #487 to lost lake. Red River, New Mexico 8/10/16
Aug 14, 2016 near Red River, NM
Descending one of the rock outcrops along the Lost Lake Trail
Aug 2, 2015 near Red River, NM
Ripping singletrack at the top of the South Boundary Trail!
Jul 23, 2016 near Angel Fire, NM
Looking toward the mountains south of Wheeler Peak.
Jul 18, 2016 near Red River, NM