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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 - 2

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Favorite Williams Lake 10/2016
Intermediate

Williams Lake Trail #62

4.0 mi 6.4 km 951' Up 289.88 m Up 951' Down 289.82 m Down

Taos Sk…, NM
Favorite The cows watching...watching...
Intermediate/Difficult

West Fork Rio Santa Barbara

20.4 mi 32.9 km 3,183' Up 970.23 m Up 3,183' Down 970.1 m Down

Ranchos…, NM

Carson National Forest Hiking

  • 217 Miles 350 Kilometers of Trail
  • 3 Recommended Routes
  • 2 Easy Trails Easy Trails
  • 23 Intermediate Trails Intermediate Trails
  • 13 Difficult Trails Difficult Trails
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Areas Within Carson National Forest

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Trails in Carson National Forest - 35

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2.2 mi 3.5 km #1Wheeler Peak Summit Trail #67
Difficult
Taos Ski Valley, NM
Difficult
Taos Ski Valley, NM 19 
4.8 mi 7.8 km #2Lost Lake Trail #91
Intermediate/Difficult
Red River, NM
Intermediate/Difficult
Red River, NM
22.2 mi 35.7 km #3South Boundary Trail
Difficult
Angel Fire, NM
Difficult
Angel Fire, NM
5.0 mi 8.1 km #4Jicarita Peak via Serpant Lake
Difficult
Mora, NM
Difficult
Mora, NM
5.9 mi 9.5 km #5Trampas Lakes Trail #31
Intermediate/Difficult
Chimayo, NM
Intermediate/Difficult
Chimayo, NM 13 
7.4 mi 11.9 km #6Wheeler Peak Trail #90
Difficult
Taos Ski Valley, NM
Difficult
Taos Ski Valley, NM
2.6 mi 4.3 km #7Gavilan Trail #60
Intermediate/Difficult
Taos Ski Valley, NM
Intermediate/Difficult
Taos Ski Valley, NM
3.8 mi 6.1 km #8Gold Hill Trail #64
Intermediate/Difficult
Taos Ski Valley, NM
Intermediate/Difficult
Taos Ski Valley, NM
5.0 mi 8.1 km #9Devisadero Loop Trail #108
Intermediate/Difficult
Taos, NM
Intermediate/Difficult
Taos, NM 14 
4.2 mi 6.8 km #10Manzanita Canyon Trail #58
Difficult
Taos Ski Valley, NM
Difficult
Taos Ski Valley, NM

Photos of Carson National Forest - 88

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Williams Lake 10/2016
Oct 25, 2016 near Taos Sk…, NM
Looking at Wheeler Peak (highest point in NM) and the Wheeler Wilderness. The trail you see here is the Goose Lake Trail.
Apr 26, 2019 near Taos Sk…, NM
On the way to the summit, looking at Taos Ski Valley and the Wheeler Peak Wilderness.
Apr 25, 2019 near Taos Sk…, NM
Enjoy a great view of the lakes from Sheepshead Peak. North Truchas Peak is at the right edge of the photo.
Jul 2, 2017 near Chimayo, NM
Williams Lake late October 2018.
Oct 21, 2018 near Taos Sk…, NM
These hikers are heading down the Wheeler Peak Summit Trail from the Wheeler Peak Trail junction.
Apr 30, 2019 near Taos Sk…, NM
Great views of Gold Hill and Long Canyon from the Wheeler Peak Trail.
Apr 30, 2019 near Taos Sk…, NM
Where the trail climbs out of the canyon, this is the view looking east toward Wheeler Peak and the ski resort.
Apr 30, 2019 near Taos Sk…, NM