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Carson National Forest

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179 mi 288 km of trail 3 Recommended Routes

Easy Trails 1 Trail Intermediate Trails 23 Trails Hard Trails 11 Trails

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

Trails in Carson National Forest - 32

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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 14 
5.9 mi 9.5 km #2Trampas Lakes Trail #31
Intermediate/Difficult
Chimayo, NM
Intermediate/Difficult
Chimayo, NM 12 
4.8 mi 7.8 km #3Lost Lake Trail #91
Intermediate/Difficult
Red River, NM
Intermediate/Difficult
Red River, NM
22.2 mi 35.7 km #4South Boundary Trail
Difficult
Angel Fire, NM
Difficult
Angel Fire, NM
7.4 mi 11.9 km #5Wheeler Peak Trail #90
Difficult
Taos Ski Valley, NM
Difficult
Taos Ski Valley, NM
5.8 mi 9.3 km #6Columbine Canyon Trail #71
Difficult
Questa, NM
Difficult
Questa, NM
2.6 mi 4.3 km #7Gavilan Trail #60
Intermediate/Difficult
Taos Ski Valley, NM
Intermediate/Difficult
Taos Ski Valley, NM
5.0 mi 8.1 km #8Devisadero Loop Trail #108
Intermediate/Difficult
Taos, NM
Intermediate/Difficult
Taos, NM 14 
3.8 mi 6.1 km #9Gold Hill Trail #64
Intermediate/Difficult
Taos Ski Valley, NM
Intermediate/Difficult
Taos Ski Valley, NM
4.2 mi 6.8 km #10Manzanita Canyon Trail #58
Difficult
Taos Ski Valley, NM
Difficult
Taos Ski Valley, NM
0.3 mi 0.5 km #11Williams Falls
Difficult
Taos Ski Valley, NM
Difficult
Taos Ski Valley, NM
3.4 mi 5.5 km #12Cordova Canyon Trail #17
Difficult
Ranchos de Taos, NM
Difficult
Ranchos de Taos, NM
2.5 mi 4.1 km #13Middle Fork Lake Trail
Intermediate
Taos Ski Valley, NM
Intermediate
Taos Ski Valley, NM
8.3 mi 13.4 km #14Cerro Vista Trail (#124)
Intermediate
Ranchos de Taos, NM
Intermediate
Ranchos de Taos, NM
8.2 mi 13.2 km #15West Fork Trail #25
Intermediate
Ranchos de Taos, NM
Intermediate
Ranchos de Taos, NM
1.4 mi 2.2 km #16Foster Park Trail
Difficult
Red River, NM
Difficult
Red River, NM
5.1 mi 8.1 km #17East Fork Trail #56
Intermediate
Red River, NM
Intermediate
Red River, NM
9.8 mi 15.8 km #18North Boundary Trail #495
Intermediate/Difficult
Taos, NM
Intermediate/Difficult
Taos, NM
6.2 mi 9.9 km #19Rancho de Rio Grande Trail #18
Intermediate
Ranchos de Taos, NM
Intermediate
Ranchos de Taos, NM
2.9 mi 4.7 km #20Long Canyon Trail #63
Intermediate/Difficult
Taos Ski Valley, NM
Intermediate/Difficult
Taos Ski Valley, NM

Photos of Carson National Forest - 67

Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Photos

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
Williams Lake 10/2016
Oct 25, 2016 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
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
Lunch at the old mining relics.
Apr 25, 2019 near Taos Sk…, NM