The Smokey Bear Ranger District offers many different recreation opportunities for all seasons.
Dispersed or "road-side" camping:
You may drive to park your RV no more than 300' from an open road designated for such use. Please check with one of our offices to obtain a free Motor Vehicle Use Map which details exactly what roads you are allowed to disperse camp along. Most roads, outside of US and State Highways are available for this use. Please be mindful that there are many private land inholdings within the Forest and these lands are not available for camping.
We offer trails ranging in use from hiking, pack/saddle, mountain biking, motorcycle riding and ATV riding (less than 50" in width). Most side-by-sides are greater than 50" in width and exceed a weight limit, these can be enjoyed on our dirt roads. Most of the trails within this district reside within the White Mountain and Capitan Wilderness Areas, so for a motorized Off Highway Vehicle experience, there are a handful of trails but nearly all of our dirt roads are available for use.
There is little to no water available in many places so please bring what you need and be safe.
Mountain bikes are allowed on open roads and trails designated for such use. Our trials are multi-use routes which means that you will be sharing the path with pedestrians and sometimes with motorcycles and/or ATV's so remember to be cautious and courteous of others.
We offer campground camping across the district to varying levels of development. Many are located in and around the Village of Ruidoso with a handful a bit further out. No electricity is available at any Lincoln National Forest Campground.
The Smokey Bear Ranger District offers 1 reservation only group camping site (Sam Tobias Memorial Campground). This campground is designed from larger groups and as such the cost is proportional to the number of users. Please check with the Ranger Station or on this web site for specifics on group camping.
Dispersed or "road-side" camping is allowed throughout the Lincoln National Forest. You may drive to park your RV no more than 300' from an open road designated for such use. Please check with one of our offices to obtain a free Motor Vehicle Use Map which details exactly what roads you are allowed to disperse camp along. Most roads, outside of US and State Highways are available for this use. Please be mindful that there are many private land inholdings within the Forest.
Pack animals such as horses and mules are allowed on most of the trails within the Lincoln. Please be mindful that they may be sharing the trail with pedestrians and motorized vehicles so plan accordingly.
No motorized access is allowed for purposes of game retrieval are allowed on the Lincoln.
A number of vistas (or viewing areas) offer stunning views of the lands in the area. Chief among this is Windy Point Vista located near Ski Apache along road (NM521). Note, this road is not for the faint of heart, in summer or in winter.
The Smokey Bear offers a small selection of trails for use with Off Highway Vehicles (OHV's) including motorcycles and ATV's <50" wide. For alternatives other than trail riding, all OHV's are allowed on any open dirt road within the Forest.