Miles of beautiful scenic trails across our forest allow the hardy backpacker to enjoy the rewards of the backcountry. Close-up views of towering mountain peaks and crystal clear lakes, along with peaceful solitude, reward those backpacking on the Carson National Forest.
15160 State Road 75 Mail to: P.O. Box 68
Penasco, NM 87553 Phone: (575) 587-2255 Hours: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m., Monday through Friday
The Camino Real Ranger District is the area closest to Taos and serves 32 unincorporated communities and 2 Native American Pueblos that depend on the district for wood and other forest products. The smaller communities such as Ojo Sarco, Truchas, Vadito, and Trampas rely heavily on timber to use for building materials or to burn in woodstoves.
The Camino Real Ranger District is managed for many multi-use purposes; hunting, fishing, hiking, biking, skiing, snowmobiling, camping and personal firewood cutting are among the activities. The District manages many acres of the Carson National Forest. The district has more than 252 miles of trail, offering diverse terrain and dramatic landscapes for the skilled hiker. Some of the best and easiest hiking trails are in this district. The Devisadero Loop trail is a 6-mile loop that is just outside of the town of Taos. This trail offers a moderate 1,100-foot elevation gain. There are great views of the town of Taos, Wheeler Peak, and Taos Pueblo lands. The trek takes hikers through various habitats along the trail from pinon and juniper on the south to pine and spruce on the north side of the loop.
The district is also home to one of the nation's premier mountain biking opportunities. The South Boundary Trail offers 22 miles of sweet downhill single and double track, cruising through deep and dark evergreen forest, aspen glades, and meadows. The terrain provides great views and some technical challenges at the end to give you a dose of adrenaline to finish the ride. The occasional break in greenery reveals gorgeous panoramas of Taos Canyon and Wheeler Peak Wilderness Area.
Sipapu Ski Area is one of New Mexico's oldest ski areas, opening in 1952. Located off of U.S. 518, the area is family friendly, offering a wide variety of terrain for both the experienced and inexperienced skier or snowboarder.
184 State Hwy 38 Mail to: P.O. Box 110
Questa, NM 87556 Phone: (575) 586-0520 Fax: (575) 586-2010 Hours: Intermittent, Monday through Friday, due to low staffing.
Call before visiting.
Products, including fuelwood permits, are not being sold at this time.
The Questa Ranger District is managed for many multi-use purposes; hunting, fishing, hiking, biking, skiing, snowmobiling, camping and personal firewood cutting are among the activities. It is nearly 271,555 acres and is located just south of the Colorado border in northern New Mexico. The district includes the communities of Taos Ski Valley, Questa, and Red River.
The district is perhaps best known for skiing opportunities and the Valle Vidal, a special management area considered by many as a crown jewel of northern New Mexico.
The Valle Vidal is a sprawling, 100,000-acre swath of lush meadows, dense forests, craggy peaks and clear streams. After July 1, it's open season on the indigenous Rio Grande Cutthroat trout in the Rio Costilla and the other creeks that run through the area. The first few weeks after the opening of the highly regarded unit attract a hefty amount of visitors looking to wet a line in the legendary Rio Costilla.
Three of the Carson's four ski areas are located on the Questa District. Taos Ski Valley is a premiere destination resort. The base is at 9,207 feet with the highest peak being Kachina Peak at 12,481 feet. Red River Ski Area is located about 35 miles northeast of Taos and offers 57 trails to ski on. The Enchanted Forest is a crosscountry ski area on the district, which offers stunning mountain vistas along meandering forest trails for both skiing and snowshoeing. During the summer, all ski areas offer a wide range of activities from mountain biking to disc golf and downhill slides.
Donated to the Carson National Forest in 1982, the Valle Vidal is well known for its wildlife, as well as its outstanding scenic and recreational opportunities. The Valle Vidal is a veritable Rocky Mountain paradise, with abundant populations of regional wildlife, including mule deer, black bear, mountain lion, bald eagles, and native Rio Grande cutthroat trout. In addition, the vast alpine meadows of the Valle Vidal provide critical habitat for one of the largest herds of elk in New Mexico. The Valle Vidal is a special place to New Mexicans and people from around the world, who come to marvel at its alpine majesty, enjoy outdoor recreation and sporting opportunities, and to view the Valle's prized elk herd.
Some of the area's most dramatic hikes are in this area, with scenes that are reminiscent of landscapes from the "Sound of Music."