Special Places

Capitan Mountains Wilderness Area

Capitan Wilderness Area - by Herb Brunnell


Located North-East of Capitan, NM off of US-380.  A rugged and rural environment, this wilderness offers many hiking and pack & saddle trails.  To access the area you will need a 4 wheel drive, high clearance vehicle for most areas as the roads are in a primitive condition.

Trails of the Capitan Wilderness Area

South Base Trail - T57

Pancho Canyon - T62

Summit Trail - T58

Copeland Canyon - T63

Padilla Trail - T59

Capitan Peak Trail - T64

Mitt and Bar Trail - T60

North Base Trail - T65

Pierce Canyon Trail - T61

Seven Cabins Trail - T66

Pierce Canyon Alternate - T61A

Thorium Canyon Trail - T79


White Mountain Wilderness Area 

White Mountain Wilderness Area

Located just NW of the Village of Ruidoso, this wilderness area rises from 5,000' to over 11,000'.  Many trails, most at higher elevations, offer spectactular views.

Map of the trails of this wilderness area.

Popular and accessible trailheads (accessible via passenger car) include the Three Rivers, Nogal Canyon, Crest and  Mill's trailheads.  Other areas may require 4 wheel drive, high clearance vehicles.

Trails of the White Mountain Wilderness Area


Telephone Canyon Trail - T12

Argentina Canyon Trail - T39

Scenic Trail - T15

Turkey Canyon Trail - T40

Miner's Road Trail - T16

Skull Springs Trail - T41

Peacock Trail - T18

Clear Water Trail - T42

South Fork Trail - T19

Oak Ridge Trail - T43

Rodamaker Canyon Trail - T20

Three Rivers Trail - T44

Mill's Canyon Trail - T22

Dry Canyon Trail - T46

Sander's Ridge Trail - T23

Goat Canyon Trail - T47

Dry Mill's Trail - T24

Nogal Canyon Trail - T48

Crest Trail - T25

Barber Ridge Trail - T49

Nogal Peak Trail - T26

Doherty Ridge Trail - T50

Spring Canyon Trail - T27

Pennsylvania Canyon Trail - T51

Phantom Trail - T29

Gaylord Canyon Trail - T52

Bluefront Trail - T33

Water Canyon Trail - T53

Norman Canyon Trail - T34

Tortolita Canyon Trail - T54

Aspen Trail - T35

Church Mountain Trail - T55

Big Bonito Trail - T36

North Eagle Creek Trail - T77

Little Bonito Trail - T37

Lookout Mountain Trail - T78

Cut Across Trail - T38


Highlighted Areas

Dog Canyon Trail (T106)

Trail #106: The National Recreation Dog Canyon Trail is 5.5 miles long. It begins at Oliver Lee State Park and ends at Forest Road 90B. This beautiful trail traverses up from the desert to elevations over 2000' above its starting point and is a trail for the experienced hiker. The trail is open for the following uses: Hiking, Horseback Riding


La Pasada Encantada Trail (T233)

Trail #233: The La Pasada Encantada Trail is 0.4-mile long interpretive trail for both the sighted and visually impaired.  It is an easy hike located just south of Cloudcroft and offers regular interpretive signs as well as signs in Braille.  The path of the trail is bordered by railroad ties allowing for easy use for those using assistive canes. It begins at Forest Road 24B at a trailhead immediately adjacent to the Sleepy Grass Campground and loops back to the starting point. When the trail is open, it is open for the following uses: Hiking.

Three Rivers Campground

This rustic style campground has 12 sites set at the base of southern New Mexico's tallest mountain. A portion of the site is designed for Group Camping.  Three Rivers is a great place to go to get away from the crowds and is located at a much lower elevation than our other campgrounds (around 5000').  From here you can access the Three Rivers trailhead (T44) into the White Mountain Wilderness is located. 

Access to the site and the roads throughout the site are all well-maintained dirt roads.  Don't miss the Three Rivers Petroglyph Site on the way in or out.

Bluff Springs

Partially developed picnic and dispersed camping area nestled next to the waterfalls called Bluff Springs.  A short trail exists just beyond the bridge that will take you up and over the waterfall, as well as an established trail (Willie White Spur T112) that follows and old railroad grade to the east.

Rim Trail (T105)

Trail #105: The National Recreation Rim Trail is 31.2 miles long. It begins at the southern end of the Village Of Cloudcroft along NM130 and ends 31.2 miles later at the Sacramento River Road south of Sunspot. The first 0.73 miles (to Slide Campground) is non-motorized with the rest of the trail south of Slide being motorized for motorcycles. There are multiple trailheads along the route so smaller day-hikes are easily planned. The trail is open for the following uses: Hiking, Horseback Riding, Mountain Biking, Motorcycle Trail Riding.

Trestle Recreation Area

Located at the west end of the Village of Cloudcroft, the Trestle Recreation Area offers a day-use picnicking site with access to popular area trails. Water, restroom facilities, interpretive information, access to trails, picnic sites. This is a day-use facility only.