Lincoln National Forest Recreation and Permit Options During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Alamogordo, NM – March 27, 2020 – To better protect the American public during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lincoln National Forest is making some modifications to our recreation operations and permitting procedures. 


We are now offering wood permit sales over the phone and by mail. Please call one of our offices to purchase your wood permit by phone with a credit card or for instructions on how to order a permit via U.S. mail. To contact the Lincoln National Forest Supervisor’s Office in Alamogordo, please call (575) 434-7200.


The Lincoln National Forest is open for recreation use such as hiking, biking, dispersed camping and other activities that support social distancing and small groups. Dispersed camping is camping in an area outside of a designated campground.

To encourage social distancing and prevent the spread of germs, many of our developed recreation sites will be closed. All of our restrooms and water fountains will be closed. 

To keep our forest safe and healthy we ask all visitors to follow these guidelines:

  • Please adhere to state guidance on group size and social distancing.
  • Pack out your garbage. Trash may not be collected regularly. 
  • Dispose of human waste properly by burying it 6-8 inches deep at least 50 feet away from streams, recreation sites and trails.
  • Bring extra food and water.
  • Proceed with caution: Law enforcement and search and rescue operations may be limited due to COVID-19 issues. High-risk activities that increase your chance of injury or distress should be avoided.

The following table shows changes to our developed recreation site status. This information is also available on our website: Site status may change as the situation evolves. For information on sites and areas on National Forest System lands in New Mexico that are currently open to recreation use, please visit

Smokey Bear Ranger District

  • Three Rivers Campground                            Closed
  • Cedar Creek Picnic Area                                Closed
  • Cedar Creek Pavilion                                       Closed
  • Sam Tobias Group Campground                Closed
  • Oak Grove Campground                                Closed
  • Baca Campground                                           Open, Restrooms locked
  • Schoolhouse Picnic Area                               Open, Restrooms locked
  • Skyline Campground                                       Open, Restrooms locked
  • Argentine Bonito Trailhead                          Open, Restrooms locked


Sacramento Ranger District

  • Sleepy Grass Picnic Area                               Open, Restrooms locked
  • Bluff Springs Dispersed Area                       Closed
  • Upper Karr Recreation Area                         Closed
  • James Canyon Campground                        Closed
  • Trestle Recreation Area                                 Closed
  • Deerhead Campground                                 Closed
  • Silver Campground                                          Closed
  • Silver Overflow Campground                      Closed
  • Apache Campground                                      Closed
  • Pines Campground                                          Closed
  • Saddle Campground                                       Closed
  • Sleepy Grass Campground                           Closed
  • Aspen Campground                                        Closed
  • Black Bear Group Campground                  Closed
  • Lower Fir Group Campground                    Closed
  • Upper Fir Group Campground                    Closed
  • Slide Group Campground                             Closed
  • Silver Amphitheatre                                       Closed
  • Lower Karr Campground                               Closed

Guadalupe Ranger District

  • Sitting Bull Falls Recreation Area               Open, Restrooms locked. No water.

Visitors to national forests are urged to take the precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For tips from the CDC on preventing illnesses like the coronavirus, go to:  


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