Special Places

Special Places

Highlighted Areas to visit on the National Forests and Grasslands in the Southwest

Big Lake Dam Parking Fishing Site - Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, Arizona

Big Lake

This is one of the better known areas on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, a diamond in the White Mountains. There are five campgrounds at the Big Lake Recreation Area complex. These campgrounds can accommodate a large RV of up to 82’, to a throw down camp with just a sleeping bag. There are fishing, canoeing, hiking, and bird watching opportunities that will keep you busy, or just relax, read a book, take some pictures, enjoy the quite and beauty of the area. If you forget to bring something don’t worry, the Big Lake Store offers boat rentals, fishing licenses, bait and tackle, T-shirts, sweatshirts, ice, groceries and much more. ... Read more at the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests.

Latir Peak Wilderness - Carson National Forest, New Mexico

Photo of Latir Ridge Trail #85"

The Latir Peak Wilderness was designated by Congress in 1980 and spans a total of 20,000 acres north of Questa, New Mexico within the Questa Ranger District. This remote area contains deep forest cover interrupted by meadows and streams with alpine tundra and alpine lakes found at higher elevations.

Cabresto Lake is the most popular access point to this area. From the lake, the Lake Fork Trail follows Cabresto Creek north to Heart Lake Trail, Baldy Mountain, and Latir Mesa.  ... Read more on the Carson National Forest.

Mills Canyon Campground - Rita Blanca/Kiowa National Grasslands, New Mexico

Mills Canyon Campground

This beautiful, remote campground is situated within the Canadian River Canyon at an elevation of  5,160 feet. There are 12 camping units available. ... Read more on the Cibola National Forest.

Blue Ridge Reservoir - Coconino National Forest, Arizona

Blue Ridge Reservoir, view from above

This narrow, winding body of water looks more like a canyon-bound river than a lake. Nestled between forested canyon walls it provides picturesque water recreation in a secluded, wooded setting. ... Read more on the Coconino National Forest.

Wilderness Areas - Gila National Forest, New Mexico

Horseback riders in Gila National Forest

The Gila includes more wilderness than any other forest in the Southwest. This undeveloped natural country can refresh the human spirit simply by its grandeur, purity and remoteness. These wilderness areas comprise a vast, roadless realm on the Black, Mogollon, Diablo, and Blue Mountain ranges, varying from grassland foothills upward through juniper woodland, ponderosa pine, and then spruce-fir forests on the high peaks. Mountain meadows, aspen glades, and spruce forests border on narrow, rock-walled canyons which in some places plunge to depths of more than a thousand feet. ... Read more on the Gila National Forest.

Grandview Lookout Tower - Kaibab National Forest, Arizona

Grandview Lookout Tower

This steel lookout tower and two-room cabin were built in 1936 by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Lookout towers represent the U.S. Forest Service's long-standing commitment to fire detection and control.

In the first years after the Forest Service was established in 1905, fire guards patrolled the forest on horseback. The earliest form of lookout structure was simply a platform mounted on a tree. The fire guard would climb the tree, spot the fire and then report it. Eventually, permanent stations such as this one were established. ... Read more on the Kaibab National Forest.

Bluff Springs - Lincoln National Forest, New Mexico

meadow at 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 waterfalls as well as another trail (Willie White Spur T112) that follows and old railroad grade to the east. ... Read more on the Lincoln National Forest (area is unavailable).

Jemez Mountain Trail Scenic Byway - Santa Fe National Forest

Jemez Ruins

Jemez Mountain Trail takes you through time and past amazing geological formations, ancient Indian ruins, and an Indian pueblo. The area is rich in logging, mining, and ranching heritage.

Roughly 65 miles of this lengthy trail are located in the Santa Fe National Forest. Beginning north of Albuquerque in the village of San Ysidro at the junction of NM 44 and NM 4, this trail winds through the beautiful Jemez Mountains.

Along the route are the towns of Jemez Pueblo, Jemez Springs, and Cuba, among others. There are also great stop-offs at Soda Dam (a natural dam formed by thousands of years of minerals from a natural spring), Seven Springs and the ancient cliff dwellings at Bandelier National Monument. Take your time, and enjoy all the sights along the way. ... Read more on the Santa Fe National Forest.