Valle Vidal Unit


Area Status: Closed

The Valle Vidal has two campgrounds, McCrystal and Cimarron, and numerous parking areas for those heading into the backcountry. The McCrystal campground sits at 8,100 ft., it has 55 units for camping and can accommodate a trailer 32’ and under.

The Cimarron campground sits at 9,400 ft., it has 32 camping units and can also accommodate a trailer 32’ and under.

Recreational Information on the Valle Vidal Unit

Photo of Shuree Lake Photo of Shuree Lake

At a Glance

Current Conditions: Closed due to extreme fire danger
Water: No
Restroom: No

General Information

Directions:

Road access is via Costilla from the west and Cimarron from the east. Valle Vidal boasts spectacular scenery plus timber, minerals, and grazing land. It is being managed to enhance its most important feature-wildlife- which includes a trophy elk herd of up to 2,000 head, mule deer, Merriam’s turkey, black bear, mountain lion numerous varieties of birds and fish.

Motorized travel is restricted and, working together, the Forest Service and New Mexico Department of Game and Fish have implemented special hunting and fishing seasons and bag limits. In addition to regular hunting and fishing licenses, Habitat Improvement Stamps are required.


Activities

Mountain Biking

Campground Camping

The Valle Vidal has two campgrounds and numerous parking areas for those heading into the backcountry. The Campgrounds in the Valle Vidal Unit are the McCrystal and Cimarron campgrounds. The McCrystal campground sits at 8,100 ft., it has 55 sites for camping and can accommodate a trailer 32’ and under.

The Cimarron campground sits at 9,400 ft., it has 32 camping units and can also accommodate a trailer 32’ and under.

Dispersed Camping

Dispersed Camping is allowed in the Valle Vidal, you need to park in a designated parking area, and those are located throughout the unit. You then hike in half a mile to set up camp. We also ask to set your camp 200 feet away from any trail, stream or road.

Lake and Pond Fishing

In addition to trout streams throughout the unit there are several fishing ponds, including one set aside solely for children. Artificial fly or lure with single barbless hook only.

Catch and release only. All trout must be returned immediately to the water where taken. Except in the Shuree Ponds. See below:

Special trout water. Open to fishing July 1-December 31. Daylight hours from 30 minutes before sunrise until sunset. One pond is reserved for anglers under 12 years of age. Boats restricted to no motors only. You may keep the fish from these ponds.

Special trout water. If you are fishing outside of the Valle Vidal boundaries on the west side of the unit, please keep in mind that camping is allowed in designated areas only with permission from the Rio Costilla Cooperative Livestock Association.

Valle Vidal: Special trout water. Open to fishing July 1-December 31 during daylight hours from 30 minutes before sunrise until sunset.

River and Stream Fishing

Day Hiking

There are no designated hiking trails in the Valle Vidal. There are user made trails that you may use.

Horse Riding

XC Skiing/Snowshoeing

Snowmobiling

Forest Roads are not plowed. Snowmobile access is available from the southwest side via Mallette and Cabresto Canyons though the Midnight area to Chuck Wagon Canyon. The west side (except the La Cueva area) is available for winter sports use when the District Ranger announces it is open. The opening is timed to coincide with the movement of elk to the east side winter range. Which incidentally, is when the snow is deep enough for winter recreation use. Separate cross-country skiing/snowshoeing and snowmobiling areas are designated on the west side of the Valle Vidal Unit. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing permitted on the north side of Forest Road 1950. Snowmobiling is only permitted on the south side. The area east of the county line is closed to all off road activities.

The Valle Vidal Unit offers a wide range of outstanding winter fun. A trip to the Valle Vidal takes all day. If you are snowmobiling bring extra gas. The Valle Vidal is only open to snowmobiling if the elk have moved. In most years, the resident herd of 2,000 will migrate east to a lower and warmer climate once a few feet of snow are on the ground. Check with Questa Ranger District to see if the Ranger has opened the Valle Vidal to snowmobiling. To protect this wildlife treasure, only certain areas are open. Due to the distance and remoteness, we recommend the Valle Vidal trip to those with experience or those having the assistance of a guide.

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities

Highlights

Location

 
  Elevation : 
8100' - 9400'