Know before you go

Improved dirt road at the Cibola National Forest

  • Is it open? For the latest information on what is open, check our website, or call the Ranger District. Visit less popular areas and discover somewhere new. Many maps are available on our website to assist you.
  • Is there a fee? Some developed recreation sites, such as campgrounds and day-use areas, charge fees. Now you can purchase your day use pass for fee sites ahead of time! Find out more on our Recreation Passes Page.
  • How can I be a good steward? Some areas have reduced services; be prepared for no trash service or closed restrooms. Pack out your trash and if restroom facilities are unavailable, follow these best practices
  • What about Covid? Visitors are reminded to follow local public health guidelines regarding social distancing and to obey group size limits and other restrictions set under State law when visiting the Cibola.

Cibola National Forest & National Grasslands

Acreage: 1,625,542
Elevation: 2,700 feet -11,300 feet

The mountain ranges of the four forested districts of Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands include: the Datil, Gallinas, Magdalena, Bear, San Mateo, Zuni, Sandia and Manzano mountains, as well as the Manzano, Withington and Apache Kid wildernesses. These are all located in central New Mexico. The Cibola National Forest also includes 263,954 acres of national grasslands in northeastern New Mexico, western Oklahoma, and northwestern Texas.

CLIMATE: Climate within the Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands varies with elevation - from the desert up through juniper, pine, and spruce-fir forests. Summer nights are cool, and very cold above 8,000'. During July and August there are frequent afternoon showers.

Sandia Crest elevation is 10,678 feet and is accessible by car, aerial tramway and trail. Capilla Peak’s elevation is 9,375 feet and is accessible by car. Mount Taylor peaks at an elevation of 11,301 feet and has a road within a mile of the top. The Cibola National Forest also offers several other scenic drives on its districts.

ACTIVITIES: Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands offers good deer hunting as well as some elk, antelope, and turkey hunting.  Fishing opportunities are available at Bluewater and McGaffey Lakes in the Zuni Mountains, Skipout, Spring Creek, and Dead Warrior Lakes in Oklahoma, and Lake Marvin and Lake McClellan in Texas. Nearby attractions also include the Sandia Peak Ski Area in the Sandia Mountains, the Very Large Array by the Magdalena Ranger District, prehistoric ruins, ice caves, lava flows, and Indian pueblos.

SEASONS OF RECREATIONAL USE: Most of the Cibola is open all year, although the severe high country winter prompts the closing of select developed recreation areas. Extra care should be taken when visiting in winter.

Before you go, make sure there are no fire restrictions.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Recreation Conditions Report

Areas & Activities