Southeastern New Mexico Sights

Lincoln National Forest

  • Park (National/State/Provincial)

Published 06/22/2017

Fodor's Review

Covering 1.1 million acres of Eddy, Otero, Chaves, and Lincoln counties, the magnificent Lincoln National Forest encompasses two distinct regions: the arid lower elevations near Carlsbad, and the towering pines and mountain peaks of the Ruidoso area. The piñon and juniper of the southernmost region stretch through the Guadalupe Mountains to connect with the Carlsbad Caverns and Guadalupe Mountains national parks. The forestland has many caves, some of which can be accessed with a free permit available at the Guadalupe Ranger District.

These caves are not developed, so be prepared for primitive conditions. The only private development you can find other than scattered ranches is at Queen (49 mi southwest of Carlsbad, on NM 137). This site consists of a small mobile-home community, restaurant, store, gas station, and church camp. This forested area is hugely popular with hunters lured by ample populations of mule deer.

The northernmost portion of the Lincoln forest,

surrounding the resort community of Ruidoso, is a more traditional sanctuary, with snowy mountain peaks, lakes, and gurgling mountain streams. Developers have capitalized on this beauty, so the forest is interspersed with cabins, resorts, church camps, condos, and ski runs. Still, there are miles of pristine wilderness, many of which can be accessed by hiking trails.

More than 25 camping areas are scattered throughout Lincoln National Forest. Although fishing lakes and streams are available on private, municipal, or tribal lands, there's very little opportunity for the sport on these public forestlands. To obtain more information about hiking, camping, hunting, and other recreation, contact the forest service's main headquarters in Alamogordo. Call or visit the Guadalupe Ranger District for permit information.

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Sight Information




575-434–7200; 575-434–7200

Published 06/22/2017


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