CARSON NATIONAL FOREST
CARSON NATIONAL FOREST
208 Cruz Alta Road
Taos, New Mexico 87571
Some of the finest mountain scenery in the Southwest is found in the 1.5 million acres covered by the Carson National Forest. Elevations rise from 6,000 feet to 13,161 feet at Wheeler Peak, the highest in New Mexico. Big game animals roam the Carson. They include mule deer, elk, antelope, black bear, mountain lion, and bighorn sheep. There are also many species of smaller animals and songbirds. Almost every animal calling Northern New Mexico home can be found at Ghost Ranch Living Museum.
Leave No Trace! : Thousands of visitors to Carson National Forest have a tremendous impact on the land. It's up to all of us to minimize our impact, to travel softly, leaving no trace of our visit so that future generations can enjoy the woods and mountains we all love.
You Don't Have to Camp in a Campground. National Forests mean room to roam. You can camp anywhere in Carson National Forest. Some restrictions apply. Pleasecheck with the local Forest Service Office.
How Long Can I Camp in Carson National Forest? : Stay limit is 14 days.
Your Campsite, Look for a site that:
Is at least 200 feet from water. This will help protect water quality and minimize pollution.
Has a good place for a tent, where you will not have to destroy vegetation. Try using a hammock and a tarp instead of a tent.
Is out of sight of the trail, unless you are at a designated site.
Wear sneakers or light shoes around camp to avoid trampling vegetation.
The high ridges of the Carson National Forest tend to be steep and densely vegetated. Allow plenty of time to find a good campsite.
Your Campfire : Campfires can cause unnecessary signs of human presence and ugly scars on the landscape. Please use a portable stove instead.
If you must have a fire : Use only fallen, dead wood. Don't cut down snags, since animals rely on these for homes. Keep your fire small. Clear away duff and forest litter to prevent the fire from spreading. A fire ring isn't necessary! Never leave your fire unattended. Be sure it's dead out and leave no trace of your fire when you leave. Remember, a candle can be a focus point for a group instead of a campfire!
Can I Drink the Water? : The answer to this question is an emphatic yes - and no. No matter how clear or pure the water may look, it's a good idea to purify all unprotected water. Water-borne parasites, including Giardia Lambia, have been found in Carson National Forest water. Purification methods include chemical treatment, filtration, and boiling.
Garbage : Pack out everything you pack in. Burying, scattering or burning food scraps will only attract animals and leave a mess for other people.
Human Waste : Dig a hole 5 or 6 inches deep into the humus layer of soil, at least 200 feet from water. After use, cover the hole and microorganisms will do the rest.
Group Size : Keep your group size below 10 people. Larger groups have a much greater impact on the land and on other hiker's enjoyment.
Some of the best trout fishing in New Mexico can be found on the Carson National Forest amidst the imposing beauty of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Hundreds of miles of cold water streams and numerous lakes are home to rainbow, brown and native Rio Grande cutthroat trout. Many of these lakes and streams have campgrounds nearby. While the most popular spots are noted on the map, there are literally hundreds of opportunities on the forest.