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Lincoln National Forest

Located in South Central New Mexico, the Lincoln National Forest is known as the birthplace of the world-famous Smokey Bear, the living symbol of the campaign to prevent forest fires. The original bear is buried in Capitan, New Mexico.

The Lincoln consists of three ranger districts: Sacramento, Smokey Bear, and Guadalupe. The Forest includes three major mountain ranges: Sacramento, Guadalupe and Capitan in southeastern New Mexico.

Elevations of 4,000 to 11,500 feet pass through five different life zones from Chihuahuan desert to subalpine forest. Vegetation ranges from rare cacti in the lower elevations to Englemann spruce in the higher.

The Lincoln hosts two Wilderness Areas, Capitan Mountain and White Mountain, both on the Smokey Bear Ranger District. The Capitan has many large rock outcrops. Capitan Peak, Chimney Rock and Sunset Peak are all located in this area. Elevation ranges from 6,500 feet on the east side to 10,083 feet at Capitan Peak.

The Sitting Bull Falls recreation site displays one of the most beautiful views of natural caves available.

Pristine waters are found within the White Mountain Wilderness which flows below majestic Sierra Blanca Peak (12,003 ft.). The spring fed streams of the Southern Sacramento Mountains present quality waters and fishing experiences for the serious angler.

There are scenic vistas in all three districts on the Lincoln, each providing breathtaking views of the local scenery.

The Lincoln provides dispersed camping as well as access to many developed camping areas. The trails on the Lincoln vary from easy afternoon walks to severe difficulty trails for the serious hiking enthusiast. Trails are available for hiking, mountain biking, off-roading, and horseback riding.

From cross country skiing to downhill developed ski areas and resorts, the Lincoln provides skiing access many months of the year.

Ski Apache, a downhill ski resort, has a base elevation of 9,700 feet. Located primarily on Forest land, Ski Apache is operated by the Mescalero Apache Tribe. At Ski Cloudcroft, another downhill area, the elevations range from 8,500 to 9,500 feet.

New Mexico Forests

First-timer’s Adventure

Visit Sitting Bull Falls Cave, which is located in tufa rock at Sitting Bull Falls Recreation Area. This small but beautiful cave features flowstone, draperies, stalactites, stalagmite, travertine dams and gorgeous pools of water.

The edge of the lake in Sitting Bull Falls Cave provides the visitor an opportunity to sit quietly and marvel at the natural beauty of this underground lake. Water dripping into the pool adds to the magic of this hidden grotto behind the waterfall.

Statistics

State(s):

New Mexico

Nearest Large Urban Area:

Albuquerque

Notes & Conditions:

Research campground locations and amenities at the U.S. National Forest Campground Directory. The Web site is full of pictures and detailed descriptions to help you plan your next trip.

If you want to experience a guided recreation trip in a National Forest, visit Adventure Vacation to learn about whitewater rafting, canoeing, kayaking, horseback riding, camping, hiking and fishing trips.

Maps:

Visit the National Forest Store to see what maps are available for this Forest and others you may want to visit.