Lincoln National Forest

Lincoln National Forest

Lincoln National Forest

The Village of Ruidoso is home to the Smokey Bear District of Lincoln National Forest and ranges in elevation from 5,400 to 11,580 feet. There are two wilderness areaswith year-round outdoor recreation including hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, camping, hunting, skiing, and snowboarding.

Fall color, Lincoln National Forest, Ruidoso, NM. Photo by Rankin Harvey.

Fall color, Lincoln National Forest, Ruidoso, NM. Photo by Rankin Harvey.

Vegetation ranges from semi-desert plants, pinyon pine and juniper to spruce, fir and high-elevation grasses and forbs. Weather is directly tied to elevation. In the summer, expect sweltering temperatures down in the desert and the necessity of a sweater or jacket in the high country. Springtime is usually dry and windy while July and August are the rainy months, with frequent afternoon showers or thunderstorms. A combination of high elevation and abundant moisture result in a beautiful array of color from flowering plants during the summer months. Perhaps the most beautiful time of year is in the fall, when oaks, maples and aspens wrap the mountain slopes in breathtaking colors. 

The towns of Lincoln, where one of the famous shoot-outs of Billy the Kid took place, and Capitan, the burial site of the original Smokey Bear, are conveniently located near the District. 

The Smokey Bear Ranger District office is located at 901 Mechem Drive in Ruidoso. Their hours are 8:00am to 4:00pm Monday thru Friday with seasonal Saturday hours May 20, 2017 - September 2, 2017 8:00am - 1:00pm ; 2:00pm-4:00pm.

Call 575-257-4095 for current information on trails, campgrounds, picnic areas and fire restrictions.