Located in southern New Mexico, the picturesque Lincoln National Forest is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, and horseback riding is one of the most popular activities here. With its sprawling terrain, diverse landscapes, and well-maintained trails, this forest offers some of the best horseback riding experiences in the region. Whether you're a seasoned rider or a beginner, here are the top horse trails in Lincoln National Forest that you don't want to miss.
1. Smokey Bear Ranger District Trails:
The Smokey Bear Ranger District is a favorite among horse riders due to its wide range of trails catering to various skill levels. One of the most popular trails here is the Argentine Pass Trail. This moderately challenging trail takes riders through lush meadows and dense forests, offering stunning vistas of the surrounding mountains. For a longer adventure, the Nogal Canyon Trail offers a scenic 12-mile loop through diverse landscapes, including pine forests and open meadows.
2. Sacramento Ranger District Trails:
The Sacramento Ranger District is another gem within Lincoln National Forest, boasting exceptional horseback riding opportunities. The Perk Ridge Trail is a particular highlight, offering a moderately challenging ride through ponderosa pine forests and meadows filled with wildflowers. Stunning views of the White Sands can be enjoyed along the way, making it a truly memorable experience. Another notable trail in this district is the La Pasada Encantada Trail, which winds through juniper and oak forests and provides breathtaking views of the Tularosa Basin.
3. Guadalupe Ranger District Trails:
The Guadalupe Ranger District of Lincoln National Forest is renowned for its rugged beauty and challenging trails. Riders seeking an adventure should check out the Agua Chiquita Trail. This trail follows a steep path through aspen groves and spruce forests, eventually leading to a breathtaking panoramic view of the surrounding mountains. The Rim Trail is another popular choice, offering a thrilling ride along the edge of deep canyons with picturesque views of the desert below.
4. Smokey Bear Ranger District Trails:
For those seeking a more leisurely ride, the Smokey Bear Ranger District has some excellent options. The Grindstone Lake Trail is an easy, scenic trail that loops around the lake, offering a peaceful and relaxing ride. This trail is perfect for riders of all skill levels, including families with younger riders. Another fantastic option is the Carrizo Lookout Trail, which takes riders through beautiful pine forests and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains. This trail is especially known for its abundant wildlife sightings.
Before you hit the trails, it is essential to remember a few things. Always make sure you and your horse are properly equipped with suitable gear and attire. It is also recommended to check with the forest authorities for any trail closures or restrictions due to weather conditions or other factors. Additionally, bring plenty of water for both you and your horse to stay hydrated during the ride.
Exploring the top horse trails in Lincoln National Forest is an unforgettable experience for riders of all skill levels. From breathtaking mountain views and meandering through lush forests to spotting wildlife and enjoying the serenity of nature, these trails have it all. So saddle up, hit the trails, and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of this enchanting forest.