Camping in the Lincoln National Forest

The Lincoln National Forest in the Smokey Bear and Sacramento district includes over 70,000 acres of forest for outdoor recreation. There are a number of developed and dispersed campsites in these two areas.
 
Smokey Hear Ranger District (575) 257-4095
 
Argentina/Bonito Trailhead: Open year-round.
A site favored for horseback riding.
  • Facilities: Tent/RV campsites with vault toilets. No drinking water.
  • Features: Creek. Hiking trails. Horse corrals.
Directions: Highway 48 to Highway 37 to Bonito Lake turnoff. Watch for signs.
 
Cedar Creek Recreation Area: Seasonal: Open spring through fall.
Camping areas for group camping and a day-use picnic area. Reservations required at www.reservation.gov or call 1-877-444-6777.
  • Facilities: Three group camping areas and 23 picnic sites for tent/RV with picnic tables, grills, drinking water, vault toilets.
  • Features: Hiking trails. Fitness trail. Pavilion
Directions: Immediately adjacent to the north of the Smokey Bear Ranger Station is Cedar Creek Rd (Forest road 88). Turn left on this road, follow Forest Road 88 for less than 1 mile and you will see the signs and gates for the picnic area on your right.
 
Monjeau Lookout Camping Area: Seasonal: Open spring through fall.
A site with panoramic views of the National Forest. Often windy.
  • Facilities: 4 campsites with grills. Toilets. No drinking water.
  • Features: Historic Monjeau lookout tower built by CCC. Spectacular views from tower.
Directions: Highway 48 to ski area road. Turn right onto Monjeau Road. Continue to top. Road is steep and rocky, and may be closed due to inclement weather. Check with Ranger Station.
 
Oak Grove Camping Area: Seasonal: Open spring through fall.
Developed camping off of Highway 532
  • Facilities: 30 campsites with picnic tables and grills. Vault toilets. No drinking water. 
  • Features: Windy Point Vista and Ski Apache nearby.
Directions: Highway 48 to ski area road. Watch for signs
 
Sam Tobias Memorial Group Campground: Seasonal: Open spring through fall.
  • Tent camping, trailer camping, picnic tables, drinking water and parking.
Directions: Immediately adjacent to the north of the Smokey Bear Ranger Station is Cedar Creek Rd (Forest road 88). Turn left on this road, follow Forest Road 88 for less than 1 mile and you will see the signs and gates for the campgrounds on your right. This campground is the 2nd set of facilities you will see on your right.
 
  • Day use, picnic tables, toilets, drinking water and parking.
Directions: Follow NM 48, 9 miles north from Ruidoso; turn west (left) and follow NM 37 for 1-1/2 miles, turn southwest (left) on Forest Road 107 (County Road C-009), continue for 5 miles. The Picnic area is just before Bonito Lake.
 
Skyline Camping Area: Seasonal: Open spring through fall.
Dispersed camping near Monjeau Lookout
  • Facilities: 17 campsites with picnic tables and grills. Vault toilets. No drinking water.
  • Features: Historic Monjeau lookout tower nearby.
Directions: Highway 48 to ski area road. Turn right onto Monjeau Road. Watch for signs
 
South Fork Campground: Seasonal: Open spring through fall. However, this campsite is closed until further notice with significant fire damage.
  • Facilities: 60 tent/RV campsites with picnic tables, fire rings, drinking water, flush toilets.
  • Features: Two handicapped sites. Hiking trails.
Directions: Highway 48 to Highway 37 to Bonito Lake turnoff. Continue 5 miles to campsite.
 
Three Rivers Campground: Open year-round and available for use
Lower elevation (6000') campground. Good winter camping.
  • Facilities: 14 tent/RV campsites with picnic tables, fire rings, vault toilets.
  • Features: Flowing creek. Hiking trails. Beautiful views of Sierra Blanca.
Directions: Highway 70 to Alamogordo, Highway 54 north 17 miles to Three Rivers turnoff, then 15 miles.
 
Philadelphia Canyon: Open, however, this trail has severe fire damage from the Little Bear Fire it is not recommended at this time
  • Facilities: Tent campsites. No toilets. No drinking water.
  • Features: Bonito Creek. Hiking (Mills Canyon trailhead.)
Directions: Highway 48 to Highway 37 to Bonito Lake turnoff. Watch for signs 3/4 mile from turnoff on right.
 
Pennsylvania Canyon: Open year-round.
A beautiful site that is not often visited.
  • Facilities: No toilets. No drinking water. 
  • Features: Creek.

Directions: Highway 48 to Highway 37 almost to Nogal. Turn left on forest road 400. Proceed 5 miles, then right on FR-5628.

 
Bonito Lake will be closed another 3 to 5 years. 
The lake has been closed since the Little Bear Fire rendered it usless.  
Remember, only you can prevent forest fires and, around here, we expect you not to forget it.