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Seasonal Changes On The Carson National Forest

The Carson National Forest will be going through a series of changes that take place annually each year on Jan. 1.

Seasonal Road Closures

Carson National Forest roads close Jan. 1 through April 30, per the Forest’s Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs). Some of these seasonally closed roads will be gated and others may not; it is everyone’s responsibility to “know before you go” by checking the appropriate MVUM. If weather conditions are favorable, roads may open early. If weather conditions are not favorable, roads may stay closed until they are safe, and travel will not cause damage to the road.

Seasonal closures are implemented primarily for public safety. Hazardous road conditions including snow and ice can make traveling difficult. Motorists should be aware of road conditions on loop roads as they may be impassable due to snowpack in the high country. Often, people in vehicles become stranded, resulting in emergency response. Learn more about being prepared for winter, as well as other activities on the Forest by visiting Know Before You Go. https://www.fs.usda.gov/visit/know-before-you-go

Fuelwood Permits

Fuelwood permits purchased in 2022 expired at the end of the year. Sales for 2023 permits will resume Jan. 3.

Valle Vidal

The east side of the Valle Vidal, a wildlife wintering area, will close Jan. 1 until April 1. During this closure, visitors may drive through the entire unit using Forest Road 1950 but cannot venture from the road. The closure includes recreation sites, such as Shuree Ponds and the two campgrounds: McCrystal and Cimarron. Although Forest Road 1950 will remain open, snow often closes it, limiting access during much of winter. This road is not maintained for winter travel and can often become treacherous. If you must travel on Forest Road 1950, call the Questa Ranger District at (575) 586-0520 for a conditions report.
Canjilon and Trout Lakes
In the Canjilon Lakes area, Forest Road 129 is not open past the gate as it is notorious for snow drifts. Please plan accordingly or avoid this area during winter months. In addition, Forest Road 125, which accesses Trout Lakes, is also closed.

Helpful Tips

  • Check and use the Carson National Forest Motor Vehicle Use Maps that show roads, motorized trails and lands that are designated for motor vehicle use and seasonal information. Mobile phone users should download them on the Avenza App.
  • Check weather and road conditions; contact the local ranger district for more information on seasonal road closures. https://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/gila/maps-pubs/?width=full&cid=FSEPRD585896
  • Be aware of changing conditions, including trees and debris across roadways especially in areas where recent storms have occurred.
  • Let someone know where you are going, when you will be returning and what route you plan to take.