Wildfires Limit Camping Options in the West
Almost all of the Santa Fe National Forest in New Mexico and some nearby state parks are closed due to ongoing fire risks, but outdoor enthusiasts shouldn’t despair.
Plenty of camping areas and trails remain open in the Land of Enchantment, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.
City of Santa Fe trails remain open for visitors and residents to enjoy a challenging hiking, biking or running excursion close to the city. Atalaya, the Dale Ball and La Tierra trails are all open. They may be smoky from the Jaroso Fire in the morning and evening, depending on the weather. Trail volunteers have worked with the Santa Fe Fire Department on monitoring the trails. Officials ask that people stay on designated trails and keep their dogs leashed at all times.
Among state parks, Morphy Lake, Fenton Lake, Hyde Memorial and Manzano Mountains state parks are all closed until further notice. Campfires are prohibited at most of the other state parks currently, although campfires are allowed within 100 feet of cleared shoreline at Brantley Lake, Caballo Lake and Elephant Butte state parks.
State Parks Director Tommy Mutz announced that the Cove Area at Conchas Lake State Park will reopen for day use from 7 a.m. to p.m. beginning Saturday, June 29.
The good news for anglers in the state is that despite low river flows and low water levels at lakes, almost all the state’s waters remain open for fishing. Only a few reservoirs are closed to public access.
Meanwhile, the main trail in Frijoles Canyon at Bandelier National Monument is open, although the popular Alcove House is closed until Aug. 22 for ongoing stabilization work. Access to Frijoles Canyon currently is via a shuttle bus from the nearby community of White Rock. The shuttle is mandatory for visitors from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. Visitors may use their private cars to drive into the monument before 9 a.m. or after 3 p.m.
Visitors can still access trails into the monument from N.M. 4 as well. Backcountry camping, however, will be limited to the tops of the mesas in the monument.
Nearby, the 88,900-acre Valles Caldera National Preserve remains closed, except for the staging area, due to ongoing impacts from the Thompson Ridge Fire.
The Carson National Forest is open except for the Pecos Wilderness. Some fire restrictions are in place, such as allowing campfires only in designated, improved campgrounds.
All districts in the Santa Fe National Forest are closed to public access except for a portion of the Rio Chama Scenic River. Open are the lands 100 feet from both sides of the Rio Chama Scenic River starting at the Forest Boundary downstream to Christ of the Desert Monastery; between Forest Road 151 and the River downstream to Big Eddy; and from there on Forest Road 151 only to Santa Fe National Forest Boundary.