|The birthplace of Smokey the Bear, discovered at Capitan Mountains Wilderness as a cub in 1951, is a rugged piece of land straddling an east-west-running mountain range. Numerous canyons cut into the north side of the rocky range, while rocky outcroppings distinguish the region to the south. The south face of the range is less rocky and also has many large rock outcrops. This area contains Capitan Peak, Chimney Rock and Sunset Peak.The Wilderness measures 12 miles long and two to six miles wide, with elevations varying from about 5,500 feet near the eastern boundary to 10,083 feet on Capitan Peak (sometimes called El Capitan Mountain). At the lower elevations, piñon and juniper woodland flourishes, with ponderosa pine making an appearance mid-slope, followed by mixed conifers (Douglas fir, Engelmann spruce, corkbark fir, and pine) on the main ridge.The weather varies with elevation. The lower stretches can be hot during the summer months and the higher shaded areas are comfortable. During the winter the upper areas may be inaccessible due to snow. Springtime brings moderate temperatures as well as dry conditions and high winds.The Capitans are well known for their fall hunting activity. Deer populations are high in this range and hunters travel from all over the Southwest to hunt this area. Bear and turkey hunting are also popular.Fishing in the Capitan Mountains Wilderness is confined to a couple of very small streams on the north side. Pine Lodge, Copeland Canyon, Kelly Canyon, and Seven Cabins Canyon contain small populations of brook trout usually less than 6" in length.Day hiking is very popular from Pine Lodge (Trail 64) to Chimney Rock (2 miles). There is also opportunity for some unique nature study in the Capitan Mountains Wilderness.|
|Facilities: Facilities are available at Capitan Mountains Wilderness.|
Best Time To Visit: Capitan Mountains Wilderness is open year round but the wilderness may experience some winter closures.
Rules: Unless otherwise specified, no motorized equipment or mechanical transport is allowed. This is true for all federal lands managed as designated wilderness.
Directions: Capitan Mountains Wilderness is Located in the Lincoln National Forest in New Mexico.
Map: Click here for a map to Capitan Mountains Wilderness
Reservations: No reservations are required to enter Capitan Mountains Wilderness.
|Lincoln National Forest-Smokey Bear Ranger District|
|901 Mechem Drive|
|Ruidoso, New Mexico 88345|
|General: (505) 257-4095|