Benson Ridge Trails
United States Forest Service
Department of Lincoln National Forest
Agriculture Sacramento Ranger District
Located between Benson Ridge and the Rio Penasco this system of trails offers many motorized and non-motorized recreation experiences. Tall timber, springs and running water make this a very attractive area to begin your hikes.
The overall area can easily be reached by travelling south of Cloudcroft via NM130 1.8 miles, then turning right onto NM6563 (Sunspot Hwy). Approximately 6 miles further turn left onto Benson Ridge Road (FR223). You can access the lower portions and trailheads by traveling 2 miles further along NM6563 and turning onto the Rio Penasco Rd. (CR17)
The area is open all year but access via FR223 may be difficult in snowy conditions. Many of the trails are mo-torized allowing for both motorcycles and ATV’s (vehicles <50” in width). Non-motorized use such as horses, bikes, and hikers are also permitted.
Restrooms are available at Bluff Springs along the Rio Penasco. No other developed features are available in the area. Be sure to PACK OUT WHAT YOU PACK IN to leave your public lands better than found them
This trail system is generally rated excellent by all users for scenery and interest. Heavily forested in many parts and lovely open meadows, running springs and abandoned log cabin ruins can be found along the way.
Many of the trails are abandoned railroad grades from the 1930’s and as such make for relatively easy hikes. Please keep in mind that your average eleva-tion is above 9,000’ so this can make for a greater hiking challenge.
Please call or visit the Sacramento Ranger District in Cloudcroft at (575) 682-2551 for more information or visit us on-line at www.fs.usda.gov/lincoln.