This USDA-Forest Service Ranger Station of the Cibola National Forest, located in Grants, NM, is the central information point of contact for the Mount Taylor Ranger District. It's the logical one-stop shop for maps, permits, and up-to-date details on road conditions, weather, fire danger, hiking and biking trails, and permits - for firewood, resource harvest, Christmas trees, etc.
The 520,000-acre Mount Taylor Ranger District includes 11,301-foot Mount Taylor to the northeast - an ancient stratovolcano formed Between 3 to 1.5 million years ago. The slopes and mesas of Mt Taylor are heavily timbered, from pinon-juniper at 8000 feet to ponderosa, aspen, and spruce at higher elevations.
This ranger district also includes the 9,200-ft Zuni Mountains range to the west of Grants, and southeast of Gallup - a 50-mile corridor of forest roads, bike and winter trails, campgrounds, and dispersed camping and picnicking sites. The Zunis feature several widely-spaced flowing streams; most prominent are Bluewater Creek and Cebolla Creek, both feeding into small lakes in the foothills.
Hiking, mountain biking, equestrian use and winter sports. Motorized access on a network of designated Forest Roads. Hunting permitted in designated areas, with license, in season.
The Zunis and Mt Taylor are rich in history and some sites have cultural significance for several Native tribes in the region. The Zuni Mountains also feature a logging history 60-mile auto tour that begins in Grants.
Mount Taylor itself is the site of a challeging Winter Quadrathlon each February. The 43-mile extreme-sports event begins in Grants and reaches the 11,301-foot summit of Mt Taylor. The quadrathletes compete by biking, running, skiiig, and snowshoeing to the peak, and then must reverse the sequence back to the finish line in town.
In 2012, a new Mount Taylor Endurance Race was kicked off - the "Mount Taylor 50K." First year entries were nearly 200 runners for the September event. For 2013, entries are capped at 175 total. The event has its own website.
The Forest is open year-round unless fire danger, weather or mud require areas to be closed. Winter sports are popular, and a number of these areas have all-weather road access.
Normal forest-wide access - no fees; for campgrounds and special permits - contact the ranger station for info.
ADA Accessibility Notes
The ranger station in Grants is ADA accessible. For specifics on sites, contact the ranger station for info.
Pet Friendly Notes
Much of the forest lands are considered open range; grazing is permitted and cattle may be encountered. Small pets should be leashed, as coyotes and raptors are common. Be aware that large mammals - deer, elk, black bear, cougar - may be encountered.
On hiking trails, pets should be leashed for their own safety, and out of courtesy for other users.