Cruces Basin - Forest Road 572

Carson National Forest, New Mexico

Elevation Gain1,255ft
Trailhead Elevation10,073ft
Elevation Min/Max9252/10171ft
Elevation Start/End10073/10073ft

Cruces Basin - Forest Road 572

Forest Road 572 is a hiking, biking, and horse trail in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico. It is within Cruces Basin Wilderness Area and Carson National Forest. It is 3.2 miles long and begins at 10,073 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 6.5 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,255 feet. The Grouse Tank (elevation 10,069 feet) reservoir can be seen along the trail. There is also water along the trail.

Cruces Basin - Forest Road 572 Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

100 Hikes in New Mexico (The Mountaineers Books)
Craig Martin
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"The Cruces Basin Wilderness is a small gem in Carson National Forest near the Colorado border. Open meadows, clear streams, long vistas, and bold granite outcrops characterize the high plateau. The long, dusty access road discourages most prospective visitors, so hikers are likely to enjoy their trip in relative solitude."
Hiking New Mexico - 4th Edition (Falcon Guides)
Laurence Parent
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"A day hike in the beautiful, lush, high mountain country of the Cruces Basin Wilderness. This hike lies in a beautiful high mountain area that is one of the least visited in northern New Mexico. The long, dirt-road drive necessary to reach the area discourages many people. The two small campgrounds at Lagunitas just a few miles beyond the FR 572 junction often do not even fill up on Fourth of July weekend. The campgrounds are named for a number of small ponds."

Cruces Basin - Forest Road 572 Trip Reports

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The Cruces Basin offers a genuine wilderness hike. I saw no other humans in the wilderness and bear sign everywhere. The wind roiled through the aspens as the clouds flew by overhead. The hike was on a fairly decent marked trail, but at times, the trail was uncertain. This is a place where basic orienteering skills, a decent map, compass, and if you must have it, a GPS, is a good idea. The only bit of modernity is the soundscape with the Toltec & Cumbres RR whistling off in the distance. I thought the place was stunning and a great day hike if you're camping nearby.
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Easy hike unless you're tired on the hike out. Fun fly fishing. Saw spinner and caddis hatches and caught brookie on first cast with a PMD size 16. Aspen trees were drought stricken, and showed very few leaves. Wildlife is close, so have you're camera ready.
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It is easier going into the basin than coming out because you are going uphill lots of game elk mule deer , the weather can be very harsh at times 4 wheel drive recomended high clearence 4wd to go on top of brazos ridge the ruts can be very deep inthe road

Cruces Basin - Forest Road 572 Photos

Trail Information

Carson National Forest
Nearby City
Cruces Basin Wilderness Area
Skill Level
Additional Use
Carson National Forest, PO Box 38, Tres Piedras, NM 87577; (575) 758-8678;
Local Contacts
Cruces Basin Wilderness, Carson National Forest; Toltec Mesa 7.5-minute USGS quad
Local Maps

Trail Log