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Benson Ridge

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Other Names

Lincoln National Forest, Sacramento Ranger District, Sacramento Mountains, Rio Penasco, Shofield Canyon, Bluff Springs, Taylor Canyon, Benson Canyon

Last Known StatusOpen

Located on the northern side of the Upper Rio Penasco Road, this area offers around 17 miles of ATV trails. The routes are mostly hard packed with some loose chunk rock but form long, twisty loops through grassy meadows, canyons and cool mixed pine tree forest.

Benson Ridge is also just a few miles away from the staging area for Wills and Hubbell Canyon, which offers more scenic ATV loops to explore. This area is open year-round but is especially popular place during the summer months.

Primitive camping can be found a short distance away at Bluff Springs. The campground is also known for a scenic waterfall that can be accessed by a short hiking trail. Gas, food and RV campgrounds can be found in nearby Cloudcroft.

Trail Map... Nearby ATV Trails...


Permit RequiredYesNM OHV Permit
Dates OpenYear-Round
Other ATV Stickers AcceptedYesResidents of any state without an OHV registration program must purchase a Nonresident OHV Use Permit. (AK, AL, FL, GA, HI, IL, KS, KY, MS, NC, NE, OK, SC, SD, TN, VA, WV)
Spark ArrestorYesA spark arresting exhaust silencer or end cap is required for all vehicles.
Noise LimitYes (96 dB)
Whip FlagsNot Required
Maximum Vehicle WidthYes (50 inches)has entrance gate or posts
Allow Dirt Bikes, Trail Bikes and Motorcycles Motorcycles & Dirt BikesPermitted
Allow All Terrain Vehicles / Quads / Four Wheelers ATVsPermitted(maximum width 50 inches)
Allow Utility Terrain Vehicles, Side by Sides (SXS), RZR UTV & SXSPermitted(maximum width 50 inches)
Allow 4x4 Jeeps, SUVs and 4 x 4 Trucks with License Plates SUVs & Jeeps (registered)Prohibited
Dune Buggy & Sand Rail
4x4 (unregistered)
2 Stroke EnginesNo Restriction
Camping / Overnight RV Parking Camping
Campfire Restrictions Campfires
Night RidingUnknown
Trail BlazingProhibitedstay on the trail
Rule Enforcement


AreaMotorized Trails
LandNational Forest




Our RatingRatingGood
Recommended StayFull Day
Comments(Scroll Down For Rider Reviews & Comments)


Nearest CityCloudcroft, NM
AddressUpper Rio Penasco Road, Cloudcroft, NM 88317
Go Back To New Mexico List
Trail MapGo To Trail Map
From: Cloudcroft, NM
1) Take the Sunspot Hwy south about 8.5 miles
2) Turn left (east) onto Upper Rio Penasco Road, continue about 1 mile
3) Trailhead is on the left (north).


Contact InfoLincoln National Forest - Sacramento District
4 Lost Lodge Road
Cloudcroft, NM 88317
(575) 682-2551
Contact InfoNew Mexico Game And Fish
1 Wildlife Way
Santa Fe, NM 87507
(505) 476-8000
(888) 248-6866
CommentOHV Permit Info


Benson Ridge Trail Photo

Benson Ridge Trail

Photo Submitted 10/3/2016 (Thanks!)


Submit a Photo!


Miles Of Trail17
Climate TypeForest
Elevation8500 to 9500 ft.
Trail MaintenanceMarked, Not Rated, Lightly Maintained
Loose DirtThis trail has little loose dirt.Little
Hard PackThe trail has mostly hard pack terrain.Mostly
SandThis trail has no sandy areas.None
MudThe trail has little mud after it rains.Little
DustThe trail has little dust on typical days.Little
RocksThis trail has some rocks.Some
TreesThe trail has many trees.Many
Steep HillsThis trail has some steep hills.Some
Water CrossingsThe trail has few water crossings.Few
Small JumpsThis trail has no small jumps.None
Large JumpsThis trail has no large jumps.None
BermsThe trail has no berms.None
Sand/Gravel PitsThis national forest has no sand or gravel pits.None
Single TrackThis national forest has no single track trails.None
RoadsThis national forest has some roads.Some
ShadeThis national forest has some shaded areas.Some
HazardsThis trail has few hazards.Few(hazards assumed marked but use caution)
Easy Terrain NoviceThis trail has little beginner terrain.Little
Moderate Terrain AmateurThis trail has mostly intermediate level terrain.Mostly
Difficult Terrain ExpertThis trail has some expert terrain.Some


Gasoline Gasoline5-20 Miles (N)Allsup's Convenience Store (575) 682-3072
Diesel Diesel5-20 Miles (N)Allsup's Convenience Store (575) 682-3072
Potable Water WaterCloudcroft, NM
RV Hookups RV Hookup5-20 Miles (N)Sugar Pines Campground (575) 682-3375
RV Dump Station RV Disposal5-20 Miles (N)Sugar Pines Campground (575) 682-3375
Primitive Camping Campground1-5 Miles (E)Bluff Springs Campground (575) 682-2551
Convenience Store Conv Store5-20 Miles (N)Allsup's Convenience Store (575) 682-3072
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