Cibola National Forest
Mt. Taylor Ranger District is comprised of two mountain ranges, Mt. Taylor and the Zuni Mountains, totaling nearly 520,000 acres of national forest land. Elevations range from 6,500 ft. to 11,301 ft. above mean sea level. Mt. Taylor is an area of special religious and cultural significance to several Native American communities. Mt. Taylor and the Zuni Mountains are rich in cultural resources including many historic sawmill and logging community sites and railroad logging railroad beds.
Other Points of Interest
While enjoying your national forest, there are many other interesting sites to visit within an hour's drive of Grants where the district office is located. Some suggestions are:
Acoma Sky City
El Morro National Monument
El Malpais National Monument
BLM National Conservation Area
Bluewater Lake State Park
Mt. Taylor Ranger District is home to many wildlife species. Big game animals include deer, wild turkey, and bear. Vireos, nuthatches and nutcrackers, as well as red-tailed hawk and peregrine falcon can often be heard, if not seen on the district. Sharing range resources in a way that benefits wildlife and domestic animals, as well as the land, is important to management. Consideration of all animals, from the smallest meadow mole and minnow to the black bear, eagle and majestic elk is evident in the wildlife habitat improvement projects, including Bluewater Creek.
Recreation opportunities abound on Mt. Taylor Ranger District. There are developed recreation sites at Lobo Canyon, Ojo Redondo, Quaking Aspen and McGaffey campgrounds and dispersed recreation opportunities available district-wide. Aspen trees change color in October providing a spectacular opportunity to enjoy nature at its loveliest. Winter snows provide opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, tubing, or just plain fun breathing the crisp mountain air. Spring offers a rebirth of green mountain meadows and their tenants, with an abundance of wildflowers in a rainbow of colors. Summer is full of the hustle and bustle of people and wildlife and opportunities galore; fishing, camping, and visiting one of nature's greatest outdoor laboratories, your national forest. Year-round, photographers are challenged with capturing the beauty of it all!
The Grants area, like much of New Mexico, is rich in history. Grants is named after the Grant brothers, who were contracted to build the railroad in this area. Initially the settlers were mainly sheep and cattle ranchers. When the drought began in 1918, settlers were forced to look for another means of livelihood. As the livestock industry declined, the logging and lumber business went full speed ahead. Camps sprang up throughout the Zuni Mountains, as logging railroads extended into the mountains from the transcontinental railroad. Grants and the surrounding area began to grow. In 1931 the lumber business slowed down, as did the nation's economy. By World War II railroad logging had ended. Uranium mining was the next industry to flourish, starting in the early 1950s and lasting until the early 1980s. The population has dropped significantly since that time but Grants is a happy, healthy community that will continue to thrive and will be ready to meet the challenges of the future—whatever they might be!
Mt. Taylor Ranger District has played an important part in the area's history. The District evolved from additions to the small forest reserves first set aside in 1906. Forest work has emphasized rehabilitating areas that earlier were heavily logged and grazed. There are many historic sites on the District and visitors are encouraged to take advantage of the Zuni Mountain Historic Auto Tour—a peek into an exciting era of northwestern New Mexico's past.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication