USDA Forest Service
1 hour, 45 minutes
Picnic area, toilet.
The Rita Blanca National Grasslands are managed by the USDA Forest Service, Cibola National Forest. The main Forest office is in Albuquerque, and the grasslands ranger office in Clayton has maps, brochures, and handouts.
The Rita Blanca National Grasslands consist of over 77,000 acres in Texas near the town of Texline, and over 15,000 to the north in Oklahoma. The region is a checkerboard of private and public land, and a map is necessary to navigate through the area and locate the Grassland Units. For casual exploring and wandering, the map Kiowa and Rita Blanca National Grasslands is sufficient.
The grasslands history is fascinating, the epicenter of the Dust Bowl, and abandoned homesteads can be found throughout the prairie. The land used today for traditional ranching and hunting activities.
Although a nearly two-hour drive from Raton, the Rita Blanca National Grasslands are within 100 miles. And it is possible to visit and return in a single day, but anyone interested in seeing most of the grassland area will probably want to camp overnight or stay in a Clayton hotel.
Hiking Opportunities: There are no formal trails in the Rita Blanca National Grasslands, but the land is open and flat, and off-trail walking is easy. There are also two-track ranch roads suitable for hiking.
Camping Opportunities: The Thompson Grove Picnic Area is a designated campground. There are no facilities other than a toilet, so campers should be self-sufficient. No-trace backcountry camping is permitted as well.
Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands, official website: Link
Official road map at National Forest website: pdf file
Travel photography website with photos and more information: Link