The Smokey Bear District of the Lincoln National Forest is the home of Smokey Bear. Smokey Bear was a young bear cub that was found during a forest fire in the Capitan Mountains in 1950. He was rescued by one of the firefighters and was adopted by the US Forest Service and became the living symbol of the world famous Smokey Bear.
The Smokey Bear District encompasses 423,416 acres and has over 200 miles of trails. It surrounds Ruidoso providing recreation opportunities such as hiking, camping, picnicking, horseback riding, winter sports, and wildlife viewing. The District has several developed campgrounds including as South Fork, Oak Grove and Three Rivers. For trail guides and camping maps, stop by the Smokey District Ranger Station at 901 Mechem Drive in Ruidoso.
The White Mountain Wilderness and Capitan Wilderness are in the Smokey Bear District and offer many hiking and backpacking opportunities. The Monjeau Lookout was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1940 and still serves as an active lookout today.