The United States Congress designated the Withington Wilderness (map
) in 1980 and it now has a total of 18,813 acres
All of this wilderness is located in New Mexico
and is managed by the Forest Service.
In the northern extreme of the San Mateo Mountains and almost entirely on their eastern slopes lies the little-known Withington Wilderness, a land of precious and often parched solitude. Elevations range from 6,800 feet to 10,100 feet atop Mount Withington, which marks the center of the western boundary. Mixed conifers (pine, spruce, fir) grow in the shady bottoms of the area's steep-walled canyons, giving way to a woodland of pinion and juniper as the ground becomes more open and drier and the vistas stretch eastward toward the Rio Grande. In the lowest land, near the eastern boundary, you'll find small stands of ocotillo.
Many of the Withington trails are seldom used, promising solitude for the adventurous. Winters bring snow, and summers are often hot and dry. During the desert "monsoon" season, July and August, rainwater may flood the narrow canyons, but most of the year offers little or nothing in the way of water sources, wilderness visitors should bring their own water.