Although it's a community without a
long cultural and historical underpinning, Alamogordo is
a neat, modern city within range of a wide selection of
landscapes and recreational activity. On the east are the
forested Sacramento Mountains, the highest range in
southern New Mexico. To the west are the sand dunes of
White Sands National Monument -- one of the most
unearthly sights on earth.
Beyond the dunes is the White Sands Missile
Range, in a desert valley where mere mortals are
forbidden to enter. In recent years, the area has become
a favorite place for "sunbirds" to spend their winters,
baking in the hot sun of the Southwestern desert. Alameda
Park is easily seen beside U.S. 70. Picnics are a popular
activity in the park, and the free zoo has a small
collection of animals and birds from America and Africa.
The destiny of Alamogordo has been tied to nearby Holloman
Air Force Base, the largest employer in the area. There
are several modern motels spaced along Route 70, the main
road from Albuquerque and Las Cruces.
This is the chief man-made attraction in
Alamogordo, a five-storey glass and concrete cube that is
home to the International Space Hall of Fame. There are
exhibits on the birth and progress of the space age --
astronauts, scientists, and rockets. In a unique
combination, the Clyde W. Thombaugh Space Theater
includes both a planetarium and an Omnimax film system.
The theater often features laser light shows, as well as
star shows and films on the huge screen. Outside the
dramatic building is a collection of spacecraft and
launch vehicles. The Space Center is about three miles
from downtown Alamogordo via U.S. Hwy. 70, Indian Wells
Road and Scenic Drive (505-437-2840 or 800-545-4021).
Oliver Lee State Park
This fascinating natural area is 12 miles
south of town via U.S. Hwy. 54 and then on a county road
for 2 miles. Springs flow out of the desert year-round,
creating comparatively lush vegetation.
This location was one of the final
strongholds of Apache warriors and the site of several
Indian/cavalry battles. There's a visitor center with
exhibits on the human and natural history of this canyon
which lies at the base of the Sacramento Mountains. There
is a campground and an interpretive trail.
Three Rivers National Recreation Site
37 miles north of the city, a drive here
proves an easy day-trip. This protected area includes
more than 5,000 rock carvings made by Mogollon Indians
who lived here between ad 900 and 1400. An interpretive
trail leads to the site of a prehistoric Indian village.
To get there, take Route 70 north for 13 miles and
continue on U.S. Hwy. 54 to Three Rivers, where an 8-mile
sideroad leads east to the preserve, managed by the
White Sands National Monument
Situated 16 miles southwest of Alamogordo,
this amazing place features more than 200 square miles of
gleaming gypsum sand that shifts around -- with some of
the dunes as high as 60 feet. There's a visitor center at
the park entrance and there are sets of sheltered picnic
tables in the midst of the vast whiteness.
Cloudcroft and Ruidoso
Cloudcroft, a resort village, sits atop the
Sacramento Mountains, 18 miles east of Alamogordo. The
drive from Las Cruces to Alamogordo and Cloudcroft is
described in one of our scenic drives in our guidebook "Southwest Adventures, the Road Guide", available as an e-book from Amazon..
Beyond Cloudcroft is Ruidoso, the famous horse racing
town, which also features skiing (as does Cloudcroft).
The All American Futurity, the richest horserace in the
United States, is held at Ruidoso Downs each Labor
The Lincoln State Monument (the scene of the Lincoln
County War) is in the same mountain area.
Cloudcroft and Ruidoso have their own Destinations pages.