logo

Home | Destinations | Getaway Guides | Magazine | Great Drives

Destinations

Cloudcroft - New Mexico

Sitting 9,200 feet high in the Sacramento Mountains, this little village is a unique resort destination well worth the drive from Las Cruces (90 miles), Alamogordo (18 miles), or El Paso, Texas (95 miles). Cloudcroft was founded as a railway town when the Southern Pacific Railroad built a spur line into the mountains to transport logs for railway ties, and constructed a lodge for railroad workers and tourists.

The railway has long since disappeared -- only a high wooden trestle remains. However, the workers' bunkhouse has become the renowned Cloudcroft Lodge, and it is as fine a resort inn as one could hope to encounter -- anywhere in America.

What to See & Do

During winter months, the ski hill here provides the most southerly downhill experience in the lower 48 states. Cross-country skiing is a popular activity as well, in the Lincoln National Forest which sprawls throughout more than one million acres across the mountain range. In the summer, people flock here to fish, ride horses, hike and play golf on a spectacularly scenic course that is one of the highest courses in the west. The forest is a major attraction, providing hiking trails, riding (there are local stables with horse rentals), and several scenic drives.

Golfing

There are two courses: the high-level nine-hole course at the Cloudcroft Lodge, which offers fairways cutting through the pine forest&emdash;an experience that a golf magazine has described as "the most unique golfing experience this side of heaven" -- and the nine-hole course (Ponderosa Pines) in Cox Canyon, nine miles southeast of Cloudcroft on New Mexico Route 130.

Trestleing

The only visible remains of the Sacramento Mountains railway line sits beside the highway on the west side of town. A trail leads down the hill to the bridge, which crosses a deep canyon.

Snowmobiling and Winter Play

The Triple M Snow Play Area offers guided snowmobile tours in the high reaches of the Lincoln National Forest, as well as ice skating on a pond and inner tube sliding slopes (which have lifts to the top). Skate and tube rentals are available, and there is a snack bar. It is located south of town on Sunspot Road (Hwy. 130). Many snowmobile trails are available, using logging roads in the Lincoln National Forest. Ski Cloudcroft is located at the eastern edge of town on Hwy. 82. With 700 vertical feet, the ski area offers lifts, rentals and instruction. Lodging is less than 5 minutes' drive --in downtown Cloudcroft.

Another place to go for winter activities is J&R Rentals. You'll find it on Highway 82, at the east end of Cloudcroft. They offer snowmobile tours, tube rentals, and more. Their snowmobile tours take you through the superb Lincoln National Forest, with all sorts of wildlife to be seen. For information and reservations, call (505) 682-2569.

Special Events

As with other summer and winter resort towns, Cloudcroft has a parade of special events and festivals throughout the year. The annual Bluegrass Festival is held in June with groups from southern New Mexico and West Texas. The Sunday concert usually features gospel groups. June also brings the annual Western Roundup. This eclectic affair features an old-time fiddling contest, gun and knife show, a barbecue, pie auction, western street dance, and Mexican-style rodeo. Independence Day weekend features the July Jamboree, which combines a crafts fair with food stands, a horseshoe tournament, another street dance, and other events.

In mid-August there's a spiritual singing festival, and the town has another street dance and barbecue on Labor Day weekend. Railroad/Logging Days (mid-September) features logging contests and an antique show among other events. Rodeo Weekend is in late September. As you might gather, there's something happening almost every week during the summer and fall period.

Hotels

The Lodge Resort & Spa
601 Corona Place, Cloudcroft, 800-395-6343 is special enough to plan a complete vacation trip around a stay here.

Built in 1899 by the railroad, the lodge is just as it was then: a grand Victorian structure with cozy rooms, an excellent dining room (with fine decor and fine dining), the 9,200-foot-high golf course, and the lodge's supreme natural setting on a hilltop above the little town.

The surrounding forest is thick with pine, blue spruce, and aspen. All rooms are filled with antique furnishings, and the lodge is such that it maintains the feeling of a private mansion rather than that of a hotel. The Pavilion is a separate bed and breakfast inn, located on the Lodge's entrance road. This is another restored historic lodge.

The dining room (Rebecca's Restaurant and Lounge) deserves special mention. The food is superb, and there is service to match. Rebecca's Garden is the outdoor dining deck, which is open during the summer and fall months for all three meals. The Beach Bar and Grill is beside the pool and is open from 10 am to 4 pm.

The Red Dog Saloon is a western bar, open daily from 5 pm to midnight, Wednesday through Saturday. Live entertainment is featured on weekends in the saloon, year-round.

Other Places to Stay

Cloudcroft Hotel
306 Burro Avenue, Cloudcroft, 575-682-3414
The hotel offers a variety of rooms rooms decorated in early western. Every room has free WiFi, flat screen TVs, claw-foot bathtubs, and a kitchenette.

National Forest Camping:

The Lincoln National Forst has recreation areas with campsites. Apache Campground , the closest to Cloudcroft has 25 sites, with picnic tables, fire rings, toilets, drinking water, and nature trails. The campground is east of Cloudcroft via U.S. Hwy. 82. Travel east 4 miles and turn right at the Silver-Saddle-Apache Campground sign (Forest Road 24C). Open from mid-May to Labor Day.

 

New Mexico Destinations

Alamogordo

Albuquerque

Aztec

Bandelier National Monument

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Chaco Culture National Historic Park

Chama

Cloudcroft

Los Alamos

Mesilla

Ruidoso

Santa Fe

Silver City

Taos

 


logo

Destinations:

Hundreds of top vacation destinations in the U.S. and Canada


Great Drives

Scenic off-freeway vacation drives from California to New Mexico


Getaway Guides:

Las Vegas, NV

San Francisco, CA

Reno, NV

Lake Tahoe, CA & NV

British Columbia & Vancouver



Magazine - Features:

Great Drives
in the US and Canada
Adventures
Dispatches
Traveling with Kids
Top-Ten Lists


Home

Destinations:

Alaska

Alberta

Arizona

British Columbia

California

Colorado

Florida

Idaho

Montana

Nevada

New Mexico

Oregon

South Carolina

Texas

Utah

Washington

Wyoming

Yukon

 
Home | Destinations | Feature Articles | Getaway Guides | Great Drives
Travel Books | World Tourism Bureaus | U.S. Tourism Bureaus