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