A high-altitude hiking destination with Old Western charm.
Cloudcroft is a little Old Western town tucked away high in the Sacramento Mountains at nearly 8,700 feet above sea level—it’s actually the highest town in New Mexico. Cloudcroft is a popular summer retreat for Las Cruces and El Paso locals looking to escape the summer heat and enjoy a little greenery. Cloudcroft’s compact downtown is lined with cafes, bakeries, and local art shops, plus you’ll find numerous hiking, mountain biking, and camping opportunities just outside of town. Cloudcroft makes a wonderful basecamp for exploring Lincoln National Forest.
Trestle Recreation Area On the west end of Cloudcroft, the Trestle Recreation Area offers hiking trails and a cozy picnic area. The highlight is hiking the Mexican Trestle Overlook trail, which takes you right to the base of the Mexican Canyon Trestle, a 323-foot wooden curved railroad trestle constructed in 1899 for the Alamogordo and Sacramento Mountain Railway. You can also view the trestle from Highway 82 just north of town. Lincoln National Forest Lincoln National Forest covers a huge variety of terrain in southcentral New Mexico, including much of the wildlands outside of Cloudcroft. The forest features two wilderness areas, dozens of hiking trails, and several designated campgrounds. Lincoln National Forest was home to real-life Smokey the Bear, a bear cub orphaned by a wildfire in 1950 that spurred an entire forest fire prevention marketing campaign. White Sands National Park Cloudcroft is only 40 miles from White Sands National Park. It’s one of America’s newest national parks and it’s also one of the most unique. White Sands is home to the largest gypsum sand dunes in the world and visitors can climb the dazzling white dunes and sled down them on plastic saucers available for purchase at the visitor center. No overnight camping is available in the park although backcountry camping is allowed with a permit.
Cloudcroft’s high elevation makes it a great place to escape the heat of the neighboring lower-lying desert areas. The best time for camping and hiking near Cloudcroft is from April through October. Many camping areas in the Sacramento Mountains are only open from May through September. There’s also a small downhill ski area in Cloudcroft making it a fun place to visit in winter.
- Cloudcroft has restaurants, cafes, a gas station, an outdoor shop, and a small grocery store. - Reservations are only available for some group campgrounds in Lincoln National Forest. All other campgrounds are first-come, first-served only. - Campgrounds in Lincoln National Forest have little or no drinking water, so come prepared with lots of water. - The Osha Trail begins and ends just outside of Cloudcroft and provides fantastic views of the area in just a short distance.