Day Trips: Cloudcroft

COURTESY PHOTO: The Mexican Trestle, once a part of the railroad that stretched from Alamogordo to Cloudcroft, is now part of the Cloud Climbing Rail Trail.

Cloudcroft – It Only Looks Sleepy

So much of Ruidoso has changed, it’s difficult to imagine what kind of town it was as little as 50 years ago – with one-lane roads and a sleepy, intimate vibe that’s been replaced with the hustle and bustle of big-time tourism in the summer.

But if you want a glimpse into the past and truly slow down to enjoy the Sacramento Mountains in a historic and peaceful setting, all you have to do is drive just 50 miles south on State Road 244 to Cloudcroft.

Located 9,000 miles above sea level, the village is aptly named, and is home to quaint shops and friendly people eager to show you how truly relaxing it can be in the mountains.

Founded in 1899, Cloudcroft has “grown” from a logging town into a vacation destination that features modern amenities while still holding on to its frontier roots.

For starters, there’s the Lodge of Cloudcroft, a resort that rose from the ashes of a turn-of-the-century fire to become one of the premier destinations for Texans wishing to escape the lowland heat.

Famous names such as Pancho Villa, Judy Garland and Clark Gable once stayed here, and even legendary hotelier Conrad Hilton once managed the property in the 1930s.

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PHOTO COURTESY THE LODGE: The Lodge golf course is both old – built in 1899 – and unique as one of the highest courses in North America at 9,000 feet above sea level.

The Lodge 9-hole golf course is among the highest in the world and oldest in North America. Open seven days a week, April through October, the course is popular and calling ahead for tee times is recommended.

For the adventurous, several mountain trails beckon for hiking and biking. If two wheels is how you like to get around, be sure to check in a High Altitude for bike and outdoor gear. Contact Matt and Traci Willett at 575-682-1229 or at

The traditional and old-fashioned theater entertainments of vaudeville and melodrama are the stock and trade of the Cloudcroft Light Opera Company, a community theater group with several productions each year at the Zenith Park Pavilion. This year’s production is “How the West was Worn,” with free performances July 8-9 and 15-16. Show time is 7:30 p.m. nightly.

There’s so much more to experience and do in this supposedly “sleepy” mountain town. From majestic views of the historic Mexican Trestle on the Cloud Climbing Rail Trail, to the National Solar Observatory at Sacramento Peak, there is plenty to see and do.

For more information on everything available in this town atop the world, call the Cloudcroft Chamber of Commerce at 575-682-2733.


Upcoming events in Cloudcroft:

July 9 – July Jamboree

July 9-10 — “Historical route” to the Mexican Canyon Trestle will be open 9am to 4p.m., providing a close-up view of “Bonnie’s Trestle,” the area’s newest National Historical Site. At Cloudcroft’s “Depot,” take Trail 5001B, merge into Trail 5001, and enter the marked gate…1/2 mi. total. Information:,, or call 575-434-1949.

August 6 — Art and Wine in The Pines

September 3 — Labor Day Hoopla

September 17 –- Lumberjack Day

October 29 — Harvestfest, Great Pumpkin Race

November 26 – Decmber 17 — Santaland

December 3 — Tree Lighting and Parad

—Todd Fuqua