Lincoln National Forest
Cloudcroft Ranger District headquarters is located in Cloudcroft and manages 209,668 acres. In elevations ranging from 4,600 to 9,695 feet visitors may enjoy camping, picnicking, fishing, hunting, hiking, or horseback riding, plus snowmobiling, inner tubing, and cross-country and downhill skiing. Snow Canyon, the southernmost ski area in the United States, is adjacent to the small village of Cloudcroft in the Sacramento Mountains. Halfway between Cloudcroft and Alamogordo on US 82 is the only highway tunnel in southern New Mexico. A parking area just west of the tunnel affords a spectacular view of Fresnal Canyon, White Sands, and the Tularosa Basin. Closer to Cloudcroft is another pull-off area where visitors can look back in time at the railroad trestle spanning Mexican Canyon.
Another area of interest in the Cloudcroft District is the Sacramento Peak Observatory, an area used for solar research. Many magnificent vistas may be seen while driving the Scenic Byway to the observatory. The observatory is open for self-guided tours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and for guided tours on Saturdays at 2 p.m. from May 1 through October 1.
Trees such as Douglas fir, Ponderosa pine, aspen, and oak envelop the hiking trails and are home to a great variety of birds. White-tailed deer, black bears, Rocky Mountain elk, raccoons, and porcupines are only a few examples of the wildlife that may be seen. Wildflowers such as blue columbine, alpine daisy, cinquefoil, and larkspur carpet the forest floor in splendor.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication