Cloudcroft, NM: City in the clouds

Cloudcroft, New Mexico, is a little slice of heaven––gorgeous hiking, plus a big dollop of Old West charm

Cloudcroft hiking trail

Take in the scenery along Willie White Spur Trail.

Andrea M. Gómez

Old West style restaurant

Follow the locals' lead and grab breakfast at Western Bar and Cafe.

Andrea M. Gómez

Historic New Mexico hiking trail

Cloud-Climbing Trestle Trail is one of the more famous hiking spots in Cloudcroft.

Andrea M. Gómez

Cloudcroft, NM hotel

The Lodge Resort at Cloudcroft

Andrea M. Gómez

Five minutes into the drive up the Sacramento Mountains, you can see why locals like to say that Cloudcroft, New Mexico, is 9,000 feet above stress level.

The tiny town of one main drag, zero stoplights, and 768 people is like an alpine El Dorado, unknown even to many New Mexicans (it’s five hours south of Santa Fe and about 2,000 feet higher).

In June, the wildflowers start blooming and the forests and meadows around Cloudcroft turn into a hiker’s paradise: In a single day, you can picnic by a waterfall, see cactus in bloom, or trek through ponderosa pines.

And it’s all minutes from the comforts of a classic Western timber town. Read on for our top five hikes, plus what to do when you’re off the trail.

Hiking tip: Stop by the Sacra­mento Ranger District to grab a map of all these hiking trails ($10; 4 Lost Lodge Rd.;

Hike #1: A cooling summer waterfall

Hike #2: Lush forests

Hike #3: A glimpse of the Old West

Hike #4: The desert in bloom

Hike #5: Endless views

Next: Where to stay and what to do in Cloudcroft


Off the trail in Cloudcroft

Lodging: Book into Spur Landing Rentals for private condos (from $135; two-night minimum) or stay at the Lodge Resort at Cloudcroft (from $115) and have the famous chateaubriand prepared tableside at Rebecca’s ($$$). 

Eating out: Grab breakfast at the Western Bar and Cafe ($; cash or check only; 304 Burro Ave.; 575/682-2445). Try the not-too-spicy chilaquiles or plate-size pancakes.

The Mountaintop Mercantile ($; 105 U.S. 82; 575/682-2777) is great for loading up on picnic sandwiches to take on a hike.

In the evening, check out the Texas Pit BBQ ($; 211 U.S. 82; 575/682-1101) for outstanding ribs.

Exploring: Stroll past the brightly painted storefronts along Burro Avenue and feel like you’ve stepped onto a western movie set.

Check out the Bird House (203 U.S. 82; 575/682-6902), where hummingbirds flock to flower-shaped feeders.

On your way home, pull off at the Old Apple Barn ($; off U.S. 82 between mile markers 9 and 10; 575/682-2276) and try the fresh apple and cherry ciders. The homemade fudge comes in a close second.

Printed from: