Cloud-Climbing Rail Trail - Trail, Cloudcroft, Mexico

Cloud-Climbing Rail Trail - Trail, Cloudcroft, Mexico


Access: From Cloudcroft turn into entrance to the Trestle Recreation Area, just off the south side of Highway 82 on the west side of town. The entrance is across the street from the Sacramento Mountains Medical Facility. The parking lot is about a block from the highway; the depot replica is on your right. At the east end of the parking lot is a gravel trail, take it – at the depot, there will be hikers entering the trail.

Description: About 10 miles of the old, abandoned Alamogordo and Sacramento Mountain Railroad grade that runs from Alamogordo to Cloudcroft have been converted to rail trails in various sections, and are open to the public. The sections are separately accessible and have different degrees of difficulty, from easy walking at a grade of less than 6% to an eight mile loop that consists of an elevation change of about 1,000 feet and a few steep slopes. The altitude change is from 8650 feet at the Trestle Recreation Area to 7680 feet at the bridge.

Once entering the trail turn right almost immediately onto the Village Spur trail (5001A), which leads to Trestle Trail (5001); at this point, it is on an old railroad bed. Turn right at 5001.

Views of White Sands National Monument, the Tularosa Basin, and the San Andres Mountains soon open up.

After you make the turn through the Devil's Elbow, you will see on your left the remains of the Trestle. Continue on 5001, which will soon leave the railroad bed and plunge into a canyon thick with old growth forest. At the bottom of the canyon go left on Crossover Trail (5001C).

(If you want to visit the Mexican Canyon Trestle, don't take the left turn yet; continue on 5001 up the other side of the canyon, back on the railroad bed and out to the overlook, and return by the same route.)

5001C goes down the canyon until it meets 5002, the Old Road. Continue down the canyon on 5002 until you come to the bridge over 82. (You will pass an intersection with 5004; this is where you will return to 5002).

After you cross the bridge you will be on the Switchback Trail, 5004. When you come to the railroad grade, turn right. (Turning left will take you to a shelter containing pictures and descriptions of the switchback.)

The grade, and the trails that lead through the canyons that once held trestles, will bring you to Bailey Canyon Road, which is a gravel forest road. Turn right, and almost at once turn left on the signed 5004 trail that takes you down a canyon and under Highway 82.

Follow the trail until you come back to 5002 (the Old Road). Ride up the canyon. When you come to 5001C, don't take it - instead, bear right and stay on the Old Road until it intersects the railroad bed (5001) just a few feet past the Village Spur Trail (5001A). Look to your left; you will see the signs. Take the Village Spur Trail back to the parking lot where you started. The Trestle Recreation Area has restrooms, picnic tables, an overlook,


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[Jul 10, 2010]
Weekend Warrior

Credits to blakeovard & bmwcolin for the trail description above with slight editing by me.

This is a nice little cross-country trail with excellent scenery along the way. It's also very different than most of the other trails in the Cloudcroft area in that it is not riddled with rocks. Trail surface ranges from silky smooth earth to crushed gravel single and doubletrack. Very few ruts along the way.

Most of the grade is pretty moderate, with one short steep section (35% grade) in the middle of Switchback Trail (T5004). This climb is over as soon as it begins, so it's not that big of a deal if you have to push your bike to the top.

This trail is very well-maintained by the NM Rail-to-Trails organization and signage is excellent.

Perfect trail for a mellow spin.

Aerobic - 3 (Moderate climbing with one steep climb)
Technical - 2 (Occasional ruts and rocks)
Overall - 4 (Nice trail for beginners. Good views.)

Customer Service

Start at 5001A. Take a right at 5001. Link into 5001C. Link into 5002 (down the canyon). Follow 5002 all the way to end. Carry bike over the pedestrian bridge. Pick up 5004. Follow 5004 back under US82. Take 5002 back to 5001A.

Similar Products Used:

High Altitude Race Course
Rim Trail

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