Fun Things to do in Alamogordo, Cloudcroft, and Otero County

April 6, 2015 in Blog

"cloudcroft railroad" vacation trails Cloudcroft "new mexico"Every September visitors flock to Alamogordo for the fantastic balloon festival. But Alamogordo and Otero County have fun activities going on all year round. This spring you can enjoy nature, hiking the trails of the Lincoln National Forest and the Cloud Climbing Rail Trail.

Here are a few of our favorite local attractions:

Three Rivers Petroglyph Site

Visit the Three Rivers Petroglyph Site is to see some of most interesting rock art and concentrations of petroglyphs in the Southwest. In addition to numerous geometric and abstract designs, you will see more than 21,000 glyphs of birds, humans, animals, fish, insects and plants. The site covers over 50 acres of the northern Chihuahuan Desert.

The Toy Train Depot

Toy train enthusiasts will love a visit to the Toy Train Depot in Alamogordo, You can see a collection of hundreds of model and toy trains on display in the 100-year-old depot. The exhibit includes a 1,000 square foot HO layout representing 1940′s era Alamogordo, NM. The Toy Train Depot also has the smallest scaled working train in the world. Don’t forget to take a ride on the small-scale train circling Alameda Park. The train departs the depot every 30 minutes.

New Mexico Museum of Space History

The Museum of Space History has a variety of space exploration related exhibitions such as the rocket experiments near Roswell and a mock-up of the International Space Station.There is alsoo the International Space Hall of Fame, the John P. Stapp Air & Space Park, the Daisy Track, which commemorates some of NASA’s Project Mercury aeromedical space tests.

You can tour a model of the 2001 space and see a collection of historic space items, including the Sonic Wind I rocket sled. And watch nature related films on a 40-foot wrap-around Omni Max system at the Clyde W. Tombaugh IMAX Theater and Planetarium.

"white sands" national monumentWhite Sands National Monument

Located at the northern end of the Chihuahua Desert, the White Sands National Monument is one of the world’s great natural wonders and one of New Mexico’s best National Monument at-tractions. The glowing dunes cover almost 300 square miles of desert, making White Sands Na-tional Monument the world’s largest gypsum dune field.

Other Local Events and Activities

Lincoln National Forest

Gillespie Ranch

• PistachioLand

Whether you are on vacation or you live here, take advantage of the local events and attraction and enjoy all that Alamogordo, Cloudcroft, and Otero County have to offer.

Spring Break in Cloudcroft is for Nature Lovers

March 2, 2015 in Blog

Get out of the city and commune with Mother Nature. Cloudcroft, New Mexico, is the ideal spring break destination for nature lovers. You can spend your spring break vacation in a lovely, rustic cabin and enjoy mountain biking, hiking and other outdoor activities in nearby Lincoln "spring break"National Forest.

Lincoln National Forest

Cloudcroft is located just a short drive from the Sacramento Ranger District of Lincoln National Forest. There are more than 548,800 acres for you to explore.

This forest district also is home to Douglas fir, Ponderosa pine, aspen and oak trees; a variety of birds; Blue Columbine, Alpine Daisy, Penstemon and Larkspur wild flowers; and wildlife such as white-tailed deer, black bears and Rocky Mountain elk.

Hiking Trails

Sacramento Ranger District of Lincoln National Forest has a large variety of hiking trails. Many of the trails are ideal for day-hiking and backpacking. They range in length and difficulty from the easy 1.4-mile Sunspot Trail to the difficult 7.3-mile long Alamo Canyon Trail.

Click for a map of Sacramento Ranger District hiking trails.

Take a Scenic Drive

Photographers will love the opportunity to take pictures of the beautiful nature scenery in and around Cloudcroft and the Lincoln National Forest.

"cloudcroft railroad" vacation trails Cloudcroft "new mexico"As you drive along U.S. 82, northwest of Cloudcroft you’ll see the Mexican Canyon Trestle. This historic railroad trestle is the largest of its kind. Take a picnic and spend the day at the Trestle Recreation Area. There are day-hiking trails, as well as picnic tables and restroom facilities.

Other areas such as Mexican Canyon Trestle, Haynes, Cathey and Nelson Canyon Vistas have stunning views.

Mountain Biking

Mountain bikers will love spending spring break in Cloudcroft. There are more than 8 miles of trails just north of Cloudcroft. You can also try mountain biking trails such as the Old Cloudcroft Highway Trail or Apple Tree Canyon Trail in Lincoln National Forest.

Vacation Rentals

The best part of spending spring break in Cloudcroft is that after a day of hiking and mountain biking, you can return to a comfortable cabin, like Whispering Pines for a hot bath and dinner.

Nature lovers will love staying at Cloudcroft’s Spruce Cabins in the Lincoln National Forest. These cozy mountain cabins are available in sizes suited for couples or a group or family.

Cabin #4 sleeps up to four people, with a queen-size sofa sleeper, a bedroom with a queen bed and a 3/4 bath. The cabin also has a full kitchen with a refrigerator, stove and dishes and pots and pans, as well as cable TV, microwave, coffee maker, an iron and ironing board.

Contact Amigo Realty for more information about spring break vacation rentals in Cloudcroft, New Mexico.

New Mexico’s First Railroad Museum, The Toy Train Depot

August 2, 2014 in Blog

"train depot" alamogordo "new mexico"Just a few miles off the western border of Lincoln National Forest, sits Alamogordo and New Mexico’s first railroad museum, The Toy Train Depot. Remember the little trains you used to ride in a big arc around the zoo or theme park, sitting next to mom and dad with your head out of the top? This museum focuses on these rides, many of which have been retired from those attraction sites. Rick Haskell is the museum’s curator, a train engineer, and a rail historian. If you ask him, he will tell you the fascinating story of an ancient decree by Caesar involving the width of two horse’s rear ends that directly influenced the current width of railroads in America today. Seriously.

Wednesday through Sunday, the Depot runs three 16” narrow gauge railway rides. This is a great outing for the family and a fun ride for the kids. The museum is a non-profit educational foundation, and you can enjoy learning some of the history of these vehicles after the 10-scale mile ride. Built in a "new mexico" alamogordo "train depot"now retired actual train depot, which was erected in 1898, the museum has memorabilia from the real national rail system, model trains of all types and sizes, huge displays of old rails more than a hundred years old, original railway art, and a golden spike that was awarded to John Koval, the original collector whose prizes became this museum.

Whether you are a serious fan of trains, want to become more acquainted with this hobby, or just looking for a fun day out with the kids, The Toy Train Depot can provide a great afternoon.

The Gillespie Ranch in the Southern Sacramento Mountains of New Mexico

July 12, 2014 in Blog

"gillespie ranch" cloudcroft "new Mexico"Fourteen years ago, a cowboy and girl moved from Arizona to the southern Sacramento Mountains of New Mexico, and they started a ranch. Kent Gillespie has worked as a farmer or rancher for his entire life, and Susan, once a biochemical engineer, doesn’t know a life without horses. Their land is situated in the middle of the beautiful Lincoln National Forest, covered with mountains and dense with trees. Today the Gillespie Ranch has visitors year round for a variety of reasons, but it was not built as a tourist attraction. 15,000 acres are set aside for their cattle operation, which they both work everyday. Susan checks the cows and even feeds some by hand. Kent and his son mount horseback and work the cattle daily when he is not meeting with guests or accommodating their vacations.

Visitors have several options for how they will enjoy the Ranch. A four-person cabin allows small groups or families to simply bask in the scenic forest and find a respite after some gorgeous hiking. Twelve RV hookups let others do the same in their own accommodations. The Gilliespies also board horses for the short or long term, so riders can bring their own mount and trail ride the easygoing flat land or challenge themselves on the steep, rocky mountainside. Each September, all the guest spots are taken by hunting "gillespie ranch" cloudcroftparties, which Kent and Susan will guide through the forest. And once in a while, Kent will approach lucky and brave guests the night before the cattle rotation, and invite them to take a horse and accompany them in the cowboy work the next morning.

The Gillespies’ ranch is clearly not only a job for them. They cowboy together, and Kent wouldn’t have it any other way. He gladly admits that Susan is a much better roper than he. “She’s quite the horseman. I’m just a lucky redneck.”

The Gila Cliff Dwelling National Monument in New Mexico

June 24, 2014 in Blog

"Gila Cliff Dwellings" Gila "national park" "new mexico"The Gila Cliff Dwelling National Monument lies in the mountainous desert almost five hours west of Cloudcroft. Located near the Morgollon Historic District in Catron County, the Gila is a fascinating look into some of New Mexico’s earliest inhabitants, a tribe of the Mogollon peoples who populated the southwestern United states and northern Mexico.

Thought to have been occupied for around 25 years at the turn of the 14th century, the dwellings were originally formed in the face of the cliffs from volcanic activity, behind thick growths of trees. They provided good shelter, the five caves having been built into 46 rooms; the nearby woods also concealed the dwellings from potentially dangerous passerby. Today, the monument is accessible by hiking about a mile up a trail; you’ll also find a museum and visitor’s center.

"gila cliff dwellings" gila cave "new Mexico"While a five hour drive from Cloudcroft is kind of intimidating, the Mogollon Mountains and Gila River areas offer plenty of other hiking opportunities, as well as more ancient Amerindian sites and river rafting—if you’re staying in Cloudcroft (say at Spruce Cabins, for example) for a week, spending a couple days exploring the sites in the Gila Wilderness is a great addition to a summer vacation in southern New Mexico.

New Mexico’s Craft Beer

May 13, 2014 in Blog

"new mexico" "craft beer" beerThese days, you can hardly throw an empty beer can without hitting a craft-beer enthusiast. Craft beer mania is in full swing across the country, and it’s incredibly popular in the Land of Enchantment. New Mexico boasts nearly 40 independent breweries, brewpubs, and taprooms; while most can be found in and around Albuquerque, others are scattered throughout the far reaches of the state. Even Deming and Farmington have craft breweries!

"santa fe" beer "craft beer" New Mexico’s first foray into independently-brewed beer came in 1988 when Santa Fe Brewing Company opened its doors; nowadays, you can find its beers all across the country. In state, Santa Fe beers, like its Happy Camper IPA are hugely popular; connoisseurs also look for beers from outfits like Tractor in Los Lunas, Blue Heron in Embudo, and Turtle Mountain in Rio Rancho.

If you’re interested in taking a “brew-cation”, www.NewMexico.org has a handy New Mexico “ale trail” map. Sometimes a trip to the beach, the mountains, or a big city is a great way to spend a week, but a vacation spent drinking hand-crafted beers is pretty awesome, too!

ET’s Home in the Land of Enchantment

April 27, 2014 in Blog

"New Mexico" "land of enchantment"As everyone knows, New Mexico is the Land of Enchantment. From stunning vistas of the southwestern desert to the gypsum crystals that give White Sands its name, our great state is full of natural treasures. Of course, there are also the aliens, most famously the ones who supposedly crash landed near Roswell in 1947. Whether or not they were real is anyone’s guess, one famous alien creature really did find its way to New Mexico soil, though he himself was a fictional character. We’re talking about E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, the star of Steven Spielberg’s 1982 blockbuster.

And actually, E.T. didn’t actually make it here, but most of the unsold copies of a video game based on the movie did. Famed video game company Atari released an E.T. game after the movie in 1983, thinking it could capitalize on the film’s runaway success, but the resulting product was terrible, and Atari decided to take it off toy store shelves.

ET Alamogordo atariOne day in the fall of ’83, the Alamogordo Daily News reported between 10 and 20 truckloads of the game were transported to an Alamogordo landfill for disposal. The site was chosen because excavation of the landfill was prohibited, and its refuse was crushed nightly.

Thirty years later, the city gave a Canadian entertainment company a six month window to dig up the landfill in order to produce a documentary; on April 26, 2014, the digging began. Hopefully they found more concrete evidence that these “aliens” were actually there!