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.

Enjoy a Cupid’s Connection in Cloudcroft for Valentine’s Day

February 2, 2015 in Blog

Have you already made plans for Valentine’s Day? Will this be another year with you going to out to dinner at a crowded restaurant for an over-priced meal with a hundred other couples?

Instead, you could whisk your special loved one off on a beautiful, romantic getaway to the mountains of New Mexico. This year, Feb. 14 (Valentine’s Day) falls on a Saturday, making it perfect for a romantic weekend getaway."valentine's day" cloudcroft "new mexico romanic getaway

Rent a Room with a View

Spend a romantic weekend in Lonestar Cabin, a rustic two-bedroom cabin that overlooks the Lincoln National Forest. It is also within walking distance to downtown Cloudcroft. Minimum stay: Two nights.

Take a look at A Wonderful Place, Hawk’s Roost and other cozy vacation cabins for rent. Just imagine drinking champagne and eating chocolate-covered strawberries on the patio with a mountain view. Now that’s romantic!

For Nature Lovers Only

Cloudcroft is just a few minutes away from some of New Mexico’s most scenic views. Nature lovers can take a hike in the Lincoln National Forest or from the fascinating White Sands National Monument to Cloudcroft’s historic Mexico Canyon Trestle. You can fall in love with nature and each other all over again.

Contact Amigo Realty to book your vacation rental in time for Valentine’s Day.

*Video from Cloudcroft CVB 

Where to Stay During Hunting Season in Cloudcroft New Mexico

November 7, 2014 in Blog

hunting cloudcroft "new mexico"And just like that, hunting season has begun with a “BANG”! If you’re anything like me, this is my favorite time of year. This is a time to leave the busy, hectic hustle and bustle of big city living and return to nature. It’s time to regain our innermost senses, time to feel like a human once again and rely on our most primitive instincts and impulses. The meat fridge in your garage has once again become bare and it’s up to you to fill it back up. I have a feeling you’re not planning on calling Sam the Butcher to do the job for you! Heck no, he could never supply you with the quality non-gmo injected meat that a healthy free-roaming animal could provide. No meat supplier could ever give you the joy and satisfaction offered by successfully hunting an animal on your own."new mexico" hunting cloudcroft

If you already have your tags and license ready, there’s only one thing more you need. That one thing is a place to relax and mentally prepare yourself for the days hunt while you’re out here in God’s country. No rinky-dink, 30-minute drive Holiday-Inn is going to do it for you either. You are going to need something close… really close. Look at it this way, you’re getting up before the crack of dawn anyway, do you want to wake up even earlier and drive for 15 or more minutes before you even start your hike into the brush? The Spruce Cabins in Cloudcroft, NM is your ideal spot for keeping your mind on your hunt while enjoying all the simple comforts that are necessary. I’ve found that I can reach all my favorite spots around the Lincoln National Park with ease in just a matter of minutes from the cabins. Book your next stay with Spruce and be sure to send us a picture of your next trophy!

What to Expect When You Stay at Spruce Cabins for the First Time

September 16, 2014 in Blog

On your first trip to Cloudcroft, the first thing you are going to notice is the beautiful scenery that surrounds you as you climb up the mountain to the elevation of 8,600 feet. Making the sharp right and left curves on the 2 lane road allow you to focus on all of the aspects that this majestic land has to offer. Nestled next to Lincoln National Park, Cloudcroft’s endless amount of vegetation, wildlife, and rock formations creates the perfect countryside backdrop.

Once you’ve reached the village of Cloudcroft, you will be engulfed by the sight of a small community that has kept the feel of traditional American virtues. You will experience a spectacle that might incite a sense of nostalgia. Looking from outside, Cloudcroft is a village untouched by hustle and bustle of the big city life. However, if you look closely, you will notice that this village has most of the modern amenities and conveniences offered by most American towns. Cloudcroft offers a fair amount of restaurants to choose from, a bank with an ATM, a grocery store, and a multitude of little shops offering everything from wine and cheese tastings to custom jewelry.

"spruce cabins" cloudcroftAfter your trek though the historic commerce area of Cloudcroft, you will pass by the award winning schools where a large amount of the current residents spent their childhood days. A sharp right turn after the school will lead you up the inclined drive to the Spruce Cabins. The first cabin to your left is the main office. Inside you will find a friendly employee to assist you by handing you your cabin keys and answering all of your questions. All of the Spruce Cabins are walking distance from the main office, so you can easily walk or drive to your designated lodge.

Entering your cozy abode, you will notice that it has all the amenities you would expect from a lustrous resort. Each cabin comes equipped with ceiling fans, flat screen TV’s, wifi, full kitchens, bathrooms, and much more. Now that you’ve arrived at your home away from home, you can lay down on the bed and watch TV, sit at the kitchen table and play cards, or enjoy one of the numerous activities this community has to offer you.

We know you are going to love your stay in Cloudcroft and are going to do everything in our power to make sure your first visit is as memorable as your 100th!

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.”

Cloudcroft Black Bears

November 5, 2013 in Blog

Did you know that the living, breathing Smokey Bear was found as a cub in 1950 by soldiers from Fort Bliss, Texas? The little guy was caught high up in a tree, trying to escape the flames of the Capitan Gap forest fire. The black bear was originally named “Hotfoot Teddy,” "smokey bear" "new Mexico" bearbut the soldiers later renamed him after the US Forest Service’s mascot. Smokey is the most famous black bear from New Mexico, but all black bears are sort of special, since they’re the official state animal of New Mexico.

These days, you often read or hear about stories of black bears invading suburban neighborhoods, and these stories often give the impression that if you go on a camping vacation you have to worry. Certainly, you should be careful about leaving food out, and if you see bear tracks, you probably need to keep your distance. But at least in southern New Mexico, encountering a black bear in the wild is kind of rare; these furry, intelligent creatures are wary and shy, and they are most likely as afraid of you as you are of them.

"new mexico" "black bear" bear Of course, you may actually be on vacation in southern New Mexico to hunt black bears, in which case you’ll probably want to follow the tracks. Running from August through October, black bear season is just about over for 2013, but it is open to all weapons. If you’re only hunting with a camera, you might be able to spot one foraging before winter sets in. Either way, give our animal neighbors plenty of space, and leave the forest like you found—Smokey Bear would approve.

New Mexico’s Dunn Solar Observatory

August 9, 2013 in Blog

Anyone’s who has ever been momentarily dazed after coming out of a movie theater into the afternoon light knows that a sudden "dunn solar" observatory "new mexico" vacationincrease of light can be a jarring, blinding experience. But staring into the sun is precisely what the Dunn Solar Observatory in Sunspot was made to do. If you’re looking for a daytrip, this observatory is an interesting sojourn a mere 18 miles south of Cloudcroft.

While a weekend vacation in Cloudcroft might not afford you enough time to check out Sunspot and the observatory, you might include a trip to Sunspot in a week long Cloudcroft itinerary. The equipment in the tall, wedge-shaped Dunn tower is used to study sunspots, those swirling maelstroms of energy that darken the surface of the sun. The visitor’s center offers tours of the observatory at 2pm.

Contrasted to The Dunn Solar Observatory’s night time counterpart, the Apache Point Observatory studies the stars at night, rather than focusing on the explosive mysteries of the sun. You can visit the "new mexico" cloudcroft vacation sunsetfacilities, but the telescopes are off-limits, unless you’re a scientist, maybe.

Besides the science on display, the real treat of checking out the observatories is a beautiful drive through the Lincoln National Forest, even more spectacular as the sun is going down. After you’ve visited Sunspot, head back for dinner and drinks on Burro Avenue, and toast another relaxing vacation day in our little mountain town!

Cloudcroft’s Cloud Climbing Rail Trail

July 22, 2013 in Blog

If there’s one must-do hiking trail near Cloudcroft, it’s probably the Cloud Climbing Rail Trail. Covering something like 11 miles, the "cloudcroft railroad" vacation trails Cloudcroft "new mexico"CCRT is a winding, scenic walk through the Lincoln National Forest, combining four trails into a single network. Originally used for the lumber, and later, vacation industry that eventually gave rise to Cloudcroft, what would become the Cloud Climbing Rail Trail was created in 1990 by a retired physicist.

With the help of the New Mexico Rails to Trails Association, Tom Springer planned a trail that provided views of southern New Mexico’s gorgeous panoramas, in particular the dunes of White Sands 30 miles away! Beginning with the Trestle Trail in the Trestle Recreation area, the CCRT climbs 2.5 miles to join the Switchback Trail and the Cross-over Trail, and by crossing the highway, you can get access to the Grandview Trail.

If you’re spending all or part of your New Mexico vacation in Cloudcroft, you should Cloudcroft "new mexico" trails vacationdefinitely do some hiking in the Lincoln National Forest. Besides landmarks like the Bluff Springs Waterfall, trails like the ones that comprise the Cloud Climbing Rail Trail are great examples of our town’s natural beauty. Making a trip to the mountains is a great way to refresh your personal batteries, and a day trip to the CCRT is perfect for rejuvenation—just pack plenty of water, and be prepared to soak in a tub later!