A Hike Along The Cloud Climbing Railroad

A replica of the old Cloudcroft train station at the trailhead.

A replica of the old Cloudcroft train station at the trailhead.

Yesterday we finally got some nice sunny weather to get out and hike one of the trails we like here. We’ve actually done this hike about 3 times now, but it’s one of our favorites. Much of the trail follows the old rail that ran from Alamogordo, NM to Cloudcroft, NM and back. The tracks are all gone but there are bits of coal and old rotten cross ties, as well as a recently restored trestle that can also be seen from US 82 West of Cloudcroft.

A view from an observation deck along the trail. White Sands can be seen in the distance.

A view from an observation deck along the trail. White Sands can be seen in the distance.

The last train ran this route in 1948 and passenger service stopped in 1938. The parking area at the trailhead was very busy and we got one of the last parking spots. Despite that, once we got a couple miles along our near 8 mile hike, we never saw another person. It’s not that we aren’t social, we love being social… sometimes. We just really like hiking alone most of the time.

A few other hikers in front of us along the first mile.

A few other hikers in front of us along the first mile.

The Switchback trail we hiked is mostly down hill the first half, but the second half along part of the Old Cloudcroft Highway was all up hill. The elevation change along our route was 950 ft.

A tunnel that goes under US 82 that is part of the trail system.

A tunnel that goes under US 82 that is part of the trail system.

I didn’t get a shot of the restored trestle but we’ll go back and get one later if we get a chance, or I’ll find an old pic and post it. All in all, the hike took about 3 hours total. Some areas can be moderately difficult because of the high elevation and long climb on the second half, but the terrain is pretty easy most of the trail.

A perfect end to a perfect day.

A perfect end to a perfect day.

Till next time… Brian

 

 

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