Scenic drive from Alamogordo to Cloudcroft on Highway 82

State Highway 82 travels from Alamogordo east into the Sacramento Mountains.  As soon as we got on Highway 82 we started climbing and we climbed all the way to Cloudcroft which is about 20 miles away and about 4500 feet higher.  It is at an elevation of 8650 feet and at least 20 degree cooler than Alamogordo.

The only way to Cloudcroft used to be by train over a rail line that was originally built in the late 1800’s to haul lumber.  The rail line was shut down in 1947 mostly because most of trees had been logged off but also because there was now a road.

One of the few remaining railroad trestles
One of the few remaining railroad trestles

The rail line criss-crossed the canyon many times and there were originally a couple dozen trestles, all built with lumber from the local forests.  Most of the trestles have since decayed and disappeared but this one was recently re-built.

Cloudcroft as a town isn’t anything special.  It is a place for people from Alamogordo to escape the summer heat and to ski in the winter.  It is therefore a touristy place with a lot of restaurants, motels and lodges.  The views along the way were very nice and it was interesting going from complete desert to pine forest along the way.

View of the Tularosa valley and White Sands from near Cloudcroft
View of the Tularosa valley and White Sands from near Cloudcroft
View of Tularosa Valley and White Sands from about half way to Cloudcroft
View of Tularosa Valley and White Sands from about half way to Cloudcroft

There was a cliff about half way up to Cloudcroft and we saw about a half a dozen rock climbers on it.

Rock climber
Rock climber

It was an interesting scenic drive that would have been improved by a few more scenic turn-offs.  There were a number of interesting sights along the way but no place to stop and take a look.   There were two well-built scenic turn-off’s that had handicap parking and sidewalk cuts. One had a view platform hanging off the side of the mountain that I took Susan out to, although since she’s not all that fond of heights, she wasn’t all that thrilled that I had.   It wasn’t a long drive, only about 20 miles, but it was still an interesting side trip.

 

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