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Old Cloudcroft Hiway (lower), NM

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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Distance One Way 3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,145 feet
Elevation Gain 1,000 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,200 feet
Avg Time One Way 3 Hours
Kokopelli Seeds 7
Interest Off-Trail Hiking
Backpack No
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Author imike
author avatar Guides 253
Routes 0
Photos 6,930
Trips 2,467 map ( 21,513 miles )
Age 71 Male Gender
Location Cloudcroft, NM
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Mar, Oct, Nov, Apr → Any
Seasons   ALL
Sun  4:55am - 7:15pm
0 Alternative

Going Old Style
by imike

I have read some memory accounts of Model T drives up to the cool mountain recesses... Summertime escapes along the narrow, winding, cliff lined cut that snaked up from Alamogordo, the new Railway town, to the newly built resort at the top of the mountain: Cloudcroft. The activity began as the calendar flipped over into the twentieth century. The adventure continued through the tree harvesting years up into the 1940's.

With the advent of the new road cut and the demise of the railway run, the old rutted route fell by the wayside. Some of the track was adopted into the new road bed. The upper and lower portions were left to melt away. Now, the upper section has been converted into a National Forest trail section. The lower portion sits, abandoned and forgotten.

If you take the time you can find sections of those cliff lined road beds, initially on the left side of the roadway up above mile post 4 on hiway 82... then again further up on the right beginning just before the exit to Dry Canyon. The abandon track continues all the way up to the Tunnel, and provides for an interesting trek. The excavation for the Tunnel removed the bed... be very careful in this section; it is a steep vertical drop down to the new roadway.

You can park at a variety of sites to explore the old roadbed. I suggest parking at Dry Canyon to venture down the hill, switching across to the north side of the Hiway 82 at the Runaway Truck ramp. The old track below that point is often hard to see, but it is there. Above Dry Canyon, park at one of the roadside pullouts and walk across the hiway. The old cut is easy to spot... and for the most part runs unbroken on up to the Tunnel. Once in the upper section be very careful... avoid the crumbly edges and stay away from the cliffs!

This hike is a bit out of the ordinary, but well worth the effort. Take along one of the historic recollections available in the local library and take the time to let one of those stories bring this old route back to life.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2012-10-15 imike

    One-Way Notice
    This hike is listed as One-Way.

    When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Alamogordo, take hiway 82 up to the turnoff into Dry Canyon (milepost 5+) and park anywhere along the highway below the Tunnel
    page created by imike on Oct 15 2012 8:15 pm
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
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