Easy! and Ya Might See an Elk!
There are good reasons to do this route... but not too many.
Highest on the list would be if there is enough snow on the ground, this is ideal snow shoe or cross country skiing. The entire path is old logging road, very wide open expanse winding up and down through the heavily forested ridges south of Cloudcroft. There are numerous offshoot, abandoned spur roads angling off that can add to the adventure and time spent out... they are obvious, divergent roadbeds, mostly grass covered, off of the primarily gravel main route. All paths deadend, but you may cut off cross country to loop/connect some of the routes back to the main road. The longest of these offshoot roadways is 2.6 miles... most others less than one mile.
This is also a very good area to enjoy a good, non-technical mountain bike ride. Running is also one of the better usages for these routes. The Cloudcroft Village is linked to the road system through a walking trail at the edge of town. You will add approximately two miles to the 8 mile potential of FR 5661 if you depart on your trek from the Village.
The area is flush with turkey, deed and elk... and seasonally, there are cattle grazing along the roads.
The route follows this wide cut roadway up through the densly covered pine forests. Active tree harvesting is still going on in this area, though it is rare to encounter a logging truck. The great aspect of this route is it's simplicity. Gravel roadway... grass covered, deadend offshoots. Really hard to get lost, and it is simply an immediate off and away from the Village. If there is snow, it will be an open pathway. And, the nicest aspect is that it is probably 2/3 uphill on the way out, so 2/3 downhill coming home. The route is rolling, with ups and downs and few flat areas.
This road can also be driven into and parked along to facilitate starting your adventure anywhere along the 8 miles, and as such is great for car camping.
This hike, bike, run, ski, shoe is effectively as long as you decide to make it. It is an out and back route, with the back usually faster and easier than the out.
So, not a great hike, but a great outing if you are staying in Cloudcroft.
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.
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