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LINCOLN NATIONAL FOREST
The Sacramento Mountains district of the Lincoln National Forest is located in the Southeast section of New Mexico between the Tularosa Basin to the west and the Pecos River Basin to the East. Cloudcroft is the largest town along Highway 82 at the crest of the mountains. Up between 8 and 9000 feet, this is a perfect summer getaway or an excellent area for winter sports. The forests are composed of Douglas Fir, Ponderosa pine, Aspen, and Oak. There is a wide range of wildlife, including Deer, Elk, and Bear. Cloudcroft is a popular recreational site for many kinds of activities, including camping and hiking. There are over 100 miles of hiking trails within 30 miles of Cloudcroft, many of which are along old logging roads, railroad grades, and existing old trails. Views from the ridges of the Sacramento Mountains over the Tularosa Basin are superb, assuming the weather conditions permit.
BLUFF SPRINGS TRAIL
Bluff Springs is 3.7 miles in on the Rio Penasco Raod C17. The area called Bluff Springs is just that, an area of many springs coming out of the hillside on the south side along the Rio Penasco. This area has a partially developed picnic area and dispersed camping along with restrooms. Bluff Springs Falls is a 30 to 40-foot falls and is visible from the parking area. Most of the water comes from one spring above the falls, but there are multiple springs along the hillside. Short trails lead to the falls and the spring above the falls.
The Bluff Spring Trail is a short 0.2-mile walk to the spring, supplying almost all the water going over the falls. This trail starts at the parking area and crosses a wood bridge that crosses the Rio Penasco. This trail is a well-manicured trail that has steps climbing up the first 70 foot climb to get on the top side of the falls. Once over the bridge, there is a well-beaten side spur from the main trail that leads to the falls about 100 yards. Above the falls, the trail heads up to a spring that supplies almost all the water going over the falls. As you walk up to this spring, notice that the hillside is just one large spring. On the return trip, take a short 100-foot walk to the area just above the falls, good view of the campgrounds and the Rio Penasco. This is a really short trail, but worth doing; I did it as a side trip on my way to a longer loop hike along Benson Canyon.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
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.