The Cloud-climbing Rail Trail

4.00 out of 5
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↑ 900 ft
↓ 1,700 ft
elevation (ft)

Trail Description
About this trail
About 10 miles of the old, abandoned Alamogordo and Sacramento Mountain Railroad grade that runs from Alamogordo to Cloudcroft have been converted to rail trails in various sections, and are open to the public. The sections are separately accessible and have different degrees of difficulty, from easy walking at a grade of less than 6% to an eight mile loop that consists of an elevation change of about 1,000 feet and a few steep slopes. The altitude change is from 8650 feet at the Trestle Recreation Area to 7680 feet at the bridge.

Once entering the trail turn right almost immediately onto the Village Spur trail (5001A), which leads to 5001; at this point, it is on an old railroad bed. Turn right on the railroad bed. Soon you will see spectacular views of White Sands National Monument, the Tularosa Basin, and the San Andres Mountains. After you make the turn through the Devil's Elbow, you will see on your left the remains of the Trestle. Continue on 5001, which will soon leave the railroad bed and plunge into a canyon thick with old growth forest. At the bottom of the canyon go left on 5001C. (If you want to visit the Mexican Canyon Trestle, don't take the left turn yet; continue on 5001 up the other side of the canyon, back on the railroad bed and out to the overlook, and return by the same route.)

5001C goes down the canyon until it meets 5002, the Old Road. Continue down the canyon on 5002 until you come to the bridge over 82. (You will pass an intersection with 5004; this is where you will return to 5002. After you cross the bridge you will be on the Switchback Trail, 5004.
When you come to the railroad grade, turn right. (Turning left will take you a little way down the grade to a shelter containing pictures and descriptions of the switchback.) The grade, and the trails that lead through the canyons that once held trestles, will bring you to Bailey Canyon Road, which is a gravel forest road. Turn right, and almost at once turn left on the signed 5004 trail that takes you down a canyon and under Highway 82. Follow the trail until you come back to 5002 (the Old Road). Ride up the canyon. When you come to 5001C, don't take it - instead, bear right and stay on the Old Road until it intersects the railroad bed (5001) just a few feet past the Village Spur Trail (5001A).

Look to your left; you will see the signs. Take the Village Spur Trail back to the parking lot where you started.

The Trestle Recreation Area has restrooms, picnic tables, an overlook and interpretive signs.
added by blakeovardGnarly
Trail Features
Trail features
  • Lift Service
  • Drinking Water
  •   Night Riding
  • Pump Track
  • Restrooms
  • Winter Fat Biking
Directions to Trailhead
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Trail Q&A
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Local Info & Nearby Trails
Trail Check-ins
Trail Check-ins
what's this?
Recent Trail Check-ins     (5 total check-ins)
  deth skool   on Jul 12, 2016
  joern.kallenborn   on Jun 18, 2016
  Jake05   on May 24, 2015
  Jake05   on May 17, 2015
  wrestle203   on Dec 30, 2014
Photo & Video Gallery (5)
Trail Photos & Videos (5)
Reviews (5)

Granny Gear

July 12, 2016
deth skool Granny Gear  
Review: Excellent views. Many different trail options. The trail was white it times and narrow at times but well packed and easy to ride. I was able to take an easy pace going uphill for a long time then come down really fast then have lots of tricky switchbacks. The trail was well marked and there's plenty of places to take excellent pictures. But where this site tells you to park is one of the worst spots as getting to the trail there's overgrown brush and large rocks. If you do happen to park there just push through because the trails worth it.

Granny Gear

April 10, 2016
bugtooth Granny Gear  
Review: very nice trail, scenic, though got a little lost, but found my way... Also there were people walking the trails that helped point me in the right direction.

Granny Gear

April 20, 2011
Mushy Granny Gear  
Review: Nice trail system that is labeled VERY well. Some very rocky sections and uphills (like up to the Mexican Trestle) are difficult due to the elevation. Plenty of maps at various locations along the trails. The beginning of the trail was in full shade so dress warm if starting early (I was there in April).

Similar Trail: n/a

Bunny Hop

July 11, 2010
pawndream Bunny Hop  
Review: This is a nice little cross-country trail with excellent scenery along the way. It's also very different than most of the other trails in the Cloudcroft area in that it is not riddled with rocks. Trail surface ranges from silky smooth earth to crushed gravel single and doubletrack. Very few ruts along the way. Most of the grade is pretty moderate, with one short steep section (35% grade) in the middle of Switchback Trail (T5004). This climb is over as soon as it begins, so it's not that big of a deal if you have to push your bike to the top. This trail is very well-maintained by the NM Rail-to-Trails organization and signage is excellent. Perfect trail for a mellow spin.

Similar Trail: High Altitude Race Course Osha

Granny Gear

March 22, 2009
bmwcolin Granny Gear  
Review: Awesome ride! This was my very first trail ride that I have done and its got me hooked. It has great views, great downhills, some tough (opt) uphills to get a nice work out. Plus you have a couple of different routes to chose from. You dont have to be a hardcore rider to do this trail.

Similar Trail: switchback trail, which connect to this one (if you dont mind some up hill sections.) When you see the sign for bailey canyon, go right, then to the tunnel and take a left and look for the trail by the road.

The Cloud-climbing Rail Trail MTB Trail 4.00 out of 5 based on 5 ratings. 5 user reviews.
Trail Conditions
Trail Conditions          < / > embed