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Level: Intermediate
Length: 20 mi (32.2 km)
Surface: Other
Configuration: Loop
Elevation: +287/ -507 ft
Total: 15 riders

Mountain Biking The Cloud-climbing Rail Trail

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#46 of 282 mountain bike trails in New Mexico
#3,281 in the world

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.

First added by blakeovard on Jul 24, 2007. Last updated Apr 30, 2020. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: unknown
  • Lift service: unknown
  • Night riding: unknown
  • Pump track: unknown
  • Restrooms: unknown
  • Fat bike grooming: unknown
  • E-bikes allowed: unknown
  • Fee required: unknown
This trail information is user-generated. Help improve this information by suggesting a correction.
Getting there
From Cloudcroft, take the signed entrance to the Trestle Recreation Area, just off the south side of Highway 82 on the west side of town. The entrance is across the street from the Sacramento Mountains Medical Facility. The parking lot is about a block from the highway; the depot replica is on your right. At the east end of the parking lot is a gravel trail, take it – at the depot, there will be hikers entering the trail.
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The Cloud-climbing Rail Trail Trail map

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deth skool (on Jul 12, 2016)
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  • deth skool

    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.

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  • bugtooth

    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.

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  • Mushy

    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).

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  • pawndream

    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.

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  • bmwcolin

    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.

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