View Full Version : Cloudcroft NM Backpacking...

09-19-2012, 04:42
Alright, please don't fry me for this, but after a long hard summer of working, and a looming long time afterwards of working even harder, I have a four day weekend coming up in Oct, and being stuck in the El Paso area, I'm looking at back packing in the Cloudcroft area... Now here's the problem, I can't find any clear information on google about back packing that area, so maybe someone here can help me, or point me to the right forum...
Any help is appreciated, thanks in advance!

09-19-2012, 15:09
I'm looking forward to seeing this answer. All I've ever seen is in the Ruidoso/Lincoln areas.

09-19-2012, 16:15
I have been in NM 23 years and have never heard of anyone backpacking in Cloudcroft. As you found there is no search engine association between Cloudcroft and backpacking which may mean not much water.

I know that this does not answer your question but maybe Big Bend might be cool enough to slow the rattlesnakes down, the Gila may be still dealing with the aftermath of fires, or better yet head 4 hours up the road to the Pecos Wilderness. You can do a one mile backpack into White Sands to kill a couple of days.

09-19-2012, 19:14
The cloud climbing rail trail has a great reputation in New Mexico, and passes through the Cloudcroft area. There are lots of connecting trails that would allow you to extend the hike as you'd want. Views in this area are really spectacular, and fall is a good time to go.

09-19-2012, 22:26
There is a trail starting near Cloudcroft that runs along the ridge, I think its calles the Rim trail or something similar, you can hike nearly 30 miles then return on the same trail. There is no water but a road roughly parallels it and you can easily cache water where the road comes close to the trail and you can hide it well, thats what I did when I backpacked it about 8 years ago. The trail is open to motorcycles but in a three day hike I saw noone. Its not the greatest trail but its not bad.
A much better trail is the Crest trail near Ruidoso but last time I checked it was closed because of the fire earlier this Summer. Check on the National forest website, its a good one and gives good information.

09-19-2012, 22:54
I checked on the website and the trail at Cloudcroft is in fact the Rim trail http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/lincoln/recreation/hiking/recarea/?recid=34408&actid=51 The site says usage is heavy but I saw noone. I cached a gallon of water in each of two locations, much more than I needed but I was new to backpacking at that time, it took about an hour or less to drive and place the water before the hike.
The much better Crest trail in the Whie Mountain wilderness near Ruidoso is in fact still closed.
Another hike I have intended to do but never have is to make a loop in the Capitan mountains (an unusual East West range not too far away) A trail runs along the North base of the range, there is a trail that climbs to the ridgeline then another along the ridgeline over Capitan then back down to the start. A fire cancelled the time I intended to hike the trail a few years ago but it might be good now, no firsthand knowledge about this one but its reported to be solitary, water might be difficult.
From El Paso the Guadalupe National park has some great trails but in my view not so good for backpacking as there is no water. A possibility is to start at MCKittrick canyon and hike over to dog Canyon where there is a campground with water then hike back to the park, (likely a three day hike in all). The water might be dooable this way but road transport from the Park headquarters (Pine Springs I think its called) to McKitrick Canyon might be difficult unless there were two of you with two vehicles. This hike would be more scenic than the Rim trail.

09-21-2012, 04:04
After much research and deliberation, my friend and I have decided to go to Ruidoso instead. I've heard it's pretty cold up there right now, any suggestions for a hammock camper? I'm going to take my entire sleeping bag system (two sleeping bags, and a goretex bivy cover), any thoughts?