Cloudcroft, NM to Gila Hot Springs, NM
Odometer Begin: 111, 276
Miles traveled: 282
Time spent traveling: 7 hours
Other: Most twisting, turning and winding road we have been on yet, NM Hwy 15.
Wx: partly sunny low 90s F
States traveled: NM
Another early start today got us to White Sands National Monument a little after 8. The drive was about an hour from Cloudcroft. Cloudcroft is a sleepy little town that looks like it may have a decent winter business with Ski Cloudcroft the local hill. During the night smoke from the fires to the north drifted over and laid down around the tops of the Sacremento Moutains as we drove down toward Alamagordo, we came out of the smoke and could see the dramatic views of the west side of the range. After spending about an hour walking the dunes of White Sands, we drove northwest to the Gila National Forest to see the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument.
The road to get out there is quite a road, with steep grades and turn after turn after turn for over 25 miles. We found a quiet campsite on the National Forest in the “town” (about 3 houses and a general store) of Gila Hot Springs. There are hot springs just a little way from the campsite but they are on private land and the owners charge admission, so we passed and opted for a dip in the river instead.