New Mexico Camping: Campgrounds Near Cloudcroft

The entrance to Sleepy Grass Campground, outside of Cloudcroft, New Mexico.

The entrance to Sleepy Grass Campground, outside of Cloudcroft, New Mexico.

Southeastern New Mexico camping opportunities abound with the great campgrounds on Lincoln National Forest close to Cloudcroft. If you are headed to White Sands National Monument, or Carlsbad Caverns National Park (neither have campgrounds), why not camp in the mountains close by? From the Tularosa Basin all the way up to Cloudcroft, there are thousands of feet in elevation change with a great diversity in ecosystems and temperatures between short distances. At 8800′ above sea level, Cloudcroft is the fourth-highest town in the United States. Even in summer it is cold at night, so pack for night time and camping accordingly.

Cloudcroft is a quaint, Old West kind of town. The local saloon, The Western Bar, has great food and weekend entertainment. The main shopping area on Burro Street has all kinds of gift shops and even boasts a well-stocked outdoor gear store with mountain bike rentals: High Altitude. The Lodge at Cloudcroft is an historic hotel with loads of charm, a gorgeous lounge and fine dining, a great spa/salon, and a golf course. If travel plans are taking you to other summer destinations, these are still great places to stay and play on your way.

La Pasada Encantada Trail Head.

La Pasada Encantada Trail Head.

Sleepy Grass Campground ($15/night for single family; 10 single group sites, 5 family/larger group sites) is five minutes outside of Cloudcroft, New Mexico. RVs no longer than 35′ are welcome, and four sites are pull-through for ease of entry and exit. The campground has a host, and firewood bundles are for sale (except during burning restrictions). There are picnic tables, four separate two-stall pit toilets, and water spigots. It is accessible by driving in from Highway 130 south out of Cloudcroft. The site was designed and built in a linear fashion–it is a nice concept in that you are not too close to your neighbor, unlike campgrounds with a loop design. La Pasada Encantada is a short nature trail that was created for the visually impaired, but it is also a nice walk for small children; its parking area is at the entrance to the campground. Driving time to White Sands National Monument: 48 minutes. Driving time to Carlsbad Caverns National Park: two hours, 30 minutes.

Deerhead Campground.

Deerhead Campground.

Deerhead Campground ($20/night for single family; 20 sites) is a three-minute drive outside of Cloudcroft, New Mexico, right off of Highway 130. RVs that are 30′ or less are welcome. The campground has a host, and firewood bundles are for sale (except during burning restrictions). There are picnic tables, three separate two-stall pit toilets, and a water spigot at the pay station. Deerhead was also designed and built in a linear fashion–but I would recommend finding a site further down canyon, as the sites closer to the pay station are right below Highway 130 and a bit noisy. Driving time to White Sands National Monument: 45 minutes. Driving time to Carlsbad Caverns National Park: two hours, 30 minutes. 

Pines Campground ($20/night for single family; 24 sites) is five minutes outside of Cloudcroft, New Mexico, off of Highway 244. RVs that are 40′ or less are welcome. The campground has a host, and firewood bundles are for sale (except during burning restrictions). There are picnic tables and fire rings, and three two-stall pit toilets with water spigots throughout. The Pines has two loops, so many of the camp sites are rather close to one another. Site #34 is a large group site which can accommodate up to four families, and is a bargain at $34 a night. This campground has a jumper trail leading to the Osha Trail, a popular hike just west of Cloudcroft on Highway 82. Driving time to Cloudcroft: 4-5 minutes. Hiking time to Cloudcroft: 27 minutes. Driving time to White Sands National Monument: 50 minutes. Driving time to Carlsbad Caverns National Park: two hours, 30 minutes. 

Entrance to Silver, Saddle & Apache Campgrounds

Entrance to Silver, Saddle & Apache Campgrounds

Apache Campground ($20/night for single family; 25 sites), Saddle Campground ($20/night for single family; 16 sites), and Silver Campground ($20/night for single family; 30 sites) are three separate campgrounds that share the same entrance and access road, about 15 minutes outside of Cloudcroft, New Mexico, off of Highway 244. RVs that are 30′ or less are welcome. There are picnic tables, pit toilets, and water spigots throughout all campgrounds. Silver Campground RV overflow area is right next to the entrance to these campgrounds, with shower stalls, a dump station, water spigots, and 52 sites for RVs of any length. There is also an amphitheater where rangers will often give talks, or where groups can rent and have their own entertainment. Showers are $5 per person per use. The RV dump station is $5 per use. Water is available: your first five gallons are free–$0.25 per gallon after. If you need to throw away garbage, there is a $2.50 per bag per day fee. Driving time to White Sands National Monument: about one hour. Driving time to Carlsbad Caverns National Park: two hours, 45 minutes.

Large group campgrounds are also plentiful–and close–to Cloudcroft. All of them have large, relatively new pavilion structures that cover two large grills, bear boxes, 9-12 picnic tables, and trash cans, as well as pit toilets with two stalls. They can be reserved at www.recreation.gov or by calling 877-444-6777. If you need space, tables, and grills for 30 or more people, here are the options:

Upper Fir Group Site.

Upper Fir Group Site.

Upper FirLower Fir Group Sites are right next to each other, off of Highway 244. If you need an exceptionally large campground, the two can accommodate up to 190 campers. Slide Group Site is right off of Sunspot Scenic Highway (a turn off of Highway 130) and can hold up to 90 campers. It also has trail head access to the Rim Trail, a nice hike with views of White Sands, the Tularosa Basin, and destinations to the West. Black Bear Group Site can hold 30-70 campers. It is right off of Highway 130 and is on the same road as Sleepy Grass Campground. It is also right across the road from Aspen Group Site, which also can hold 30-70, so the two of those group sites can be combined for a big gathering.

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2 Responses to New Mexico Camping: Campgrounds Near Cloudcroft

  1. Sandy Brown April 22, 2015 at 7:06 am #

    Looks like a wonderful place to camp! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Mike July 13, 2016 at 10:49 pm #

    Thanks for the info, I love the sleepy grass because it’s secluded and peaceful. Is there anywhere where there might be a lake or stream running by where camping is available? Thanks

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