Cloudcroft, New Mexico
The closest mountain retreat from El Paso, Cloudcroft is a quiet village surrounded by the Lincoln National Forest and is situated at 9,000 feet above sea level. The town has a wealth of recreational alternatives including hiking, mountain biking, fishing, horseback riding, as well as snow tubing and alpine and cross-country skiing. The center of town has an old west look with shops, restaurants and a saloon.
Gila National Forest
This attraction is located two and a half hours northeast of El Paso, off I-25. Covering 3.3 million acres, this area is the largest national forest in New Mexico and contains hundreds of miles of streams, some 20 campgrounds, and more than 1,500 hiking trails.
Ruidoso and Ski Apache
Located 7,000 feet above sea level, in the cool pines, is the village of Ruidoso, New Mexico. A vacation hideaway for nearly 100 years, Ruidoso sports a horse racing track that houses the Billy the Kid Casino and features live horse racing from late May through Labor Day weekend, the fabulous Hubbard Museum of the American West, Casino Apache, The Inn of the Mountain Gods, and numerous golf courses along with great dining and shopping. Just outside town lies Ski Apache. Run by the Mescalero Tribe of Apaches, Ski Apache boasts great skiing from November through March on the north face of the 12,003’ peak of Sierra Blanca. The surrounding Lincoln National Forest is perfect for hiking, mountain biking, camping, hunting, and fishing. The nearby town of Lincoln was one of Billy the Kid’s favorite haunts. Call 505-336-4356 for Ski Apache and 877-RUIDOSO for Ruidoso visitors info.
Located about 45 minutes from El Paso, just over the Organ Mountains near Las Cruces, New Mexico, this park features streams that run year-round and shade trees located along hiking trails. Camping and picnic sites are available. Unlike most of the time-worn mountains in the area, the Organ Mountains are jagged and steep.
Elephant Butte Lake State Park
Elephant Butte Lake is the largest and most popular lake in NM. It provides a setting for every imaginable water sport as well as a visitor center that features regional interpretive exhibits. The mild climate of the area makes this park a popular year-round destination. Elephant Butte Lake State Park headquarters are five miles north of Truth or Consequences via I-25 exit 83.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Located 110 miles east of El Paso, Guadalupe Mountains National Park has been described as one of America’s best kept secrets. Created on September 30, 1972, Guadalupe Mountains National Park preserves one of the best examples of Permian-era (260 to 270 million years ago) geology in the world. Formed from a reef in the ancient Delaware Sea, long since dry, the Guadalupe Mountains are one of the exposed sections of the 400 mile long, horseshoe-shaped Capitán Reef, the world’s largest exposed fossil reef. The park boasts 46,850 acres of designated-wilderness, the largest wilderness area in Texas, with another 35,484 acres of backcountry that are eligible for wilderness study, and more than 80 miles of trails, about 60% of which are designated for horseback riding. Trails range from easy to strenuous, and wind through desert, riparian, wooded and forested areas. Climb to the “Top of Texas,” 8,749 foot Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas or explore the Salt Basin Dunes (the park’s lowest point at 3,689’), which contains the second largest gypsum dune field in the US, on the west side of the park, near Dell City. The park has 7 of the 10 highest peaks in Texas. Trails can be steep, rocky and rugged, so wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes or hiking boots.
Only 45 minutes away from El Paso, this historic community has a distinct New Mexico feel through the surrounding fields of cotton, chile, pecan tree groves, and vineyards. Once a stop on the old Butterfield Trail and home to Billy the Kid and other notorious characters, it is now host to eateries and shopping featuring a blend of Native American, New Mexican, and Spanish influences.
Silver City, New Mexico
Silver City is remarkably rich and diverse when it comes to hiking, climbing, camping, riding, and backpacking. With its magnificent vistas, varied terrain and ample resources, Silver City is the perfect weekend getaway for just about anyone.
Big Bend Region
Big Bend is home to a few remarkable communities: Marathon, Study Butte, Terlingua Ghost Town, Lajitas, and Big Bend National Park. We highly recommend setting some time aside to visit these unique communities as they each possess their own unique charm and distinct experience. Accommodations range from convenient and comfortable to resort luxury. Guided outdoor activities such as hiking, jeep tours, horseback riding, river tours and more can be arranged via one of the local experienced outfitters. Big Bend is a diverse region with endless possibilities for adventure and discovery. Make sure to download the Big Bend Mobile App-an audio tour guide right in your hands!
White Sands National Monument
At the northern end of the Chihuahuan Desert lies the world’s largest gypsum dune field. White Sands National Monument preserves a major portion of this gypsum dune field, along with the plants and animals that have successfully adapted to this constantly changing environment.