In the 1890s, the El Paso and Northeastern Railroad, organized by brothers Charles Bishop Eddy and John Arthur Eddy, arrived in the newly founded town of Alamogordo intending to continue the rail line north to the mining town of White Oaks and beyond. This required a steady supply of timber. In 1898 the Eddy brothers sent a survey crew into the Sacramento Mountains to determine the feasibility of extending a line up the summit to harvest the forests. The crew reported that not only was it possible, but the area could attract visitors. The name of Cloudcroft–a pasture for the clouds–was suggested and work on the line soon began.
Cloudcroft Ranger District headquarters is located in Cloudcroft and manages 209,668 acres. In elevations ranging from 4,600 to 9,695 feet visitors may enjoy camping, picnicking, fishing, hunting, hiking, or horseback riding, plus snowmobiling, inner tubing, and cross-country and downhill skiing. Snow Canyon, the southernmost ski area in the United States, is adjacent to the small village of Cloudcroft in the Sacramento Mountains. Halfway between Cloudcroft and Alamogordo on US 82 is the only highway tunnel in southern New Mexico. A parking area just west of the tunnel affords a spectacular view of Fresnal Canyon, White Sands, and the Tularosa Basin. Closer to Cloudcroft is another pull-off area where visitors can look back in time at the railroad trestle spanning Mexican Canyon.