Running Indian at Alamogordo – Alamogordo, NM




Alamogordo, county seat of Otero County, New Mexico, is the micropolitan center of the Tularosa Basin. The city is the commercial and governmental center for the county. Alamogordo is a thriving center of 35,000+ residents. The city’s mild climate and pristine scenery offer its people an ambiance that enriches their quality of life. The Tularosa Basin is surrounded by the majestic Organ, San Andres, and Sacramento Mountain ranges.

Alamogordo was founded in 1898 as a terminal for the railroad. The community’s activities promoted the growth of logging, tourism, and health related enterprises. A national survey rated Alamogordo as one of the 50 healthiest places to live in the U.S. The basic beginnings are still in place. Many of the early buildings are still occupied by businesses. Tourism related activity and light manufacturing contribute to the economy. White Sands National Monument is a major attraction as are the New Mexico Museum of Space History and the Lincoln National Forest.

Holloman Air Force Base, the area’s largest employer, is located near Alamogordo, and is the home of the F-117 Stealth Fighter Wing, the German Air Force in the U.S., and the High Speed Test Track. The U.S. Army installation near Alamogordo, is the second largest overland testing range in the world. As the birthplace of the U.S. rocket program in the 1940s, today White Sands Missile Range is the testing site for the reusable rocket and numerous Department of Defense research and evaluation programs. The City of Alamogordo is closely linked to both Holloman and White Sands, both of whom represent a combined impact of military civilian annual payroll of more than $200 million and an economic impact of more than $450 million to the local economy.


Nearby Locations

Las Cruces – 68 miles  

Nestled in the fertile Mesilla Valley between the majestic Organ Mountains and the meandering Rio Grande, Las Cruces, New Mexico is quickly becoming a popular southwestern destination.  An ideal location at the crossroads of Interstate 10 and 25 brings visitors into contact with 72 holes of spectacular year-round golf, unique special events, and historic attractions such as Old Mesilla - not to mention world-class Mexican food! Las Cruces also blends a unique variety of attractions, culture, historical sites, and superb year-round weather with 350 days of sunshine per year!!
In addition, Las Cruces, has received several awards including rankings from Money magazine as one of the “best college towns to retire”, and from AARP as one of their “dream towns” to retire. Las Cruces has also been ranked by Forbes as one of the best small metro areas for business and careers.


Ruidoso – 48 miles

Ruidoso is a village in Lincoln County, New Mexico, United States, adjacent to the Lincoln National Forest. The population was 7,698 at the 2000 census. The cities of Ruidoso Downs, Hollywood, Mescalero, and Alto are suburbs of Ruidoso and contribute to the Ruidoso Micropolitan Statistical Area’s population of 21,223.

A mountain resort town, Ruidoso lies in the rugged Sierra Blanca mountain range of South-Central New Mexico, where it merges with the Sacramento Mountains to the south. Ruidoso is a rapidly growing resort community due to the region’s alpine scenery, Ruidoso Downs racetrack, and slopes of Ski Apache, the Mescalero Apache Indian owned ski resort on the 12,000-foot mountain Sierra Blanca. The tribe also operates the Inn of the Mountain Gods resort in the area, which includes a casino, hotel, and golf course. Ruidoso is the largest community in Lincoln County and serves as the regional economic hub.

Ruidoso has been experiencing explosive growth. Currently, Ruidoso is the 3rd fastest growing city in New Mexico. Massive investment has poured into the town from many developers. Major projects including large housing subdivisions, condos, and retail establishments have altered the face of the once “sleepy mountain community.”  Like many small communities that have been recently ‘discovered’, there is an ongoing debate about how best to plan for additional growth.

The village received its name from the Rio Ruidoso (Spanish for “Noisy River”), a small stream that weaves through the city.


Cloudcroft – 20 miles

Cloudcroft New Mexico is located on U.S. Hwy. 82 and is easily accessible from both east and west.  The western approach from Alamogordo is a steep 16-mile climb of nearly 5,000 vertical feet that takes travelers through a variety of climate zones.  The charming mountain village of Cloudcroft owes its existence to the beauty that surrounds it.  In 1898, an El Paso-Northeastern Railroad crew was laying out the route for the famous Cloud Climbing Railroad and stopped to rest on the summit of the Sacramento Mountains.

Standing under the tall, cool pines, the crew looked west to the vibrant slash of Whites Sands almost 5,000 feet below and picked their resting place as the site of the railroad’s lodge.  Impressed by the white clouds slipping by at almost ground level, it was a young Englishman in the party who chose the name of Cloudcroft, meaning a cloud in a field.

Beautiful scenery and spectacular unspoiled vistas are encountered at every turn of the highway.  In particular, the view from the overlook near New Mexico’s only tunnel and the graceful old wooden Mexican Canyon trestle that nestles in a canyon just outside of the village should not be missed.  This much-photographed remnant of the old logging and excursion railroad has come to be a kind of unofficial symbol of Cloudcroft.

High mountain meadows and cool air are a welcome relief from the surrounding desert on either approach.  Warm summer days are sprinkled with mountain showers that come and go quickly but which leave behind a variety of wildflowers that blanket the meadow and line the roads.  Summer temperatures reach the upper 70’s but the nighttime lows remain in the cool 40’s and 50’s.



Lincoln    80 miles

Lincoln’s idyllic and picturesque setting belies its violent past. The single road through Lincoln was once described by President Rutherford B.Hayes as “the most dangerous street in America”.   This National Historic Landmark is considered by many historians to be the most authentic old west town remaining in the United States.  Center of the bloody Lincoln County War, the little hamlet was launched into the history books by a host of famous characters including Billy the Kid, Kit Carson, Pat Garrett, John Chisum, and Lew Wallace. 

Today, as you take a relaxing stroll in their footsteps, you can visit six museums operated by the Lincoln State Monument and see numerous other historic buildings much as they looked in 1880.  Extensive exhibits document the history of the region, focusing on the Lincoln County War (depicted in the movie “Young Guns”, among many others). There are restaurants and gift shops to enjoy as well.


El Paso, TX – 89 miles

The name of the city of El Paso has a rich historic significance, comprising a shortened version of El Paso del Rio del Norte, which was the name given to the beautiful river valley by the Spanish conquistador Don Juan de Oñate more than four hundred years ago.

El Paso is the seat of El Paso County in the state of Texas and is a part of the American Southwest. El Paso has experienced the westward expansion of American pioneers, the advent of railroads to the western frontier, the days of outlaws and gunslingers, Indian wars and peace, the Mexican Revolution, the Mexican-American War, the birth of the U.S. Cavalry, and the Texas Rangers.

El Paso is located in the farthest western tip of Texas, situated on the Rio Grande river, across the border from Ciudad Juárez. The two cities, El Paso and Ciudad Juárez, are considered sister cities, and the combined populations comprise one of the largest border populations in the world.




Area Attractions

Lincoln National Forest



Located in South Central New Mexico, the Lincoln National Forest is known as the birthplace of the world-famous Smokey Bear, the living symbol of the campaign to prevent forest fires. The original bear is buried in Capitan, New Mexico.

The Lincoln consists of three ranger districts: the Sacramento, Smokey Bear, and Guadalupe. There are three major mountain ranges: Sacramento, Guadalupe and Capitan that cover 1,103,441 acres in four different counties in Southeastern New Mexico. Elevations of 4,000 to 11,500 feet pass through five different life zones from Chihuahuan desert to sub-alpine forest. Vegetation ranges from rare cacti in the lower elevations to Engelmann spruce in the higher elevations.

Temperatures also vary with elevation. At higher elevations, 7,000 feet and up, summer nights are a chilly 40 degrees F. and days are a warm 78 degrees F., while winter temperatures can drop to 15 degrees F. at night and rise to 40-50 degrees F. during the day. At lower elevations, 6,0000-7,000 feet, winter temperatures rarely fall below 0 degrees F. and usually run from teens to 50’s F. Summer temperatures range from 50 degrees to 85 degrees F. At the lowest elevations, 4,000 to 6,000 feet, temperatures are generally 10 degrees higher throughout the year.


Three Rivers Petroglyphs Site


The Three Rivers Petroglyphs Site is one of the few locations in the Southwest set aside solely because of its rock art. The number and concentration of petroglyphs here make it one of the largest and most interesting petroglyph sites in the Desert Southwest. More than 21,000 glyphs of birds, humans, animals, fish, insect, and plants, as well as numerous geometric and abstract designs are scattered over 50 acres of New Mexico’s northern Chihuahuan Desert.




White Sand National Monument



At the northern end of the Chihuahua Desert lies a mountain-ringed valley known as the Tularosa Basin. Rising from the heart of this basin is one of the world’s great natural wonders — the glistening white sands of New Mexico. White Sands is New Mexico’s number one National Monument attraction. Here, great wave-like dunes of gypsum cover nearly 300 square miles of desert. The dunes are ever changing, growing, cresting, then slumping, but always advancing - slowly, relentlessly, the sand covers all. White Sands National Monument preserves a major portion of the world’s largest gypsum dune field, along with the plants and animals that have successfully adapted to this harsh environment. The Monument is located on U. S. Highway 70, fifteen miles west of Alamogordo.





Organ Mountains



The Organ Mountains, a small and rugged 9000-foot high, 32 million-year-old range in south-central New Mexico, just east of Las Cruces, have long drawn the adventurous into the rocky folds and crevices of their steep granitic and rhyolite slopes. They hold the evidence of their attraction for humans in secluded caves, Indian rock art, abandoned mines and crumbling ruins. They speak of prehistoric hunters and farmers, Apache raiders, treasure hunters, miners, gunfighters, revolutionaries, Union and Confederate troops, hermits, early ranchers, early tourists and even tubercular patients.  The Organs offer two main recreational areas, Aguirre Springs and Dripping Springs/La Cueva.