Black Bear Group Area

Cloudcroft, New Mexico

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Overview

Black Bear is perched atop the scenic Sacramento Mountains of south-central New Mexico, near Alamogordo and Cloudcroft. The site is surrounded by the aromatic pine trees and aspen groves of Lincoln National Forest. The group area is conveniently connected to a network of hiking and biking trails. Bring your camera and binoculars for the chance to spot elk, deers, birds, and even black bear.

The black bears are arguably the most celebrated wildlife in the area due to the fact that the original Smokey Bear was found here. While battling a fire in 1950, firefighters rescued a burned bear cub clinging to a scorched tree in Lincoln National Forest. The bear was adopted by the US Forest Service and became the real-life mascot for forest fire prevention.

Recreation

Evening skies are often clear of clouds - bring a telescope for stargazing. The campground is surrounded by a series of hiking trails. A popular hike is the Osha Trail, which is a 2.5-mile loop.

Facilities

Whether for a family reunion or a large social event, Black Bear is a convenient location for groups up to 70. No water is provided at this site, but it is available at Deerhead Campground from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Natural Features

Set 9,000 feet above sea level in the Sacramento Mountains, Black Bear is in a pine forest area overlooking the desert valley of the Tularosa Basin. The basin stretches 6,500 square miles between the Sacramentos and the San Andres Mountains.

Nearby Attractions

The campground is a mile from Cloudcroft, a quaint tourist village with New Mexico's only standing railroad trestle. It's also a quarter mile from the Rim Trail, which is popular for mountain biking, hiking, and horseback riding. Other nearby trails are open to ATV enthusiasts.

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Adventures Nearby

  • Hike the Osha Loop Trail

    Pleasant hike located in the higher elevations of the Sacramento Mountains . Fairly easy hike through forests and meadows. Very good views of the mountains, Whitesands National Monument and Cloudcroft. Abundant wildflowers in the summer. Good oppo...

    2.5 miles 400 ft gain

  • Camp at Bluff Springs

    A mile up in elevation and only a few miles into Lincoln National Forest from Alamogordo, take off on the scenic Sunspot Highway that leads to the solar observation center before a short detour off a dirt road that arrives at Bluff Springs Waterfa...

    0 miles 100 ft gain

  • Hike the Salado Canyon Trail

    Fairly easy trail on an old railroad bed. The trail is not steep and has nice scenery. The waterfall is sall but scenic, it is nice to see soe running water in the desert.

    3.4 miles 307 ft gain