New Mexico September 13, 2017
The Little-Known New Mexico Town Off The Beaten Path That’s So Worth A Day Trip
High Rolls is a tiny New Mexico ville that most people have never heard of. It’s in Otero County, just west of Cloudcroft. Nestled near the Sacramento Mountains and the Lincoln National Forest, High Rolls, and neighboring Mountain Park, are just far enough off the beaten path that they offer a pleasant break from the city. High Rolls has some fun shops to browse and easy forest paths that offer stunning views. Plus, there is great food and accommodations nearby.
High Rolls is Known for its Apple and Cherry Festivals.
If you have heard of High Rolls, it may because of their annual Apple and Cherry Festivals. The High Rolls area is one of New Mexico's fruit baskets, with apples, cherries and other fruits grown in the area. As well as the fruit festivals in June (cherries) and October (apples), there is a nearby farm where you can pick your own seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Check out the tunnel and the views on the way.
There are a couple of ways to get to High Rolls, but coming from the north part of the state, you'll need to get on US Highway 54, towards Alamogordo. Just before Alamogordo, take US Route 82, west to High Rolls. One of New Mexico's few highway tunnels is on this road. Right before the tunnel, pull out at the observation site. Take a look and have your camera ready for the outstanding view.
Enjoy small-town browsing.
There aren't many shops in High Rolls, but with 5,400 square feet of space, the Tunnel Stop Gallery has enough room and variety to keep browsers amused for awhile. The gallery features work from local artists and makers, plus other nicks and nacks. At the gallery, you'll find things like books, handbags, stained glass, and handmade soaps. They also have local produce goodies and Tai Chi classes.
Eat some fruit pie.
High Rolls – Mountain Park is also known for the Old Apple Barn, a touristy place exalting the local bounty of apples. The bakery, bistro, and emporium sells pies, fudge, and vintage gifts. Originally, the apple barn was built in 1941 and held apples to be shipped out via the railroad.
Hike to see some of the town's history.
In the early days, the railroad came to the area to export lumber from the lush Sacramento Mountains. Seeing an opportunity to bring tourists to the mountain's scenic vistas, a branch of the line was built into Cloudcroft. Since the branch traversed the mountain peaks, it got the nickname "Cloud-Climbing Railroad." Today, a short hike takes visitors to one of the old trestles and some of the views that made the line famous.
"Grandview" isn't just a name.
Another easy hike near High Rolls is the Grandview Trail. It follows part of the abandoned Alamogordo and Sacramento Mountain Railroad grade. Trail markers highlight different plants, animals and geographical features along the way. From the trail, you can even see White Sands in the distance.
See an amazing waterfall.
The Grandview Trail intersects with the trail to Bridal Veil falls, one of New Mexico's most beautiful waterfalls. Along Salado Creek, the 40-foot-high falls runs year-around. In the days of the railroad, Bridal Veil falls was a water stop along the way where passengers could stretch their legs and freshen up.
Eat some of the best BBQ in the state.
Dining choices in High Rolls proper are slim. Your best bet is to head to Cloudcroft, just a few miles away. There, head to Mad Jacks for some barbeque. Not only is Mad Jack's the best barbeque in the area, it is known as one of the best barbeque joints in the state. Expect a wait at Mad Jack's and get there early. Sometimes the central-Texas style meat sells out.
Stay right near everything you want to see.
If you are planning an overnight trip to High Rolls, you could find lodging in Cloudcroft, but you might consider one of the vacation rentals in the area. The two-bedroom
is tucked into an old apple orchard. Enjoy the sounds of nearby waterfalls and keep an eye out for elk or deer that occasionally wander by. As a bonus, the host provides freshly roasted coffee and New Mexico wine.
Have you been to High Rolls – Mountain Park? Did you see all the attractions on our list?