High Altitude Race Course is a 9.3 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Cloudcroft, New Mexico that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, and mountain biking and is best used from April until November.
Trail was created for the High Altitude Bike Shop annual race. Varies from single track to gravel road. Trail is well maintained and technical in some areas. Best uses are mountain biking and hiking. The first two miles of the course are mostly down hill, with some fun technical portions. Keep your center of mass as far back as possible to avoid spilling. The race track will be identified by blue marked trees every fifty meters or so. At about mile 1.5 you'll come to a gate and an large developed camp ground to your right. Go through the gate, and look to your 11 o'clock. You'll see another gate and a single track trail moving up at a gradual incline. Follow this trail up a tough, rocky incline for another half mile or so. At about mile 2 you'll come to a gravel road. Turn left on the gravel road and within 50 meters you'll see the trail fork. Take the right fork, cross over a cattle guard, and move into an easy climb, which continues for about a mile and a half. After crossing a second cattle guard, you'll travel another hundred meters or so to an open meadow. You'll see the single track trail continue to your left as soon as you come into the meadow. The next section is a great down hill. You'll find the trail at about mile 3.75. The meadow is easy to spot. Shortly after mile five you'll come to the end of the down hill section and run into a gravel road. At this point you'll take a sharp left onto another gravel road and move into a brutal mile long climb. Around mile 6.25 you'll run into another cattle guard, the only one along this portion of the trail. You'll see a large draw to your right with a well maintained trail marked as Trail 5688. Follow this trail up the draw for another tough climb. You'll run into three trail intersections along the final portion of the course. At the first intersection you'll see a grassy meadow to your right, with a easily identifiable single track trail. Follow this trail (going left will lead you to a dead end). Within a couple hundred meters of this turn off you'll come to another intersection. Going left will take you back to Cloudcroft along a more direct route. Staying to the right will take you through a short down hill section followed by another tough technical climb, eventually linking in with Osha Trail (Trail 10). The final intersection will be marked with a sign identifying the Osha Trail Head parking lot. Going right will take you to the Osha Trail Head parking lot. Going left will take through a brief, rocky up hill section to another gravel road. Take a right at the gravel road, and then its about another 1/4 mile to Cloudcroft.
This was a good trail even if we took our bikes the wrong way by accident. it's well known and a lot of people. so for those first timer you won't get lost.
LOVED this hike! Saw deer, chipmunks, turkeys, hummingbirds, rabbits, and elk. Tip: don't actually go INTO the first meadow like the directions state. We did and wound up about 2 miles off the the real trail. When you can see the meadow, and you're at the treeline look for a very sharp left turn (you form a V). The rest of the directions follow to a tee once you get on that trail.