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Cloudcroft is a village in Otero County, New Mexico, and is within the Lincoln National Forest. The population was 674 at the 2010 census. Despite being located in an otherwise arid region, its extremely high elevation (8,600 feet (2,600 m); one of the highest in the U.S.) allows for a relatively mild summer that makes it a popular tourist attraction in West Texas and New Mexico. It was named by Fodor's in 2002 as the Number 3 "Most Overlooked and Underrated Destination Spot." Tourism remains the primary economic driver of the village.
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.
By the end of the year, the rail line had been extended as far as Toboggan Canyon, and construction was started on a pavilion at the summit to provide accommodations for the anticipated tourists.
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