Peek at a ‘Pristine Wilderness Setting’: $8M Skyline Ranch in New Mexico

There are getaways, and then there are true escapes, far from the madding crowds.

On the market for $8 million, Skyline Ranch in Cloudcroft, NM, offers 152 acres of pure serenity. The spread in the southern area of New Mexico is nestled in the state’s Lincoln National Forest.

“The property is only 150 acres, but it’s surrounded by 1 million acres of national forest, and that makes it extraordinarily unique,” says the listing agent, James Overton.

He and Abigail Davidson, who are both with Sotheby’s International Realty, hold the listing. With the location comes an extreme amount of privacy.

“It’s surrounded by towering ponderosa pines on the side of a hill,” he says. “The road that goes to it dead-ends at the ranch gate. It’s incredibly quiet. You’re in a pristine wilderness setting.” 

He notes that its nonhuman residents include bear, elk, deer, wild turkey, and the occasional cougar.

Spread over three parcels, the estate includes a main house, a guest cabin perched on an overlook, a five-stall horse barn and tack room, manager’s residence, and workshop.

Operational ranch equipment is also included in the purchase price. Two mountain-fed artificial ponds filled with trout attract deer and elk, and offer sport fishing as well. The spread is perched at over a mile high, at an elevation of 7,700 feet.

The wooded expanse includes a 4,000-square-foot, single-level lodge. It was built from ponderosa and lodgepole pine harvested on the property.

The home’s current owner, who purchased the place in 2004, has since upgraded the cabin to state-of-the-art rustic luxury. Overton says the place is turnkey and in pristine condition.

The three-bedroom, four-bathroom lodge is found by entering the gated grounds and following a long drive. Greeted by a sculpture of an elk, the exterior features a large covered porch, which wraps around three sides of the house.

As you enter the woodsy retreat, the open floor plan features high ceilings, a beamed interior, and living area. It has a massive stone fireplace with French doors that open outside.

An original wood pavilion from the property’s days as a YMCA camp, in the early 1900s, is incorporated into the otherwise 21st-century construction.

The upgraded eat-in kitchen with a large granite island and counters looks out to a dining area presided over by an antler chandelier.

A master bedroom includes two walk-in closets and en suite bathroom with two sinks, and marble counters and separate clawfoot tub and shower. Two more bedrooms also connect to en suite bathrooms.

Outside, it’s easy to cook up summer feasts thanks to the barbecue, and dine on the deck. Alternatively, take in the night sky, as you cozy up to the outdoor fireplace, a popular entertaining and picnic spot.

In addition, the mountainside abode offers spring-fed water, dedicated power, high-speed internet, and “exceptional” security.

The ranch also comes with a fair share of history. Established in 1904 as a YMCA camp, the property has been owned privately since 1980. It offers plenty of room to invite family members, guests, and camping-loving friends to enjoy the grounds.

The current owners, who live in Tulsa, OK, used it as a weekend escape.

The ranch also has a fascinating tie to Smokey Bear—the long-time symbol of forest fire prevention.

As legend has it, in 1950, a young bear cub was found in the Capitan Mountains, just north of the ranch. Caught in a burning forest, the young bear survived by climbing a tree but was left badly burned.

The firefighters who rescued the cub named him Smokey, after the fictional symbol of fire prevention that the Forest Service introduced in 1944.

News of the real-life Smokey spread, and the popular animal mascot lived out his days at the National Zoo in Washington, DC, until his death in 1976, according to the Forest Service website.

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