I am new to this area too but have started looking around as time permits.
There is some casual dirt road/trail riding just south of Alamogordo, if that's where you are, on BLM land along the foot of the Sacramento escarpment between here and Oliver Lee state park. Head out of town on Florida Ave / Old El Paso Hwy and look for dirt turnoffs along the left side of the road. These are mostly power line / water line access roads.
For info on trails and roads up around Cloudcroft try the USFS office (about a mile south of Cloudcroft on the road towards Sunspot). They have good maps and can give you advice on trails. Most of the trails up there are short (5 miles or less) so you kind of have to piece together a route. Rim Trail, which has been recommended above, is long but also more technical in spots... I personally would not try it on anything bigger than a 250. By far the BEST easy ride I have found up there is West Side Rd, which runs 20+ miles from High Rolls south towards Sunspot, all easy dirt with some truly awesome views along the way. Heading up the highway towards Cloudcroft, the turn off for West Side Rd is on the right near a blue tin-sided auto repair place in High Rolls. It will probably be icy now and then very muddy after the melt... maybe try late March?
Really my favorite easier rides so far are an hour north in the Capitan Mtn Wilderness area. No offense to Texas but the roads and trails around Cloudcroft are just about overrun with Texans on ATVs in the summer IMO. If you want more elbow room to yourself try heading north out of Alamo up 54 to Carrizozo, then east through town of Capitan on I think hwy380; a mile or two past Capitan look for a dirt turnoff for FS56 on the left. This will take you up to the Capitan Gap and from there you can either head east on slightly rougher dirt roads that will get you all the way up to the crest of Capitan Mtn (you will probably be the only person up there) or west on a network of dirt roads that you can follow all the way though to the ghost town of White Oaks etc. Many miles of dirt. Bring map or GPS and tank up with gas in Capitan before you head onward.
Be glad to go riding with you if you're interested. My riding style these days is mellow kind of like yours it sounds like... just enjoy getting out puttering around in the dirt and exploring on two wheels. We have a new baby, so riding time is a little tight right now but I usually manage a few hours on Sunday afternoons. Feel free to PM me... harrisrd2 AT vcu DOT edu.
Originally Posted by ffry63
Newbie to the forum, new to Southern New Mexico as well. I am interested in finding some easy off road riding (not super technical off road) or even some nice roads. I have driven on some of the roads in the Sacramento Mountains and know they are very nice but if anyone knows of any gems that would be great. Thanks