Itching to get outside and be surrounded by nature? We are, too! There are many outdoor activities to enjoy in and around Las Cruces and one of them is hiking. The area offers a wide variety of hiking trails that casual to advanced hikers and even rock climbers will enjoy. From Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park to the Organ Needle, our local hiking scene is full of amazing views, animals, plants, and much more. Whether you enjoy sunrise or evening hikes, long or short hikes, easy or challenging hikes, you have a lot from which to choose!
Picacho Peak Recreation Area has over 15 miles of hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails. The 1.5-mile hike up to the 4,959-foot peak rewards your effort with beautiful views of the neighboring Organ Mountains and all of the Mesilla Valley.
Fun fact: Picacho Peak is a 35-million-year-old volcanic mountain composed of rhyolite that solidified at the surface.
Activities: Hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, nature study, photography, picnicking, OHV
Facilities: Two shaded picnic tables available.
Good to know: Open year-round, OHV use limited to existing 4WD routes. The peak is only open to hiking.
Designated a National Natural Landmark in 1975, Kilbourne Hole is a great place to visit and hike. It is part of the Portillo volcanic field and was created between 24,000 and 80,000 years ago. The trail has some brief up and down sections as it follows along the crater rim. Sandy portions of the trail require endurance and perseverance; many say that the loop feels longer than 7.8 miles.
Fun fact: A perfect example of a Marr Crater, which is a low-relief, broad volcanic crater formed by shallow explosive eruptions. The explosions are usually caused by the heating and boiling of groundwater caused by magma. After, the crater often fills with water to form a lake.
Activities: Hiking and geological experience
Good to know: The trail is recommended for moderate to advanced hikers.
The Organ Needle trail climbs a total of 4,490 feet in a short span of just four miles. It is entirely uphill without much relief. There are also many underdeveloped trails that require a little bit of mild rock climbing. The hike usually takes 10 hours and the way down isn’t easy by any means! The steepness of the trail is what makes this hiking experience the most challenging.
Fun fact: Organ Needle is the highest peak in Southern New Mexico.
Activities: Hiking, climbing, and mountaineering
Good to know: This is for experienced hikers only. Experienced hikers have often deemed the Organ Needle the most difficult hike in New Mexico. Attempt at your own risk.
The Dripping Springs Natural Area has over four miles of easy hiking trails, including the Dripping Springs Trail and the Talavera Trailhead. The area has excellent wildlife viewing opportunities. This area is filled with fascinating history as well, from the story of the hermit of La Cueva to the remains of the former resort and TB sanitorium you’ll find along the trail.
Fun fact: Dripping Springs is known for its “weeping walls.” When the area receives enough rain, beautiful waterfalls begin to emerge all throughout the natural area.
Activities: Hiking, birding, history
Facilities: The Dripping Springs Natural Area has a visitor center, handicapped-accessible restrooms, 12 picnic sites, and one large family/group picnic site that can be reserved through the BLM Las Cruces District Office. There is no camping and pets are allowed only on designated trails.
Good to know: $5 per vehicle for day use, $15 per bus. There is a local Las Cruces District annual day use pass for $30.
The day use area at Soledad Canyon is at the juncture of two canyons, Bar Canyon and Soledad Canyon. Bar Canyon Trail is a three-mile loop that offers an easy and scenic hike. The wildlife and desert foliage are abundant. There are also amazing rock formations on either side of the canyon for those who like a little rock climbing. There is even an old rock house that is falling victim to the elements that serves as a great photo opportunity. The Soledad Canyon trail is 3.4 miles and is great for all skill levels. And to top it all off there is even a waterfall to reward you halfway.
Fun fact: At 1.63 miles you reach the old rock house
Activities: Horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking, wildlife viewing.
Facilities: There are no facilities.
Good to know: There are no fees.
The Leasburg Canyon Trail, located just off interstate 25, is a 2.4-mile hike to access the canyon. It’s recommended that you wear sturdy boots. A state recreational access permit is also required to access this hike. The trail is suited for intermediate to moderate hikers and is also pet friendly.
Fun fact: You have to cross the Rio Grande River to access the canyon. (This hike should only be attempted in the late fall or winter. Do not attempt to cross if the water is high!)
Good to know: There are no trail markers so it is recommended that you bring a wireless GPS if it is your first time.
Tortugas ‘A’ mountain
This area features two trails totaling a five-mile loop. The trail is recommended for moderate hikers and provides an advanced trail for mountain bikers.
Fun fact: Since the mountain is perfectly visible from NMSU, it was marked with an ‘A’ that stands for Aggies, the NMSU mascot that Las Cruces holds so dear.
Activities: Mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding.
Facilities: Parking areas available
Good to know: There are not many opportunities for shade, so bring sunscreen, a hat, and water.
Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park
Sitting at 3,879 feet in elevation, Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park is a stunning refuge for all types of wildlife, including waterfowl and fish with its restored wetlands. It is New Mexico’s 34th state park and encompasses 300 acres of forest along the Rio Grande river and 600 acres of Chihuahuan Desert. The area is full of scenic nature trails that are fit for all skill levels.
Fun fact: You can get a self-guided trail booklet at the Visitors Center.
Activities: Hiking, birding, camping
Facilities: Visitor Center
Good to know: Trails are easy going and you’re going to want to bring a camera.
Posted by LasCruces.com