Many people are attracted to Las Cruces and the Mesilla Valley because of our more than 300 days of sunshine each year and access to spectacular places to explore the outdoors. When you come to Las Cruces, you can’t miss the dramatic Organ Mountains rising to 9,000 feet on the east side of the valley. The mountains offer hiking, mountain biking, birding, camping, and climbing opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts.
The mountains are part of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, which was established in 2014. Created to protect diverse areas, this non-contiguous monument encompasses almost 500,000 acres of land and is operated by the Bureau of Land Management. The desert peaks in the monument also include the Robledo Mountains, Sierra de las Uvas, and the Doña Ana Mountains, as well as the Potrillo Mountains southwest of Las Cruces, which are volcanic in nature and where you can explore Aden Crater.
Hiking, Biking, and Riding in Las Cruces
The monument includes picnic areas, 54 miles of bicycle trails (mostly in the Doña Ana Mountains), 48 miles of hiking trails including four National Recreation Trails, more than 40 miles of equestrian trails, off-highway vehicle trails, a campground at Aguirre Spring National Recreational Area, and many dispersed camping locations.
One popular hiking destination in the Organ Mountains is Dripping Springs Natural Area. Trails lead to the seasonally dripping spring for which the area is named, along with the ruins of a sanitorium that once helped tuberculosis sufferers and Van Patten’s hotel. This is also a popular place for birding and photography. Families enjoy hiking here due to the wide gravel trails.
Mountain bikers, hikers, and equestrians can enjoy trails in the Doña Ana Mountains. Campers can head to the east side of the Organ Mountains to enjoy the campground and hiking trails at Aguirre Spring National Recreational Area. Rock climbers have plenty of challenges awaiting in the Organ Mountains. The Robledo Mountains are also home to another protected space, the Prehistoric Trackways National Monument where you may see footprints of pre-dinosaurs.
State and National Parks near Las Cruces
For an easy way to immerse yourself in nature, visit the Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park and stroll the flat trails to watch for hummingbirds, roadrunners, and other wildlife, including coyotes and javelinas. The park includes a native plant and hummingbird garden and a bird blind where you can watch for some of the many birds that call the park home.
A bonus is that Las Cruces is just an hour away from the world’s largest gypsum dunes at White Sands National Park. This unique destination provides the opportunity to learn how plants and animals have adapted to a challenging environment, hiking, and even sledding down the dunes. First-time visitors are fascinated to discover that unlike sand at a beach, the gypsum stays cool to the touch year-round due to reflection and the area’s high water table. White Sands National Park is a must-do adventure for visitors to the area. The park offers special events like full moon nights, sunset strolls, and even a hot air balloon festival. Learn more here and here.
If you want to live in a community that celebrates the outdoors, reach out to Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate – Steinborn & Associates. They’ve been helping buyers make the Mesilla Valley their home for over 53 years. Locally owned, nationally known.
Posted by LasCruces.com