New Mexico is called the Land of Enchantment for an obvious reason. It’s a state filled with breathtaking views, stunning sunsets, and a variety of plant and animal life. It’s no wonder that people flock to New Mexico from all over the country to get a glimpse of the natural beauty that the land holds.
The area around Las Cruces is a paradise for the nature-loving adventure seeker. Organ Mountain Desert Peaks National Monument waits only 20 minutes outside of town and is the perfect place for an early morning hike. The Rio Grande also provides a scenic destination for hiking on the other side of town.
Here are five of our favorite hikes that are easy to get to from Las Cruces. All of these hikes can be made in a day and are a great way to get to know the area.
1. Picacho Peak Recreation Area
Picacho Peak Trail lies on the west side of Las Cruces and is the site of an extinct volcanic mountain. You can take bikes, pets, and horses on this trail. On this trail you’ll discover incricate rock formations, beautiful wildflowers, and several different species of cactus.
2. Soledad Canyon Day Use Area
Soledad Canyon is the trailhead for several trails, including a 3-mile loop through the foothills of the Organ Mountains. Both dogs and horses are allowed on the trail, and it’s also a popular place to spot native birds. This is a more rustic area perfect for the true adventure-seeker.
3. Dripping Springs Natural Area
Dripping Springs is an easy hike about 2.5 miles out to a natural waterfall. This area has beautiful views of the Organ Mountains and is a great place to view wildlife like red-tailed hawks, desert mule deer, and golden eagles. Dripping Springs Natural Area has a visitors center, 12 picnic tables, and handicapped-accessible restrooms, making it the perfect place to bring the whole family. If you want to see the waterfall at its finest, make sure to visit Dripping Springs right after a rainfall.
4. Aguirre Springs Campground
If you’re looking for a place to go camping, this is the spot for you. Aguirre Springs is on the east side of the mountain and has a strikingly beautiful landscape. The campground includes 55 campsites, 2 group campsites, toilets, and picnic tables. It’s also the starting point of the Baylor Canyon and Pine Tree trails. Aguirre Springs Campground is an ideal spot for a weekend trip out in nature.
5. Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park
This stunning state park lies on the west side of Las Cruces near the historic village of Mesilla. The Rio Grande runs through the park and is flowing most of the year. There are self-guided nature trails to hike on, or you can sign up for a hike led by a park ranger. The park has a visitors center with information about local plants and animals. Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park is a great place to bring your kids and to spot wildlife, so don’t forget to bring your bird-watching binoculars.
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