Snow blanketed Las Cruces the day after Christmas. That didn't stop us from exploring a variety of trails.
Sierra Vista Trail
This 29 mile National Recreation Trail stays low along the foothills of the Organ Mountains. Several hikes took us along the northernmost part of the trail, from the Vado trailhead north to the Sierra Norte trailhead (off Dripping Springs Road). While mainly for mountain bikers and horses, this trail offered the most solitude and easy terrain.
|Right after the snow, the Sierra Vista Trail was the first we could access.|
|Fun hiking with my uncle and cousin.|
|A few days later, Pena Blanca at the southern end of the Organ Mountains, viewed from the Sierra Vista Trail.|
We drove out to the Pine Tree Trail at Aguirre Springs campground the day after the gate opened back up after the snow. This loop hike climbed around a bowl formed by Anvil and Sotol Creeks. It was my favorite because of the ponderosa pines.
|Starting out on the 4 mile loop of the Pine Tree Trail.|
|Dad broke trail on the 1000 foot climb into deeper snow.|
|Only animal tracks up here.|
|Ponderosa pine trees only grow on the north facing slopes at high elevation.|
|I can't believe how fast Dad still scrambles up the rocks (he's in his 70's!).|
|Views across the Tularosa Basin|
Baylor Pass Trail
This 6 mile trail is the only developed trail that crosses the crest of the Organ Mountains from east to west. The views might have been better on a clear day.
This 3 mile loop in the Soledad Canyon Day Use Area was Mom's favorite-- it was not as steep and went to a waterfall.
|Dad climbing up the waterfall.|
Stop by the visitor center at Dripping Springs.
Read Day Hikes and Nature Walks in the Las Cruces - El Paso Area by Greg Magee -this book has directions to all the trailhead, good descriptions, geology and natural history highlights, and topomaps
After hiking near Aguirre Springs, eat at the Moongate Cafe on the drive back to Las Cruces (north side of Hwy 70 west of the Brahman Rd exit). Don't be fooled by the ugly exterior and old sign. This is a perfect hiker place - inexpensive, unpretentious, delicious Mexican food with breakfast served all day. (But only open til 3 PM.)