Las Cruces, New Mexico
Hiking & Outdoor Recreation
Discover The Enchantment
Las Cruces, New Mexico is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream town. Walkers, runners, hikers, mountain bikers and many other outdoor enthusiasts all take advantage of Las Cruces’ moderate climate and enchanted Chihuahuan Desert setting. The surrounding area are home to over 40 designated Las Cruces hiking trails and 100s of alternate routes. Whether you’re a hiking novice or a veteran, you will find hiking trails that fit your skill level. If you are looking to connect with others who have a similar passion for hiking, you’ve come to the right place. Click below for info on some of the most popular trails in the area.
Picacho Mountain Trails & Hiking
Picacho Peak is located adjacent to Picacho Mountain, so it is an extended “backyard” for residents. This 13,000 acre recreation area is deed restricted, so residents will continue to enjoy this amazing natural amenity at their back door for generations to come.Experience the Southwest and the Chihuahua Desert like never before at the Picacho Peak Recreation Area in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
These local landmarks feature:
- Easy access from Picacho Mountain by car or by foot through the walking trails and nature paths
- A variety of outdoor activities including walking, jogging, hiking, horseback riding, and more
- Places where you can sit, relax, and take in the unparalleled views
- Historical interest points including the Dinosaur Trackways on the west side of Robledo Mountain (find out more below)
Picacho Peak Recreation Area
The Picacho Peak summit climbs to 4,959 feet above sea level and provides stunning views of Southern New Mexico. It is a great hike and takes approximately 45 minutes to ascend and 30 minutes to descend. The peak is over 9 million years old, even older than the Organ Mountains that tower to the east. Contrary to popular belief, Picacho Peak was never an active volcano. It was formed from flow-banded rhyolite which gives many of the canyons and arroyos a distinctive blue color. Making its place in history, Picacho Peak was a major landmark on the Butterfield Trail and was part of the Gadsden Purchase in 1854.
Picacho Peak is part of a 13,000 acre designated recreation area, preventing the landmark from ever being used for anything other than non-motorized recreation. The peak, maintained by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), is still part of a grazing lease for cattle. You’ll feel like a genuine part of Old West history as you hike the peak with cattle grazing in the distance. The BLM is currently working on improvements including a trail-head parking area, trail improvements, and a trail map.
Box Canyon & Spring Canyon
In addition to being amazingly beautiful demonstrations of the Chihuahuan Desert, Box Canyon and Spring Canyon hold great historical significance for the Southwest. Box Canyon is where the Butterfield Trail left the Rio Grande valley headed west for California. Spring Canyon is a natural spring that makes the surrounding canyons and arroyos uncharacteristically lush.
Both canyons are easily accessed through Picacho Mountain and are perfect destinations for hikers of all levels. There are many hills, bluffs, rocks, and cliffs, as well as more easily navigable trails. The old Civilian Conservation Corps flood retention dam, located above Box Canyon, is a perfect place to stop and enjoy a picnic or a glass of wine at sunset.
Don’t let the relatively small footprint of this mountain range fool you. Robledo Mountain, the highest point in the range, is one of the area’s best–kept secrets. The peak climbs to nearly 5,900 feet in elevation and towers 2,000 vertical feet from the banks of the Rio Grande River. The summit offers spectacular views of the surrounding areas. The peak sides are steep and rocky, but there are also trails for hikers of all levels. The Robledos offer days of fun and hiking for the whole family.
Robledo Mountain and nearby hills were formed from limestone laid down when the area was under an inland sea. When the sea receded during the Jurassic Period, dinosaurs walked across the surrounding mud flats. Their tracks were recently uncovered and survive on the mountain’s west side at a site among the best of its kind in the world. Also of historical significance, Paleo-Indians, the first human inhabitants of North America, camped around the mountain. (back to top)
Join The Club
In addition to hiking, Las Cruces and the Southern New Mexico region features excellent locations for horseback riding, biking, skiing, rock climbing, fishing, 4-wheeling, and so much more. Join one of the many local clubs for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts.