Friday, February 13, 2015

Hiking Achenbach Canyon in the Organ Mountains

With just one full day in Las Cruces, NM we wanted to get out on the trail to stretch our legs before we spent another long day in the truck in our "beeline" for San Antonio.

The Organ Mountains dominate the Eastern horizon of Las Cruces and are part of the new Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. The Monument, established in May 2014, includes four distinct areas surrounding Las Cruces and covers almost 500,000 acres.

I chose a hike in the Organ Mountains, a little off the beaten path, that seems to be used mostly by the locals: Achenbach Canyon. I could only find a little information about this unmarked trail (here is one write up), but using the provided directions I could easily see the trail on Google Maps.

Heading up Achenbach Canyon.

Some of the hillsides were covered in yuccas.

Cresting a saddle we came upon our first meadow and some giant granite boulders.

Stripes!

Continuing up canyon and looking at the backside of the granite boulders.

We followed the trail to the top of a saddle where we could look all the way back into the Las Cruces valley;
and were stopped by a sign warning us not to continue...a military firing range was ahead of us.
We'd heard the practice artillery fire occasionally during the hike.

On our way back down canyon we took a creek bed which led us around the other side of the big granite boulders and we saw an alcove on the hillside above us. Climbing up to the alcove we found a couple of deep morteros.

A sheltered alcove with morteros.

Back to the giant granite boulders and the remnants of Achenbach tank.

We ended up being very glad it was a cold day (42 degrees and breezy at the start) and we wore long pants as there were various stickery bushes and cacti encroaching on the trail. We ended up hiking just over five miles with about 1000 feet of elevation gain and loss. This hike would be especially pretty in the spring and summer when things are green and blooming, but I'd be a little concerned about the potential for rattlesnakes hiding in all the brush!

Driving back to town we got a great view of the Organ Mountain range as well as one of the beautifully painted water tanks that are scattered throughout town.

The Organ Mountains dominate the Las Cruces Eastern skyline. 




Our two nights spent at Sunny Acres RV Park, centrally located in Las Cruces, was good. The RV park is close to shopping and only about 10 miles from the hike we did. Though there is a fair amount of road noise, it was quiet at night and the Verizon signal was good, park wifi was decent as well.

Travel day today as we head into Texas!

23 comments:

  1. Wow, not only are you guys moving fast in distance, you are also moving fast in degrees!! 42?? burrr!! I have been lulled into thinking it is summertime already. ;-) Love the striped cactus!

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    1. We much prefer bundled up hiking to the hot days!

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  2. Thanks for the info...Sunny acres and the hike...we often stop in Las Cruces for an overnight when traveling to and from Georgia.
    Your pictures are beautiful Lisa...what beautiful landscape and if you had not mentioned the temp, I would have never guessed it to be that chilly! Love the stripes!

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    1. You're welcome! We drove past the KOA on our way in to Las Cruces and noticed their sites might have some nice views and may be quieter than Sunny Acres. But Sunny Acres was just fine, the sites in the back furthest from the road would be quietest.

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  3. nice find... we will be traveling thru Las Cruces (most likely) and will add this one to the list... we will be moving to Texas too but at a much slower pace as we like to arrive when the bluebonnets do

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    1. We should be able to enjoy the blue bonnets when we are in Fredericksburg.

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  4. 42 might be out of my comfort zone... It does make a person keep the pace up, however.

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    1. I know you like your warm weather! We prefer cool for our exercise time!

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  5. Next time you pass through Deming, you might enjoy The Campos Restaurant at 105 S. Silver St. It's family owned and renowned for their stupendous holiday buffets. Reviews on Tripadvisor say their rellenos are the best. I stumbled in on New Year's and was amazed at the array. Casual atmosphere with attention to quality.

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  6. Love the desert art painted on the water tank. Yes, I'd also be wary of rattlesnakes. Do you carry any type of repellant when you're out hiking?

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    1. Not for snakes. We only carry bear spray in bear country.

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  7. The Las Cruces area has some amazing hiking.
    That's a trail we haven't done. Every time we go back we find new trails.

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    1. Between those four areas of the new monument there has got to be lots of trails!

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  8. What a beautiful and interesting hike. A military firing range is a little unnerving, but it's very cool that you discovered morteros along the trail. We also prefer hiking in cooler temps!

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    1. Yeah...bombs firing in the distance...interesting ambiance! Fortunately it wasn't constant.

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  9. What a gorgeous water tank. I've always wondered why we can't make our utility buildings and all buildings for that matter more beautiful. Love your pictures of this hike I don't know if I would have taken without having more information. Good for you!

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    1. I love it when cities make an effort to add art around town!

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  10. Looks like an awesome hike. I especially like the painted water tanks. Are all the water tanks painted differently?

    For some reason, only the top half of your striped cactus photo came through, the bottom half is blank on my screen. All your other photos came through fine.

    Can't wait to meet you to walk, hike, and eat out. Do you plan to go to the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo (www.sarodeo.com) while you're here? So much to do and see, plus some great concerts. We're going to see Styx on Friday night, Feb. 20. Concert tickets include admission to the rodeo grounds and the evening rodeo.

    See you soon.

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    1. Yes, all the tanks are painted differently, we saw two others (drive by) and they were just as pretty.

      Not sure about the rodeo...but we are looking forward to meeting you two as well!

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  11. Love those stripes and sceneries in NM. We also stayed at Sunny Acres when we were there but we did not hike nor see Organ Mountains nor those painted water tanks. How cool!

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  12. Looks like a neat hike. The mountain range from afar is gorgeous. I love the cavern opening that Hans is standing in. What a nice idea to paint the tanks. Sure makes a big difference.

    Safe travels!

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  13. Nice hike! We definitely prefer it cooler, especially when the sun's bright. Great pics - love the little striped guy. The water tank looks like a drum to me, and is very beautiful. Local artists are painting the utility boxes around town in Lodi, CA. As "payment" they put their name on them, and have a small bio in the pamphlet printed and distributed by the visitor center. Love the idea of more art anywhere!!

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