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