Did you know that mountains are the most memorable natural characteristic of New Mexico? If you think you’ve been neglecting this natural wonder, it’s time to pay attention and give it the appreciation it deserves. There is an absolutely gorgeous range called the Organ Mountains, and it is not just a slice of heaven, but a slice of Southwest’s best.
Melt Your Anxiety Just by Looking at the Organ Mountains
It is a known fact that nature heals. When you are feeling so overwhelmed and stressed with everything in your life, a trip to the Organ Mountains might turn your mood around. Here are some photos that will bring a smile to your face:
The mountain range is just near Las Cruses and is nearly contiguous with the San Andres Mountains to the north and the Franklin Mountains to the south. The Organ Mountains are primarily made of igneous rock, which is why its appearance from afar sort of shows granite “needles” in the highest part of the range. Are you planning to take a photo? The guy in the photo above just broke the internet with his daring photo.
Note: The “needles” serve as the backbone of the mountain range.
Organ Mountains Are a Botanically Diverse Mountain Range and Has Approximately 870 Vascular Plant Species
It includes the Organ Mountains evening-primrose (or Oenothera organensis), and smooth figwort (or Scrophularia laevis). Both of these are endemic to the mountain range and occur only in small, scattered populations. If you ever happen to find one, go take a photo and treasure it well.
Aside from that, the Organ Mountains also boasts a high diversity in ferns. 30 of the 56 species reported for New Mexico can be found there. They also have a rich assemblage of mosses and lichens. As for the flora, it differs greatly between the three sections of the mountain range. The two igneous sections, The Needles and the central extrusive portion have a few species with the southern limestone portions. On the other hand, the limestone part has lechuguilla, which is considered an indicator species of the Chihuahuan desert.
The Organ Mountains are a 32 million-year-old range in south-central New Mexico. Many visitors have long been drawn to the adventurous promise of the rocky folds. This place is also special because it holds evidence of their attraction for humans in caves, abandoned mines, Indian rock art, and the ruins. You will find clues to the ancient people that once walked the range. This includes miners, treasure hunters, farmers, Apache raiders, revolutionaries, and more!
There Are Hiking Trails Waiting to Be Explored at the Organ Mountains
This is a National Recreation Area administered by the Bureau of Land Management. There are hiking trails accessed from four sites namely:
Aguirre Springs Campground
Come to the campground and be in awe of the needle-like spires of the Organ Mountains. From here, you will see the spires curve around a semicircle of Chihuahuan Desert habitat. The campground is at the base of the spectacular cliffs. While you won’t get an overlooking view of everything, you will still see the Tularosa Basin and White Sands National Monument. The place is abundant in alligator juniper, gray oak, mountain mahogany, and sotol.
Relax and unwind by camping at any of the 55 individual campsites. Remember that these are on a first-come, first-served basis, so you better make up your mind quick! The campground already includes some picnic tables, fire rings, pit toilets, as well as access to the Baylor Canyon and Pine Tree Trailheads. You might want to bring extra water because it is only available to the campground by the Camp Host Site area.
For day use, the fee is $5 per vehicle and $15 per bus. On the other hand, camping fees are charged at $7 per campsite, with group sites at $50. If you want to camp as a group, reservations are required.
Baylor Canyon Road
This scenic road borders the Organ Mountains, and is highly popular with visitors during spring because of the beautiful poppies in bloom. You might want to go on a road trip if you are planning to get to the other side of town. There are views of the towering Organ Mountains, as well as the entire Mesilla Valley and the mountain ranges bordering it.
Dripping Springs Natural Area
Ever wanted to go on a nice, slightly inclined trail with the whole family? Try
Dripping Springs Natural Area! It is a beginner-friendly hike that will show you an awesome overlook, interesting history, as well as flowers, and wildlife.
Dripping Springs Natural Area is known for its “weeping walls,” where the water seeps almost magically from the rock walls. It pools in a pond at the base of the cliff.
This place is formerly known as the Cox Ranch and has great biological diversity, including four endemic wildflower species. Adventure seekers will have a thrill conquering over four miles of easy hiking trails, including the Dripping Springs Trail. It boasts low elevation pinon-juniper and oak woodlands, and year-round viewing of the red-tailed hawk and golden eagle among many others.
You can also access the set of interconnected low-elevation trails around La Cueva and entering the lower parts of Fillmore and Ice Canyons. We only have one tip for you. Bring lots of water. Whatever you think you need, double it.
Soledad Canyon Day Use Area
You will find Soledad Canyon Day Use Area at the juncture of two canyons – Soledad Canyon and Bar Canyon. The area has a three-mile loop Bar Canyon Trail, which gives outdoor enthusiasts an opportunity to go on a scenic hike just close to Las Cruces.
Once you come here, you will be in awe of the scenic vistas of the central Organ Mountains and the southern Mesilla Valley. You also don’t need to worry about the “challenges” along the way. The trail is easy to navigate and only has a slight elevation gain during the first two miles. It is as if you are trekking through a desert terrain.
Following the guidance from the CDC and recommendations from state and local public health authorities, there are some BLM New Mexico offices that temporarily restricted access to recreational areas. This includes the Aguirre Spring Recreation Area campsites and restrooms, and the Dripping Springs Natural Area or La Cueva picnic area and restrooms. They also closed the Soledad Canyon Day Use Area.
Visitors who wish to come here should check the website first. Still, you may continue to enjoy the other BLM trails and open space areas.
Have you seen the Organ Mountains in real life? We are guessing it surprised you more than it should!
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