With a combination of breathtaking views, warm weather and blue skies, Las Cruces, NM offers an array of excellent outdoor recreation and activities. From mountaintops to valley vistas, The Smart Living team shares some of our favorite things to do in and around Las Cruces.
Desert Peaks National Monument
Boasting nearly a half a million acres, The Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, is one of the area’s most revered attractions. Las Cruces residents have easy access to beautiful desert terrain that houses 243 known archaeological sites. “OMDP,” as it is known locally, includes several spots for hiking, camping and picnicking among five separate mountains ranges near town. The Robledo Mountains, Sierra de las Uvas, Doña Ana Mountains, Organ Mountains and Potrillo Mountains are local favorites.
One favorite local spot located in OMDP is Aguirre Springs Campground, which overlooks the White Sands Missile Range in the Tularosa Basin. For only $7 per campsite, this is an attractive and affordable spot to set up camp. If you’re looking for a more primitive site, try the Sierra Vista Campground. It is free and offers a full desert camping experience. Horseback riding is allowed in OMDP, with Bar Canyon Trail, Picacho Peak Trail, and the Sierra Vista Trail being the preferred locations. In addition, the Sierra Vista Trail is also great for mountain biking. It is part of the “Great Monumental Loop,” a massive bike route that features historical sites through beautiful southern New Mexico desert terrain.
Speaking of biking, if you’re looking for a more leisurely cycling experience, then explore a ride through majestic pecan orchards of Las Cruces and Mesilla. One of Las Cruces’ main agricultural exports, along with chile, are pecans. In the summer, the pecan orchards off of Doña Ana Rd and Shalem Colony Trail offer a contrasting green landscape. You can also enjoy the view down Highway 28, plus lots of welcomed shade! Many cyclists usually end at a local coffee shop, The Bean, for a quick caffeine fix and freshly made baked goods. There is a great selection of bicycle trails to choose from, all around the Las Cruces area. Check out this map of popular bike trails at Map My Ride Las Cruces – and try them all! If you need to buy a bicycle or biking gear, or if you need need repairs, check out these great bicycle stores in Las Cruces.
With the frequent warm weather in Las Cruces, many residents enjoy easy access to the famous and refreshing Rio Grande River. You can take your family to La Llorona Park off Picacho Ave. to enjoy the jungle gym, the view of Picacho Peak, and the natural river. Across the street from the park, there is a dirt turn-off where you can park and access the Rio Grande. Kayaking is frequent when the river is full, so take a picnic cooler with your favorite snacks to enjoy after your river fun. It is such a popular site, that the local Kiwanis Club, Kiwanis of Las Cruces, sponsors an annual event called Raft the Rio in which participants design their own float to fit the year’s selected theme and race down the Rio Grande. There are usually many categories for winning up for grabs, including most creative and fastest float.
Hiking is something that can be fun for the whole family, and Las Cruces has several trail options to choose from. One of the most popular is Soledad Canyon Loop, a beautiful trail in the Dripping Springs Natural Area that features the ruins of Van Patten’s Dripping Springs Resort, built in the 1870’s. The remains of this resort boast a unique history and several spectacular sites including a waterfall, best enjoyed after rainfall. This approximately 3-mile hike offers stunning views of Las Cruces. To get to the trailhead, drive east on University Ave. and turn south onto Soledad Canyon Rd. The Pine Tree Trail in the Aguirre Springs National Recreational Area is just a short distance from Las Cruces. It is a very well marked trail, easy enough for all skill levels. This trail takes you into the gorgeous Organ Mountains for an up-close look at the beautiful vegetation and breathtaking views. Picacho Peak is another great area for hiking. A dormant volcano, Picacho Peak, is now a desert adventure with zigzagging trails. Make sure to bring your walking stick, as it can get steep, and always bring enough water to stay hydrated. Once at the top, enjoy breathtaking views of the Mesilla Valley. Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park gives the option of self-guided or ranger-guided tours. Known for its wildlife viewing, charming gardens and amphitheater this is an easy 2.3-mile trail the whole family can enjoy.
Las Cruces, New Mexico has four beautiful golf courses throughout the city. With purple mountains majesty across the landscape, you’ll enjoy flying the green in any of the courses. Take your tee time at Red Hawk Golf Club, voted 2018’s #2 in New Mexico for Golf Week’s Courses You Can Play. This course is open to the public daily and offers lessons, as well as memberships. Try your swing at the Sonoma Ranch Golf Course , located in the Sonoma Ranch neighborhood. This beautiful course offers a full-service restaurant, The Sunset Grill, and a pro shop for all your golfing equipment needs.
Across town, the Picacho Hills Country Club is also nestled in a neighborhood so that its residents have easy access to the course. In addition, the Picacho Hills Golf Course sports a heated swimming pool and wading pool, six tennis courts, and a shop for golf equipment. The NMSU Golf Course offers an 18-hole course and an on-site practice facility, equipped with contoured putting greens, a short-game practice area and a driving range. Lessons can also be provided by PGA pros, along with custom golf equipment fittings.
Natural Rock Climbing
The golf courses in Las Cruces New Mexico have stunning views of the mountains. If you want to get up-close and personal, try natural rock climbing. This activity is recommended for experienced climbers. If you want to climb the Organ Mountains, ensure you bring lots of water and the proper equipment. Climb at your own risk and make sure you don’t climb alone. Natural rock climbing in the Organ Mountains is the perfect challenge for adventurous climbers. Seeking to experience beautiful views and a variety of terrain? Click here for more information!
If you’re looking for outdoor recreation specifically for you kiddos, Meersheidt Recreation center offers lots of activities including, basketball, volleyball, racquetball, and more! Las Cruces residents enjoy outdoor pools like the Laabs Swimming Pool and the NMSU Aquatic Center. Kids also love two new splash pads—one in the Las Cruces Metro Verde neighborhood and one in the Las Cruces Downtown Plaza. Kids can cool off and enjoy being splashed without having to worry about not knowing how to swim. Both are popular spots for families to cool off during the summer.
The tennis courts at Lions Park, Apodaca Park and the NMSU Tennis center are great for people wanting to connect with their inner Lars Ulrich and Serena Williams. Find out more about local tennis programs and updated schedules from the United States Tennis Association of Southern New Mexico.
New in 2019 is the Las Cruces Fitness Court. Community members can workout for free on this fitness playground. There is even an app available to download called Fitness Court that will help users learn to use each station. If pickleball is more your thing, Las Cruces has an active community of players. Be sure to check out where games are held or join the active Facebook page to learn about tournaments.
If you are an outdoor recreation buff interested in moving to Las Cruces and want more information, please contact Smart Living by clicking here or calling 575-496-7727. We’ll help you Buy Smart, Sell Smart, and Live Smart.