Outstanding outdoor recreation in Las Cruces and nearby areas
The concentration of outdoor recreation opportunities in Las Cruces is a major draw for Walt, a retired military analyst and longtime Las Cruces resident. “I love to walk. I don’t like to run at all, but I just love to walk—and there are so many places to just walk and enjoy nature around here,” says Walt.
Just how much does Walt love walking around Las Cruces and the beautiful surrounding areas? You can ask his Fitbit: Walt logs an average of about 14,000 steps a day!
Location, location, location…and the perfect climate!
A quick pan of the Mesilla Valley will spark anyone’s inner adventurer: A stately volcanic mountain and towering purple peaks whisper ancient mysteries. Nearby caves, hot springs, waterfalls, and boulder ranges beg to be explored.
“There are a lot of fun things to do right here in the immediate area, and a short drive in almost any direction will open up other activities, and a day’s drive can get you to some spectacular mountain adventures,” says Walt.
Las Cruces boasts low humidity and an average of 294 sunny days a year, making it ideal for outdoor activities. “Of course the climate lets you get out comfortably most of the year—just avoid the hot summer mid-days,” says Walt.
Staying in shape is easy in Las Cruces
Though he hasn’t tired of the spectacular outdoor recreation in Las Cruces, Walt also tackles backpacking challenges in some of the “wildest, most unforgiving, and most starkly beautiful landscape on earth,” particularly in Wrangel-St. Elias and other challenging Alaskan treks.
He credits his ability to enjoy these formidable expeditions to the opportunities he has to stay active around Las Cruces.
So what are your best options for outdoor recreation in Las Cruces? Here are some of Walt’s favorites, from easy day hikes to challenging backpacking treks:
Easy hikes in Las Cruces
- The Triviz Multi-Use Trail begins on the NMSU campus and traverses South to North Las Cruces. From there you can continue on to the Outfall Channel Loop, which will take you West to the Rio Grande River. If you’re up for a third leg on your journey, you can follow the river along the La Llorona Multi-Use Path to Old Mesilla. Pick one path, or take all three for a ~14 mile panoramic trek around Las Cruces.
- Dripping Springs has several trails that are easy on the knees and provide a cool mountain retreat with stunning valley views.
- Soledad Canyon Trail is an easy path into a tranquil canyon—with the perfect waterfall backdrop for a picnic.
- The Gila Wilderness is more welcoming than it sounds! The Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument alone is worth a morning’s drive, but the 8-mile roundtrip trail near the monument is one of Walt’s favorites. You can continue an additional 2 miles along the Gila River for a soothing hot spring soak.
- Nearby Cloudcroft and Ruidoso each have many beautiful moderate trails. Though the mountain treks are beautiful year-round, make sure to plan an autumn adventure to catch the gold and rust hues of the changing leaves.
Challenging hikes in Las Cruces
- “For a challenge, you don’t have to go any further than the newly designated Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument,” says Walt. He makes a monthly 15.5 mile daylong journey from a trailhead on the West side of the Organ Mountains, along the Baylor Pass Trail to Aguirre Springs, to the Pinetree Loop, which returns him to Baylor Pass.
- People pour in from around the US (and world) for the Bataan Memorial Death March, which has both a marathon route and a shorter option. “The march itself is not too strenuous, but the distance makes it a challenge,” says Walt.
Pick a trail—any trail
No matter which path you start your journey on, the outdoor recreation in Las Cruces will keep you fit and stoke your sense of adventure. Maybe you’ll even run into Walt along the way!
“I want to see just how many million steps I can put on my Fitbit—not just for the number of steps, but for the pure enjoyment of making them and seeing where my feet take me,” says Walt.
Contact us today at 575.523.2500 for more information about why active people are relocating and retiring in Las Cruces, NM and Picacho Mountain.