Just a few miles outside of the dry desert surrounding Las Cruces, NM lies a whole different world, Dripping Springs Natural Area. Located at the base of the Organ Mountains, about 11 miles East of Las Cruces, NM.
Going east up University Avenue, the pavement will end and a gravel road will continue up towards the mountains, just keep going and it will end at the Dripping Springs Visitor Center.
Right before you reach the Dripping Springs Visitor Center, you pass a large rock formation on your left, it is named “La Cueva”, meaning “The Cave”, very interesting place to stop and investigate.
The Dripping Springs Natural Area is open year-round, from 8:00 a.m. till 7:00 p.m. April through September and 8:00 a.m. till 5:00 p.m. October through March. There is a $3.00 per vehicle day-use fee. The visitor center is open from 8:00 a.m. till 5:00 p.m., 575-522-1210.
You will want to make a day of Dripping Springs, pack a picnic lunch, your hiking gear, don’t forget water, and head for the mountains. The scenery is beautiful and the view is spectacular. Hiking trails are well maintained and you’ll see lots of wildlife and interesting vegetation. Many rare species of plants can only be found growing in the Organ Mountains.
Springtime is a fantastic time to visit the park, the California Poppies are blooming and lots of other wildflowers dot the country side. Also, if you go in the rainy season, as the name suggests, you may see some dripping springs!
Going from the valley of Las Cruces up to the Organ Mountains is like going to a whole different state, it’s amazing how the terrain can change in just a few miles. Tired of the desert, go up to the Mountains!
Bring your camera and show your friends what you did that day, they won’t believe you were in the desert of New Mexico.
New Mexico is most certainly the Land of Enchantment!
Check out the gallery below for over 40 images of Dripping Springs all the way up to Van Patten’s Reservoir! Click on the image thumbnail for a larger view.
For more day trip ideas in the desert Southwest, go to www.sungardensinc.com