Las Cruces, NM
One day during our Las Cruce stay we left the motorhome with the intent of driving to the town of Hatch to have lunch at a well-known restaurant. As we drove through Las Cruces, a check on the restaurant’s hours revealed that they were closed for the day. OK, time for a change in plans. Since we were dressed to take a short hike on the return trip from Hatch, we decided to go up into the nearby Organ Mountains and do a hike we had on our schedule for later in the week.
So we headed up US-70 through the St. Augustin Pass to the east side of the Organ Mountains. Just a mile or so beyond the pass we turned off the highway on to Aguirre Springs Road. After six miles we came to the Aguirre Spring Campground, a 57 site BLM facility with no utilities.
As we approached the campground the mountains loomed directly in front of us, so we knew there would be a great deal of elevation gain and loss in this hike. We parked in a small lot inside the campground and found the Pine Tree Loop Trailhead nearby.
The trail is a lollipop configuration with a short hike up to a junction with the main loop. We hiked the loop in a counterclockwise direction. The trail immediately went up in a steady climb through low shrubs and grass.
About half way up the first part of the loop, we entered some snow and the trail became a bit slippery. Without hiking poles we probably would have turned around before long.
But we kept going and were rewarded with a great lunch view of the valley below with the White Sands Missile Range residential area on our right.
After a light lunch we continued up the snowy trail through the rocks.
This was our first challenging hike since returning to the west and we were quite pleased with this trail. It had a bit of elevation gain (1500 ft in a little over two miles) and the snow provided some interesting moments as we hiked across some steep embankments.
We have a few more things to share about our stay here so we have one more post about Las Cruces before moving on. More on that later . . .