Pine Tree Loop Hike, Las Cruces

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.

Lunch with a view

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 . . .

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27 Responses to Pine Tree Loop Hike, Las Cruces

  1. Sherry says:

    That’s one thing we’ve learned too about this life, if today’s plan doesn’t work out then swap it out for another. The flexibility is really wonderful. Gotta love those hiking poles. We haven’t used them since the summer in upstate New York. Hiking in snow in capris, I love it!

    • placestheygo says:

      I’m just glad that we were prepared to do some hiking when plans changed, Sherry. And thank goodness for the smart phone so we could find the trailhead information. Worked out to actually be the best day to do this hike at the higher elevation. It was our only warm day with little wind. We had the sun in our face most of the climb so it got very warm. Glad I wore capris:)

  2. Maxxtrails says:

    It looks pretty with the snow and funny to see you hiking in snow with short sleeves and capris 😊

  3. pmbweaver says:

    That path looks like it has more snow than you to let us to believe. That could be mighty dangerous you know. Glad you had your polls. I’m bet that a few days in Las Cruces it was as cold on the ground level as it was on the mountaintop. So dang windy there, we were shocked. Now in Maricopa, Arizona. Much much warmer and sunny.

  4. Box Canyon Blogger Mark says:

    Nice! Snow in the high-ups around Tucson, too. So now you’re ready 🙂

  5. Glad you had your poles. That snow can slick. We are glad it is warming up in AZ.

    • placestheygo says:

      The poles were the only reason we continued, Debbie. Even with them a few spots were a little scary. Each day it is getting warmer here in southern AZ. The 70’s are predicted for the week!! No more unhooking the water at night!

  6. Jeff says:

    The snow really highlights the mountains, thanks for the pictures of it! I’d rather look at it then hike in it 🙂

  7. Gerri Jones says:

    That was quite a hike rewarded by lunch with a view!! Thank goodness for hiking poles!

  8. Jodee Gravel says:

    Those mountains are so beautiful – love that you got to hike in them. That snow and ice looks daunting, but that view is incredible! Sure glad Hatch stayed on your list :-)))))

  9. Jim and Barb says:

    I bet it felt good to get out there and stretch your legs a little. We have not been on a challenging hike for quite a while, I am sure we are going to have to take it slow our next couple of hikes to get back into condition.

  10. Laurel says:

    “Lunch With A View” once again has some elevation! Looks like a great hike—and challenging, with the snow and ice. Doesn’t seem that your time in the flatlands slowed you down at all. You’re right back to higher elevation hiking! Good job. :-))

    • placestheygo says:

      We were quite pleased, Laurel, how easily we got back on the trail at higher elevations. It seems that we didn’t lose anything while in the flat east. It was so nice to have a beautiful lunch with a view again:)

  11. geogypsy2u says:

    Even with the snow I see it wasn’t very cold by how you’re dressed. Looks like a great hike to break in on. And bonus, you got to do Hatch with friends. So thankful it’s warming up in southern AZ.

    • placestheygo says:

      We were hiking with the sun in our face and no wind so it was nice and warm which is what caused the snow to be so slick. It was the perfect hike to get us back in shape in one day:) Yes, it is suppose to be in the 70’s from here on out!! Finally:)

  12. LuAnn says:

    New Mexico has such beautiful scenery. It’s a state we really need to take the time to explore.

  13. Beautiful photos! Love the view and the snow too!

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