Organ Mountains National Monument – La Cueva Trail

The Organ Mountains are not far outside of Las Cruces, New Mexico. In fact, you will pass through them on the way to White Sands. They emerge suddenly from the flat land. Some say that they resemble organ pipes, thus the name.

Late winter at the Organ Mountains – Desert Peaks National Monument

Despite having planned to do the longer Dripping Springs Trail, due to our lack of planning and energy after White Sands, we decided to do the short La Cueva Trail. This trail led to a small cave that had long been used by both Native Americans as well as an Italian religious hermit.

Directions

Off of I-25 take route 70 heading due east. Take Baylor Canyon Road and follow the signs to the parking area by the Visitor Center. The trailhead is marked to the left of the Visitor Center.

Route

The La Cueva rocks are very prominent and are well-seen from the parking area and visitor center. Apparently, it is a loop trail, but we didn’t do the whole thing. We hiked to a little past the cave and back for a total of 1.42 miles.

La Cueva Rocks

Trail conditions

The conditions of the trail are excellent. There is a slow decline on gravel from the visitor center, then well-traveled dirt trail from there. At one point we did have to scramble up some rock to get up to the cave, but the rock is flat.

Equipment

We took no special equipment. It can easily be done in normal athletic shoes.

The experience

We did this trail very slowly, taking about an hour. You go from desert to riparian area with some lovely trees and other green vegetation and then up to the rocks. The only semi-difficult area was getting down and out of the riparian area, it was a bit steep at points.

La Cueva – “the cave”

The cave was nothing special, but the reader boards told of the story of the Italian hermit who lived in it for some time and made it more interesting.

Rocks and Flora

It is always amazing to be amongst some huge rocks. So I wasted no photo opportunity.

Rocks

The verdict

This was a good hike for us. We are used to hiking at sea level, and this was nearly 6,000 feet above sea level, so it provided a good pulmonary workout. The cave was interesting, the photo opportunities were many, and it was just the right distance.

cumulative mileage in 2019: 35.94

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