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CANCELED: Sierra del Cristo Rey

  • Dec 30, 2010 · 11:00 AM

CANCELED. The Celebration of the Mountains has canceled this event in anticipation of the weather (high, 50+ mph winds, and chance of rain/snow). Due to the security situation that means we probably shouldn't attempt to do it alone either. Celebration of the Mountains is hosting another hike this Thursday at noon, up Mount Cristo Rey (aka Sierra del Cristo Rey) in Sunland Park, NM. When passing ASARCO on I-10, Monte Cristo Rey is the mountain with the large marble cross perched on top. Visible from Juárez and El Paso, it's the best view into Juárez and the US-Mexico border. Along the ascent are beautifully-adorned monuments and shrines to various saints as well as each of Jesus Christ's 14 stations. The area has a very high crime rate and there are have been several muggings (if not worse). It's dangerous to go alone, unarmed, or in small groups. Which is why this open house on Dec 30 is the perfect time to go -- there will be probably be several hundred people and armed guards along the route (i.e. it's safe). Also, this particular open house is great for photography: most open houses end by noon, but this one starts at noon, so you'll get the some nice late-afternoon light in your photos. It is some 5 miles roundtrip (there are many, many switchbacks). I'm unsure of the elevation gain, but it is strenuous. The Mt. Cristo Rey Restoration Committee requests a $5/person donation for upkeep of the extremely well-maintained road/path up (no rock scrambling). More information:
Mount Cristo Rey's official website,
Celebration of the Mountains event, and
my (draft) map of the area. Meet in:


  • Las Cruces: 11:00 a.m. at Pan Am Plaza near Milagro's

  • El Paso: 12:00 p.m. at the parking/lot trailhead, which is at the bottom of the mountain. Please see the map to figure out directions, it is a very confusing to get there. The best way, from my memory: take the Executive Center Boulevard exit on I-10 (exit 16). Go south, which goes down past the quarry to Paisano Drive. Take a right on Paisano Drive, heading north/northwest. Take the McNutt Road/Sunland Park/NM Rt. 273 exit (please don't miss it, you cannot turn around and return here easily). Once on McNutt Road, watch out for the signs directing you to Sierra del Cristo Rey. You'll want to take a left off of McNutt onto Cristo Rey Boulevard, which is a gravel/dirt road taking you up into a quarry. Keep following it, staying to the right. You should pass over two railroad level crossings. At the end of this road is the parking lot, where you should see a gate, trailer, and probably a lot of people.

From the event's details: Participants will join a guided hike to the top of Mt. Cristo Rey. Go on a guided hike leaving at Noon.; Hike leaders and others stationed along the way will discuss natural and man-made points of interest on the mountain and the surrounding region. At the top of the mountain will be a presentation on the statue and its sculptor, Urbici Soler; ongoing restoration and preservation efforts; and the geology of the entire panoramic vista, including the volcanic history of Mt Cristo Rey itself. Presenters along the trail will discuss Keystone Heritage Park, native plants and other topics. Geological presentation by UTEP Geological Sciences.

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  • renee s.

    good call to cancel based on the weather reports. thanks for coordinating the event. in my experience it is better to be on the safe side than put people in harms way. i look forward to the next hike - weather permitting.

    December 30, 2010

  • Samat

    No rain/snow yet, but this afternoon's winds were definitely strong enough to justify the cancellation. With the a quarter mile visibility, we wouldn't have much of a view from the mountain anyway.

    December 30, 2010

  • Michelle

    Sorry I can't join you guys but wish you a great hike (my mother has even done Cristo Rey before, so believe me, it's a cake walk compared to 1000 steps). If anyone wants to explore the unmarked trails on the northwest side of the Franklins afterwards, let me know. Exit would be Resler on your way back to LC.

    December 29, 2010

  • Samat

    I've updated the event with directions for El Pasoans. It's a bit difficult to get there... if you've suggestions on how to improve the directions, please let me know!

    December 28, 2010

  • Timmy

    ok I'm retarded the 30th is when my household belongings get delivered so I doubt I will be there...sorry

    December 27, 2010

  • Timmy

    if anyone in el paso needs to be picked up for this please let me know I plan on driving my truck should have room for 3 or 4 more.

    December 27, 2010

  • A former member
    A former member

    Great! I'll see Thursday at Milagro's...in that plaza correct?

    December 27, 2010

  • Samat

    Carpooling usually isn't a problem. I'm sorry I haven't set a meeting point for El Paso; I don't know El Paso well enough, and the hikes we've had there lately are actually closer than where El Pasoans typically meet.

    December 27, 2010

  • A former member
    A former member

    As usual I prefer to carpool..(from LC). If anyone plans to do this I'm sure I'll make it. Thanks.

    December 27, 2010

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