Our favorite weekday hike! Come meet us at Tortugas Mountain (aka "A Mountain", because it has a big "A" on it). It's an urban mountain with many, many hiking trails to explore. Every Tuesday evening we go out there, pick a random trail and enjoy a fun hike with fun people, not to mention beautiful views of the city and surrounding area.
Distance - Variable, depends on what we decide to do. Please plan between 2 and 6 mi.
Elevation Gain - Variable, but it is some 800 ft to the top of Tortugas Mountain.
Fees - None. Of course, if you carpool, please compensate your driver for gas!
Duration - Variable; we finish when we finish. We aim for finishing by 8 - 30 pm or by sunset, whichever happens earlier.
Pet Friendly - Yes. You must have a way to restrain your dog (you shouldn't need be told to bring a proper leash). Ask the other hikers before unleashing your dog.
Skill Level - Variable, If you're a beginner, please come and let us know, we might pick an easier route!
Terrain - loose, steep mountainside. We usually stay on trails but we may go off-trail if people desire something more challenging.
Weather - Typically doesn't matter, we usually hike rain or shine, unless there is a lightning storm or a particularly bad wind storm. We won't decide to cancel until an hour before the event.
Afterwards - We may head to a restaurant for libations, but we'll discuss this towards the end of the hike.
Meet - At Las Cruces - 5:50 pm at Tortugas Mountain's Sunset Parking lot (see directions below). GPS -[masked]°N,[masked]°W (http://www.meetup.com/las-cruces-hiking/events/112528322/geo:32.29748,-106.70694) (see on Google Maps (http://maps.google.com/?q=32.29748,-106.70694&z=18), OpenStreetMap (http://www.openstreetmap.org/?mlat=32.29748&mlon=-106.70694&zoom=18), USGS topo map (http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=32.29748,-106.70694&marker0=32.29748,-106.70694&z=18))
Time - We will hit the trail by 6. If you might be late call or text.
More information - Map of area (http://www.openstreetmap.org/?lat=32.28814&lon=-106.69907&zoom=15&layers=M)
Routes may vary - We usually decided which of the mountain's many trails to take right before we begin.
"Straight up" - This is the northern of the two trails on the west side of the mountain facing the city. It medium rocky terrain, medium incline. It is the quickest way up the mountain and reaches the observatory at the top.
Turtleback - This is the other quickest trail. It runs somewhat parallel to the "Straight up" trail and is slightly south. This one falls along side the Giant "A" made of white rocks on the side of the mountain. It is the other fastest way up the mountain and features medium rocky terrain, and medium incline. It goes all the way to the top.
The "A" Trail - This trail is on the west side and the trailhead is south of the Turtleback trail and north of the rock slide and it meets the Turtleback trail at the giant "A" near the top. It is medium grade medium difficulty.
The Rock-slide - A somewhat steep path on the South West side of the mountain. The Terrain of the trail is mostly scree and loose stone's so it can be tricky but rewarding. To reach it we circle the base of the mountain counterclockwise. It meets the main road and ends at the peak next to the observatory.
Boulder Pass (or the backside) - This trail is located in the center of the mountain facing the east side. It consists of medium boulders that for the most part are easy to climb. Its somewhat steep but not to bad. From our starting point we have to circle the base of the mountain before reaching the trailhead. It meets the road and goes to the peak.
The steep way - This trail is located on the north side of the mountain and is one of the steepest paths we take. The terrain is nothing too complicated. It meets the northern most main (front) trail before it reaches the top.
The Road - We follow a trail that goes counterclockwise around the base of the mountain and it meets a gated road on the southwest side just past the rock-slide. It follows the mountain up like a corkscrew. Sometimes we take this on our moonlit hikes or after potlucks.
Around the Mountain - It is possible to walk all the way around the mountain. This takes a bit of time but offers a stroll with only slight incline.
Exploratory - Sometimes we change a bit of the route, or try something new. Tortugas mountain is full of little trails.
From Interstate 25
- Take Interstate 25, exit 1 (University Avenue)
- Go east, towards the mountains.
- You'll pass two traffic light intersections, University Ave and Las Alturas/Don Roser, and University Ave and Telshor. The road curve, turning into Drippings Sands, and then Dripping Springs Road. You'll pass the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Museum on your left. Keep going.
- After about 2 miles, you'll reach the traffic-lighted intersection of Dripping Springs Road and Sonoma Ranch Boulevard. At the light, turn right onto the gravel path.
- Stay to the left and follow the gravel path to the Tortugas Mountain Sunset parking lot.
What You Should Bring
Clothing - Weather Appropriate attire. Check the day of the event, plan accordingly. You will also be exercising and sweating so keep that in mind. Wear thick soled shoes with some tread.
Water - Always a good idea in the desert.
Flashlight - We don't plan on hiking in the dark, but you never know. Headlamps are the best, but any flashlight will work in a pinch.
Kid Friendliness - As the parent or guardian you know best what your child is capable of. Use common sense, but if you need further details ask in the comments. In the end you and you alone are responsible for your child.
Medical Concerns - This is at times strenuous exercise, performed outdoors. If you are unsure for any reason please consult your physician before attempting any of our hikes.
Late Arrival - It is very important that if you are going to be late or decide to cancel at the last minute to let us know. We don't want to hold up the group because of stragglers. And please RSVP, it really helps if we have an accurate accountability of the number of hikers.
See you soon!