The BLM is giving tours of the "discovery area" (i.e. where the fossil layers are that were used as justification for creation of the monument) at Las Cruces National Prehistoric Trackways Monument west of town. This area is otherwise inaccessible to the public.
From the BLM:
Come on a couple mile guided hike out to the Discovery Site, where 2500 slabs of trackways were excavated by citizen scientist Jerry MacDonald and now make up the Jerry MacDonald Paleozoic Trackways collection at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. Learn about the fossils, ancient environment, geology, and other qualities that made this area special enough to be designated a national monument. Large reptile to small amphibians to conifer leaf imprint fossils are still visible at the site.
Meet the park ranger at the wayside exhibits off of Permian Track Road. There is not a developed trail out to the site, and the hike is over uneven surfaces. Be aware of the challenging physical environment, strenuous hiking conditions, and lack of any facilities or shade shelters out there. Be prepared with water, closed toed shoes, snacks, sunscreen, cameras and whatever else you need for a healthy, happy hike. The duration of the hike will last approximately 3 hours.
DISTANCE is unknown, probably 5–6 mi.
ELEVATION GAIN is unknown, but that area has many rolling desert hills and arroyos to climb in & out of.
FEES: None. Of course, if you carpool, please compensate your driver for gas!
DURATION: 3–4 hours.
PET FRIENDLY? No.
SKILL LEVEL is probably beginner friendly.
TERRAIN is low desert, with sand, cacti, yucca. Many rolling hills and arroyos to climb in & out of.
WEATHER is clear.
AFTERWARDS we may get lunch (location undetermined).
MEET for carpool at:
- Las Cruces: 9:30 am, K-Mart parking lot on North Main/US 70 and Del Rey, near Shell. See map (OpenStreetMap or Google Maps).
- El Paso: 8:45 am, I-10 and Transmountain Road Shell. Meet and park at the gravel parking lot to the west of the gas station. See map (OpenStreetMap or Google Maps). Note: your organizer is not meeting here, please self-organize!
- Trailhead: 10:00 am. See attached flyer from the BLM under "More information" for directions, or map of parking lot.
We'll be leaving at 9:30 am SHARP!