Dripping Springs Natural Area

Last Day in New Mexico for this trip.  9/22 is National Public Lands Day meaning it was time to get outside and stretch my legs.  No better place than the Organ Mountains right in Las Cruces just miles from the house.

My mom Sue wanted to see Dripping Springs and hit the trails with me.  Some rare thunderstorms last night meant waterfalls that are usually dry would be flowing.  Clouds covered the peaks from a distance but had no threat of rain.

Further down the trail, clouds lifted a bit revealing the hiding mountain tops.  Weather was perfect and clouds gave us some shade to hike in.

One more gratuitous shot.  Bye bye clouds!

First feature on the trail are some small historic buildings – a livery, chicken coop, and mercantile.

About 1/4 mile further are the ruins of Van Patten’s Mountain Camp, a resort hotel that operated until the 1920’s.  Visitors would arrive via a 17-mile stagecoach ride from Las Cruces.

A slightly more grim building sits closer to the springs.  Boyd’s Sanatorium was was constructed in the early 1900’s for treatment of tuberculosis.

Plant life near the springs is quite green and full including these prickly pear cactus.

Finally captured my first desert tarantula on camera!  My best guess after some amateur Google-fu is Aphonopelma anax.

1.5 miles from the trailhead we reached Dripping Springs.  Water was definitely flowing today but it’s more like a trickle than a rush.  No matter, still an amazing sight to behold in an otherwise arid desert!

While I don’t usually take many vertical photos, in this orientation I could fit the entire drop of the falls.

Hiking Data

The hike gains about 500 vertical feet but it is relatively gradual.  Much of the trail is like a 1″ gravel that feels a bit like walking in sand which can slow you down.  Not a big deal since speed wasn’t our goal and the views are awesome.  If you are in the area, don’t think twice – go hike this trail!

Lat = 32.3228111 , Long = -106.5765686 -- Show at Google Maps

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