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Your guide to Las Cruces
All About Las Cruces
Las Cruces, New Mexico’s second-largest city, sits near the US-Mexican border on the edge of the Chihuahuan Desert, with the gargantuan Doña Ana and Organ Mountain Ranges providing a picturesque backdrop. You can explore this scenic landscape along the popular Pine Tree Trail, the Slot Canyon Trail, and other treks that lead past rugged rock formations, mountain waterfalls, and a sprawling ecosystem of flora and fauna, including the occasional rattlesnake and other desert critters.
The city features several historical monuments, including the Three Crosses that give the town its name. Downtown’s thriving Main Street has a pedestrian plaza, numerous museums — including the Museum of Art, Museum of Natural History, and Branigan Cultural Center — and galleries showcasing the art of the Southwest. You’ll also find numerous festivals celebrating Mexican and American art, culture, food, and music.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in Las Cruces?
Las Cruces enjoys plentiful sunlight for the majority of the year, with temperatures ranging from temperate in the winter to scorching in the summer. During the dry, sunny summer months, be sure to drink plenty of water, especially if you’re headed outside, and remember to pack sunscreen and a hat. In fall and winter, the city enjoys relatively cool weather during the day, but it can drop below freezing at night. The mild daytime weather creates a comfortable and enjoyable environment for hiking around the mountains and exploring the vast Chihuahuan Desert. Try the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Trail, a short family-friendly trail with labeled plants and trees.
The Harvest Wine Festival at the beginning of September highlights New Mexico’s wineries with food, live music, and a huge selection of wines. At the end of October, Las Cruces celebrates Día de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead with a candlelit procession from the plaza to the cemetery, altars to honor lost loved ones, and a giant piñata.
What are the top things to do in Las Cruces?
New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum
The 47-acre New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum is a unique indoor and outdoor museum that traces the 4,000-year history of farming and ranching in New Mexico. Interactive living history demonstrations take you from the early agricultural period — where you’ll view ancient tools and a replica of a Mogollon pit house from the prehistoric era — to modern innovations in farming.
The town of Mesilla became a part of the United States in 1854 with the Gadsby Purchase, but has retained its Mexican culture through the decades. Old Mesilla village and plaza, less than 15 minutes from downtown Las Cruces, is a National Historic Landmark thanks to the original adobe buildings, which now house art galleries, gift shops, and restaurants decorated with red chile ristras.
Dripping Springs Natural Area
About 30 minutes east of Las Cruces is the Dripping Springs Natural Area, where you’ll find four miles of hiking trails among the desert scrub and oak woodlands. You may get the opportunity to spot red-tailed hawks, golden eagles, and desert mule deer. The Dripping Springs trail is about three miles out and back with low elevation, perfect for novice hikers. Be sure to bring plenty of water, especially if hiking during the summer.