New National Monument: Organ Mountains

"Organ Mountains WSA" by Bureau of Land ManagementOn Wednesday, President Obama announced another new national monument, making the Organ Mountains his second national monument created in 2014. The Organ Mountains are located in Doña Ana County outside of Las Cruces, New Mexico, where a whopping 83% of residents wanted the area made into a national monument. They now have their wish.

Over the last decade, locals have been campaigning and building up infrastructure to support increased outdoor tourism to the area. They’re expecting more visitors to come see their mountains now that they have national monument status, and there are already established trails and day use areas. If you’re looking for a fun adventure in the American Southwest, Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument might be just what your looking for. But you better go quick before summer temperatures hit — the area reaches the upper 90s in the summer, and that’s uncomfortable even when it’s dry heat.

With nearly 500,000 acres, the Organs Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument is an area where you can get away—and stay away. There’s a lot of great resources available about the parks in the area from the Friends of Organ Mountain and the National Monument advocacy group.

What can you expect? Lots of varied terrain, verdant scrub brush plants and lots of southwestern animals and birds. Add in the Butterfield Overland Trail, Billy the Kid’s hideout, and slot canyons and spectacular and unique formations and it’s enough to keep you busy for a few days. You’ll want to plan for hot days and cool nights as average temperatures this time of year range from the upper 80s in the day to the middle 50s at night. Layers are definitely your friends for a desert adventure into the Organ Mountain area!

Keeping a supply of food and water and always being mindful of where you are is also really important in this mountain range since it’s extensive and in a dry climate. Humidity levels aren’t generally more than around 10% and with increases in elevation, hiking in the mountains might prove difficult for your body to adapt to. Be sure to pack along water supplies since finding sources of water isn’t always assured.

If you’re considering a trip to the Organ Mountains or another desert destination, be sure to come in and stock up on hot weather necessities! You’ll enjoy your trip more.

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