Things To Do

Beyond El Paso

Aguirre Springs
Photograph by New Mexico Meanders
Aguirre Springs Rd.

Located about 45 minutes from El Paso, just over the Organ Mountains near Las Cruces, New Mexico, this park features streams that run year-round and shade trees located along hiking trails. Camping and picnic sites are available. Unlike most of the time-worn mountains in the area, the Organ Mountains are jagged and steep.

Big Bend Region
Photograph by Visit Big Bend

Big Bend is home to a few remarkable communities: Marathon, Study Butte, Terlingua Ghost Town, Lajitas, and Big Bend National Park. We highly recommend setting some time aside to visit these unique communities as they each possess their own unique charm and distinct experience. Accommodations range from convenient and comfortable to resort luxury. Guided outdoor activities such as hiking, jeep tours, horseback riding, river tours and more can be arranged via one of the local experienced outfitters. Big Bend is a diverse region with endless possibilities for adventure and discovery. Make sure to download the Big Bend Mobile App-an audio tour guide right in your hands!

Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Photograph by National Park Service
3225 National Parks Highway
(575) 785-3012

Carlsbad Caverns National Park was established on October 25, 1923 in order to preserve the more than 100 known caves. The Park also contains Lechuguilla Cave, which is the nation’s deepest limestone cave at 1,567 feet (478m) and the fourth longest. Carlsbad Cavern,is also highly accessible, with a variety of tours offered year-round. The evening flight of Mexican free-tailed bats (Tadarida Brasiliensis Mexicana) from the entrance of Carlsbad Cavern is one of the park’s principal visitor attractions. Free-tailed bats are a colonial species that feed entirely on insects. The colony at Carlsbad is comprised primarily of females who give birth to their young from June through July before migrating south in October to winter in Mexico.

Chihenne Ranch
Photograph by Chihenne Ranch

Chihenne (pronounced chi-hay-nee) Ranch is located in the beautiful foothills of the Black Range near the Gila National Forest. Elevations on the ranch range from 6500 feet at the ranch house to over 8500 feet at the tops of the mountains. A working cattle and horse ranch of over 12 1/2 square miles, the ranch offers an opportunity for every-day visitors to experience life on a working cattle ranch. Visitors can enjoy horseback riding, Indian site visits, excellent hiking, gold and silver mine visits, cattle roundups, cattle branding, 4-wheel off road trips, unsurpassed panoramic scenery, visits to ghost towns and much more. The ranch also hosts camps for Boy Scouts and Youth groups.

Cloudcroft, New Mexico
Photograph by Visit New Mexico
Cloudcroft, NM

The closest mountain retreat from El Paso, Cloudcroft is a quiet village surrounded by the Lincoln National Forest and is situated at 9,000 feet above sea level. The town has a wealth of recreational alternatives including hiking, mountain biking, fishing, horseback riding, as well as snow tubing and alpine and cross-country skiing. The center of town has an old west look with shops, restaurants and a saloon.

Elephant Butte Lake State Park
Photograph by Elephant Butte Lake RV Park

Elephant Butte Lake is the largest and most popular lake in NM. It provides a setting for every imaginable water sport as well as a visitor center that features regional interpretive exhibits. The mild climate of the area makes this park a popular year-round destination. Elephant Butte Lake State Park headquarters are five miles north of Truth or Consequences via I-25 exit 83.

Gila National Forest
Photograph by U.S. Forest Service
Silver City, NM

This attraction is located two and a half hours northeast of El Paso, off I-25. Covering 3.3 million acres, this area is the largest national forest in New Mexico and contains hundreds of miles of streams, some 20 campgrounds, and more than 1,500 hiking trails.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Photograph by Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Located 110 miles east of El Paso, Guadalupe Mountains National Park has been described as one of America’s best kept secrets. Created on September 30, 1972, Guadalupe Mountains National Park preserves one of the best examples of Permian-era (260 to 270 million years ago) geology in the world. Formed from a reef in the ancient Delaware Sea, long since dry, the Guadalupe Mountains are one of the exposed sections of the 400 mile long, horseshoe-shaped Capitán Reef, the world’s largest exposed fossil reef. The park boasts 46,850 acres of designated-wilderness, the largest wilderness area in Texas, with another 35,484 acres of back country that are eligible for wilderness study, and more than 80 miles of trails, about 60% of which are designated for horseback riding. Trails range from easy to strenuous, and wind through desert, riparian, wooded and forested areas. Climb to the “Top of Texas,” 8,749 foot Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas or explore the Salt Basin Dunes (the park’s lowest point at 3,689’), which contains the second largest gypsum dune field in the US, on the west side of the park, near Dell City. The park has 7 of the 10 highest peaks in Texas.

Hueco Tanks State Historic Park

For thousands of years, people have trekked to these rock hills in far west Texas. In earlier times, they came for the rainwater pooled in natural rock basins. Visitors today marvel at the imagery left by those ancient people. At Hueco Tanks, visitors can hike, rock climb, bird watch, study nature and history, picnic and stargaze. Also available are guided and self-guided tours to view rock imagery. Stop by the interpretive center, in a historic ranch house, to learn about the park and its history. Hueco Tanks is mainly a day-use park. However, they do have 20 campsites.

Old Mesilla
Photograph by New Mexico Tourism Department
Calle de Guadalupe

Only 45 minutes away from El Paso, this historic community has a distinct New Mexico feel through the surrounding fields of cotton, chile, pecan tree groves, and vineyards. Once a stop on the old Butterfield Trail and home to Billy the Kid and other notorious characters, it is now host to eateries and shopping featuring a blend of Native American, New Mexican and Spanish influences.

Organ Mountains  Desert Peaks National Monument
Photograph by Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument

Establish in 2014, this monument is the crown jewel of the southern Rockies. The mountains encompass extremely rugged terrain with a multitude of steep-sided crevices, canyons, spires, and several perennial springs. Organ Needle is the high point in the complex, topping out at slightly under 9,000 feet in elevation. In a mere three miles to the west the elevation drops over 4,000 feet, making the Organ Mountains one of the steepest mountain ranges in the western US.

Ruidoso and Ski Apache
Photograph by Visit Ruidoso
1286 Ski Run Rd.

Located 7,000 feet above sea level, in the cool pines, is the village of Ruidoso, New Mexico. A vacation hideaway for nearly 100 years, Ruidoso sports a horse racing track that houses the Billy the Kid Casino and features live horse racing from late May through Labor Day weekend, the fabulous Hubbard Museum of the American West, Casino Apache, The Inn of the Mountain Gods, and numerous golf courses along with great dining and shopping. Just outside town lies Ski Apache. Run by the Mescalero Tribe of Apaches, Ski Apache boasts great skiing from November through March on the north face of the 12,003’ peak of Sierra Blanca. The surrounding Lincoln National Forest is perfect for hiking, mountain biking, camping, hunting and fishing. The nearby town of Lincoln was one of Billy the Kid’s favorite haunts. Call 505-336-4356 for Ski Apache and 877-RUIDOSO for Ruidoso visitors info.

Silver City, New Mexico
Photograph by Visit Silver City
201 N. Hudson St.

Silver City is remarkably rich and diverse when it comes to hiking, climbing, camping, riding and backpacking. With its magnificent vistas, varied terrain and ample resources, Silver City is the perfect weekend getaway for just about anyone.

White Sands National Monument
Photograph by White Sands National Monument

At the northern end of the Chihuahuan Desert lies the world’s largest gypsum dune field. White Sands National Monument preserves a major portion of this gypsum dune field, along with the plants and animals that have successfully adapted to this constantly changing environment.

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