It’s the end of summer. It’s the harvest. It’s time for fun and frivolity. When the heat dissipates, Las Cruces comes out to play, and this year there will be ever so much more to entertain and inform. If the Hatch Chile Festival, Las Cruces Corks & Kegs Wine and Beer Festival, Dies y Seis de Septiembre Fiesta, and Salsafest! weren’t enough, September marks the new celebration Monuments-To-Main-Street, introducing Las Crucens and visitors to our three nearby national monuments: White Sands, Prehistoric Trackways, and the newest, Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks.
Throughout the month, if you haven’t visited sites within the monuments, you’ll have ample opportunity to immerse yourself in nature and history, filling heart and head with stories almost too good to be true.
West of Fort Selden is Stolen Horse Canyon, where Billy the Kid and his fellow outlaws, Charlie Bowdre, Tom O’Folliard, and Dave Rudabaugh, spent the night more than a century ago. While in the shelter of a rocky ridge, they scratched their names in what we now call Outlaw Rock. Monuments-To-Main-Street will conduct a tour, starting in Mesilla with the courthouse where the Kid was tried for the murder to Sheriff Brady, past Outlaw Rock, and on to historic Fort Selden.
On other days, you can tour of El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, the royal road of the interior. You’ll walk a stretch of the old road near the Robledo Mountains Wilderness Study Area. Then in Las Cruces, you’ll travel Mesquite Street, another stretch of the original road, and dine at Nopalito’s Restaurant.
West of town, you can enjoy a first-timeever helicopter tour of World War II bullseye bombing targets, last seen over 70 years ago. Or tour the discovery site of the Prehistoric Trackways to observe footprints of creatures laid down more than 280 million years ago.
You can also experience a helicopter trip to see Kilbourne Hole, the 80,000-year-old volcanic crater where Apollo astronauts trained for their moon missions.
For nature lovers, there will be guided wilderness hikes in Broad Canyon, Rustler Fire trail in the Sierra de Las Uvas, and Pine Tree trail and Fillmore Canyon in the Organ Mountains. You’ll be able to tour the discovery site of the Paleozoic Trackway and observe footprints of animals laid down more than 280 million years ago, as well as hike the lava flows of the ancient Aden crater.
At White Sands, you’ll be able to take a guided hike of the Alkali Flat Trail or the ranger-led full-moon hike on September 14, where you’ll learn about nocturnal life and enjoy the spectacle of the rising moon over the dunes.
Had enough yet? Need some comfort? You can join in the health and wellness program at the Organ Mountains Dripping Springs center. Enjoy yoga, massage, and other heath and wellness opportunities and restore mind, body, and soul at this historic site. Then refreshed, hike into Ice Canyon to the Hermit’s Cave at La Cueva.
In addition to the national monument-focused tours, visitors will be able to enjoy some of our region’s celebrated festivals including the Hatch Chile Festival, September 3 – 4 at the Hatch fairgrounds, and the Las Cruces Corks & Kegs Wine & Beer Festival at Burn Lake Park. In Mesilla, you can enjoy folklorico dance, mariachi music, and Mexican cuisine in the annual Diez y Seis festival.
Other events throughout September include stargazing at Leasburg State Park, Las Cruces Comic Con for comic book aficionados, Las Cruces Pops Under the Stars concert with fireworks, and Salsafest! at month’s end.
Monuments-To-Main-Street is sponsored by the Green Chamber of Commerce, New Mexico Wilderness Alliance, Friends of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks, Las Cruces Sun-News, and Las Cruces Convention and Visitors Bureau. For a complete schedule of events, dates, times, and fees, go to Monuments2MainStreet.com.