For the past three years, my parents have made the trip down to El Paso, Texas to visit my fiance and I. Every time they have come, they are just amazed at how beautiful the scenery is here and I do not disagree. I am lucky enough to live amongst the desert life and different mountain ranges. While some people would say El Paso doesn’t have a lot to offer, I say you’re not exploring enough.
The City of El Paso does have its limitations when it comes to adventure and entertainment, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay within the city limits to find something to do. If you broaden your horizon, you’ll find that this region of the nation has so much to offer like Dripping Springs Natural Area.
Dripping Springs Natural Area is about a 45-50 minute easy drive from the west side of El Paso and is just about ten miles from the heart of Las Cruces. The drive up the winding road to the base of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peak National Park is breathtaking enough.
We went on a day that didn’t have beautiful, clear skies like most days in the Southwest. It was an overcast, chilly day, but honestly, it turned out to be perfect hiking weather. We almost didn’t go because we were hesitant about the weather. I’m so glad we didn’t ax the idea.
When we arrived, we pulled up to a modest parking lot and went into the visitors center. There is no admission to the park itself, however, you are required to pay a parking fee of $5.00 per vehicle. Not horrible at all! Plus, you’re paying to help maintain the area which I totally support.
There are multiple trails to trek that vary in distance. We chose to do the Dripping Springs Trail because it seemed the most interesting. The trail is 2.7 miles and is an elevation of 413 feet (Info from alltrails.com). The hike was beautiful and there are so many photo opportunities. It is not a super strenuous hike either. You walk up a gradual incline, but it is never steep. Just keep in mind to wear appropriate clothing, shoes, and bring some water. Also, keep in mind that you’re walking mostly on loose gravel, so taking you’re time going up and down is important so you don’t injure yourself.
The reason we chose this trail was in the loop of it was an old, abandoned sanatorium and the ruins of an old camp resort The Boyd Sanitorium was constructed back in the early 1900s and treated people with tuberculosis. The Van Patten Mountain Camp was a getaway resort that was built in the late 1800s. The history of these two sites was really interesting considering they were so off the beaten path. Now, it’s very much a ghost town feel and nothing but crumbling old buildings, but still worth the hike to see. The sight of the Organ Mountains that close up was breathtaking, too.
This is definitely a must do if you ever find yourself in far west Texas or New Mexico. We didn’t do all of the trails since Dripping Springs Trail took about two hours and left us pretty tired as is. I do plan on revisiting the park again to do the other trails and even possibly this one again.
Want to learn more about Dripping Springs Natural Area? Visit the official website.
Let me know if you have visited this beautiful place below in the comments.