Prehistoric Trackways, Rustler Trail among upcoming M2M hikes

Prehistoric Trackways, Rustler Trail among upcoming M2M hikes

Monuments to Main Street, the annual monthlong celebration of our national monuments, cities, culture and history, is well under way, with over a dozen festivals, tours, bike rides, and hikes already enjoyed by area residents and visitors. If you missed events like the Hatch Chile Festival, Monumental Loop bike ride, or the first Yoga in the Monument, don’t despair: There’s more to come.

Friday, Sept. 14, take in a night of environmental and adventure films to inspire activism and transport you to the farthest reaches of the globe at the Wild and Scenic Film Festival. Tickets are $15 per person and it takes place at the Rio Grande Theatre, 211 N. Downtown Mall, beginning at 7 p.m. This event is hosted by the Friends of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks. More information at

Have you tried Yoga in the Monument, which takes place every Saturday in September? What better place to center yourself than in the beauty of the outdoors at Dripping Springs Natural Area? Come to restore your mind, body and soul in the shadow of the Organ Mountains with a unique yoga session in one of southern New Mexico’s most tranquil environments. The sessions begin at 9 a.m. and go until noon with a $5 per carload entry fee to the natural area.

Explore the Prehistoric Trackways National Monument with another Saturday activity. The Discovery Site guided hike will take visitors to the original major discovery site of Paleozoic Era fossilized trackways, footprints of numerous amphibians, reptiles and insects, dating back 280 million years. Visitors will learn about the terrestrial world of the early Permian period, and the animals that roamed the tidal flats of the ancient oceans. BLM monument paleontologists will discuss the importance of the sites to the scientific study of early Permian period track sites and the associated animal behaviors and paleo-environments of the time, which predate dinosaurs. The free hike begins at 8 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 15, and participants are asked to arrive 30 minutes early. For information, contact the BLM Las Cruces District Office at 575-525-4300 or check the M2M website.

Also on Saturday, Sept. 15, is an event that has my vote for the most beautiful balloon fiesta in the world: The White Sands Hot Air Balloon Invitational. If you haven’t witnessed colorful hot air balloons floating over the miles and miles of sparkling white sands at White Sands National Monument, you’ve missed one of the best photo opportunities around. Be there early because balloons launch around dawn and, who knows, you may be asked to help crew a balloon! There is a $5-per-person fee to enter the monument.

Sunday, Sept. 16, explore yet another of the natural wonders of our area. While on the Panoramic Peaks Tour, you will ascend the Rustler Trail through the rugged and lush beauty of the Sierra de Las Uvas, stopping atop the ridgeline connecting the panoramic peaks. From there, you will enjoy a 360-degree view of all the mountain ranges within the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument and into Texas, central New Mexico, and Mexico. Wildlife abounds, so don’t be surprised if you see mule deer, javelina, coyotes, or even an elusive bobcat. Travelling to the departure point, you will cross the historic Butterfield Overland Stagecoach Trail and pass alongside landscapes alive with thousands of years of cultural history. This trip offers a rare view into the stunning beauty the region holds. The free hike includes a breakfast burrito, snacks and drinks and is kid-friendly. More details on the M2M website.

Also happening this week during Monuments to Main Street: the fun and culturally rich Diez y Seis de Septiembre Fiesta in Mesilla, plane tours of the 70-year-old bombing bulls-eye targets in the desert used to train World War II pilots, a tour of Billy the Kid’s historical sites in Doña Ana County, and a Jeep tour to the Apollo astronaut training site at the mile-wide crater, Kilbourne Hole. Learn more and sign up for activities at

Sept. 14

  • Pops Under the Stars, $15 general admission, $50 VIP table seating
  • Wild and Scenic Film Festival, $15

Sept. 15

  • White Sands Hot Air Balloon Invitational, $5
  • Apollo Astronaut Training Site Aerial Tour, $90
  • Discovery Site Tour at Prehistoric Trackways National Monument, free
  • Downtown Las Cruces Heritage Tour, free
  • Yoga in the Monument, $5 per car entry fee
  • Billy the Kid Tour, $25
  • Diez y Seis de Septiembre Fiesta, free
  • NMSU football versus UNM, $12 and up

Sept. 16

  • White Sands Hot Air Balloon Invitational, $5
  • Diez y Seis de Septiembre Fiesta, free
  • WWII Bombardier Targets Aerial Tour, $90
  • Panoramic Peaks Tour, free
  • Monumental Jeep Tour to Kilbourne Hole Astronaut Training Site, $85

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