Las Cruces, New Mexico, is the second largest city in New Mexico, after Albuquerque. It is also the seat of Dona Ana County and is nicknamed “The City of the Crosses”. Its motto is “People Helping People”, which is fitting given that it is watched over by the nearby Organ Mountains to the east, the Dona Ana Mountains, the Robledo Mountains, and Picacho Peak. Nearby cities include El Paso, Texas, Alamogordo, Silver City, Truth or Consequences and Carlsbad.
Las Cruces' elevation is 3,908 feet. It is part of the Chihuahuan Desert; vegetation is typically desert-style (cacti, desert grassland, and assorted shrubs). The Rio Grande river passes Las Cruces to its west and the surrounding valley is dissected with arroyos, dry streams that come to life following intense thunderstorms. Winters can be sunnier or colder; spring can be windy and short-lived dust storms occasionally appear. Summer can exceed 100 degrees F.
The Federal Government operates the White Sands Missile Range and White Sands Test Facility, Las Cruces' main employers. Spaceport America and Virgin Galactic have corporate offices here. Las Cruces' mall and most retail stores are located in the city's east section, while the historic downtown is a six-block area around Main Street, dedicated to pedestrian traffic. Farmers markets are held here on Wednesdays and Saturdays, with stands of local produce, artwork, and crafts.
The Great Outdoors
Hiking in the mountains surrounding Las Cruces is the first activity you should do. Dripping Springs Natural Area, in the Organ Mountains, is an easy hike with history (a sanitarium and more) and great views. There are four trails to hike, volunteer staff can answer questions and help you choose. Book an RV in Las Cruces and park your home on wheels anywhere you like.
Tortugas Mountain Recreation Area is more difficult and challenging. “Tortugas” is Spanish for “turtle” which is an omen. Past guests have indicated this can take from two to four hours to complete; rock can be loose in places, so hikers should wear proper shoes. There is no shade along this hike, which winds its way around the mountain in circles, so headgear and water are also necessary. At the top, however, the views of Las Cruces and the surrounding valley are worth the effort.
Along the highway, stop your Las Cruces luxury rental RV and take pictures of the Recycled Roadrunner, a locally famous sculpture made from recycled items. It stands with the Organ Mountains behind it, providing epic photos. Previous guests have been amazed over the items used to create it, recycled electronics, old shoes, cooking utensils and more. If you have children with you, make a game of trying to identify recycled items that “haven't” been used to create the work of art. Make sure you get a picture of yourself and your Las Cruces rental camper with the roadrunner to show your friends.
Lake Valley Historic Townsite is a ghost town that is easy to explore for people with walking limitations and is full of historically interesting things. It is about an hour north of town and a perfect place to take your Las Cruces motorhome rental.
South of town, you can visit the old mining town, Mesilla. There are shops here where you can buy locally made handicrafts and sample authentic Mexican food. Mesilla has a walking tour of its downtown plaza area, which is said to be haunted by the ghosts of miners and historical figures who died there. Mesilla is most famous as the town where Billy the Kid was put on trial; if, on the tour, you hear someone behind you whisper “I'll make you famous”, don't answer.
When it comes time to set up camp with the rental RV near Las Cruces, NM, there are many RV resorts to choose from. Most of them have the standard utilities, electric (30 and 50 amp), water, sewer, wireless internet, on-site swimming pool, pull through & big rig access, and pets/tents allowed. All but one resort has a swimming pool; most have large lots where you can relax and enjoy your Las Cruces rental travel trailer.
Las Cruces KOA is just west of the city, off of US-70 and has an on-site convenience store for stocking up on groceries. Siesta RV Park is in town, off of Avenida de Mesilla, and is close to some restaurants and the Walmart Supercenter, but it doesn't have a pool.
Sunny Acres RV Park, in town and near North Valley Dr at US-70/W Picacho Dr, is a 55+ park; grandchildren can visit but not stay overnight. It has a clubhouse with amenities and a dog park but also doesn't have a pool.
Hacienda RV Resort has a hot tub for the winter months. Leasburg Dam State Park has electricity and water, but no 50 amp, no sewer, and no swimming pool. It is located just north of town, near Radium Springs.
Exploring The City
Visitors should begin their exploration of the city by visiting Veterans Memorial Park, which has exhibits honoring veterans of all wars; the Vietnam War Memorial has a sculpture of a Huey helicopter suspended above the actual wall, which is both somber and profound.
There are museums here to explore, all of them well done, such as Las Cruces Railroad Museum, Las Cruces Museum of Fine Arts & Culture and the Museum of Nature & Science. There are farms and ranches, vineyards, parks, a racing speedway, and more.
Tourism is important in Las Cruces, so you can expect the food to be good. Diners have their choice of cheap eats, moderately priced venues and fancier (more expensive) fare. Cuisines include local dishes, Mexican, steak and seafood, Chinese, Italian, pizzerias and even Belgian food.