We’re very fortunate to be surrounded by such adventure-friendly ranges such as Hueco Tanks, the Franklin Mountains, Wyler Aerial Tramway and the Organ Mountains in New Mexico – there’s trail running, moutain biking, camping, rock climbing and hiking available at most sites.
For this particular adventure, my boyfriend Aaron suggested we make a trip out to Las Cruces, New Mexico for a day of craft beer drinking, shopping and hiking. I’m definitely a huge fan of Las Cruces; I love how I can get away from El Paso without being too far away and that the chances of running into someone I know are slim.
The day we went to Las Cruces was dusty and windy, but as we got closer to Dripping Springs, the weather cleared up completely.
The great thing about this hike is how comfortably secluded it is. Even the Visitor Center at the Springs looked like it had not been touched since the late 1960’s.
We walked all over the Dripping Springs park for about 4-5 hours. Started out with the Dripping Springs Trail, came back down and took the Crawford Trail, up the Fillmore Trail, back down around La Cueva Rocks and finally took La Cueva back to the Visitor Center.
Dripping Springs was originally a resort built in the 1870’s by Colonel Eugene Van Patten. The getaway was really popular and hosted historical big wigs like Pancho Villa and Pat Garret. But the party didn’t last forever. In 1917, Van Patten went bankrupt and sold the resort to Dr. Nathan Boyd.
Dr. Boyd’s wife had tuberculosis and so he converted the once popular hot spot into a sanatorium. He had different buildings erected around the property to accomodate the patients.
The buildings were in decent shape up until the 1940’s when scavengers discovered them and stole building materials. Now, the Bureau of Land Management oversees the property to ensure whatever is left stays preserved.
My favorite piece of history at Dripping Springs is about ‘The Hermit of la Cueva’. There’s a certain cave on the park where thousands of archeological artifacts dating to 5000 BC have been found. As amazing as that is, the part of the cave’s history that interests me so much more is the story of a man whom lived and died there: Giovanni Maria Agostini.
He was born in Tuscany, Italy in 1800 and left for the Americas in 1827, vowing to be a hermit for the rest of his life. He saught the “high mountains and vast deserts – in order to enter into a life of perfect solitude.” His travels took him to different caves in Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Cuba, Mexico and finally into New Mexican territory.
Dripping Springs in Las Cruces, NM is one of my favorite places to explore. All the nooks and crannies, peaks to climb on, hidden waterfalls and eclectic history make it a wonderful place to revisit over and over again!