Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

Hiking Dripping Springs – Part 1

The hike from the Visitors Center to the springs is about 1-1/2 miles. The hike is considered easy, although it does climb about 1500 feet. It is definitely a good idea to take water.

The Hike

Here’s what the path looks like about five minutes from the departure point:

If you look back, you can see the La Cueva rock formation:

About 1 mile still to go. On your return to this point, you can choose to go directly back to the Visitors Center, or to take one of several longer routes:

There are several places along the trail where you can rest and contemplate the wonderful views. Here’s one under an :

This is what you are heading for:

The Livery

Before you reach the springs, you come across the re-located Eugene Van Patten livery buildings:

A historical marker at the site provides the following information about the buildings:

“The wooden structures in this area were constructed in the late 1800’s by Major Eugene Van Patten. These buildings were associated with Van Patten’s Mountain Camp, a historic resort hotel located approximately 1/4 mile further up the canyon. These out buildings served as a livery, mercantile, and chicken coop for the hotel. Wagons were kept under a long barn which has collapsed. The barn was adjacent to the corral.”

“In the late 1800’s a stageline brought guests to the hotel from Las Cruces, a 17 mile trip. The stage would deliver the guests to the front of the hotel and then return to the livery. The wagons and horses for the stagelines, as well as the personal livestock of the guests were kept in this area. A milk cow and garden were also maintained in this area. Fresh vegetables (when available), beef, milk, and eggs were served to the guests at the hotel dining room.”
Dripping Springs Livery
“The photograph shows a number of guests preparing to leave from the hotel by buggy for a trip to Dona Ana in April of 1897. Local Indian boys worked at the livery, the hotel, and on the road maintenance crew. In the early 1900’s guests began to arrive at the hotel in automobiles as well as horse and wagon. The hotel ceased operations in the 1920’s.”

“The BLM is stabilizing and partially restoring portions of these ruins. Please do not touch or enter the unstabilized ruins as they are extremely fragile.”

The Springs

Approaching the springs:

Getting closer:


And closer:

As you can see, on this date (9/23/08), there was very little water coming from the springs:

Here you can see the rock cistern that was built below the springs to capture water. The cistern is completely filled in today:

Related posts:

La Cueva – Hermit’s Cave


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Saturday, September 20th, 2008

Dripping Springs – Green, Green, Green!

Old timers are saying they’ve never seen the around Las Cruces as green as it is this year.

Here are a few pictures taken at last weekend. In spite of the cloud cover at that moment, you can see how green it is.

The rock formation in the foreground in this photo is known as La Cueva, because of the cave at its base. More on this famous cave in a later posting.

A different view of La Cueva.

The cave is located about the middle of the rock formation, at ground level, where you see several trees. There are three small springs nearby that are difficult to locate, particularly when it’s dry.

These were taken as the sun set.



To visit Dripping Springs, take University Avenue/Dripping Springs Road east toward the Organ Mountains. Stay on the road until its end, even after it becomes a dirt road. The last quarter mile before you get to the park is paved.

The park closes at 5 pm. There is a fee for hiking to La Cueva and the other areas of the park, but not for seeing the Visitor’s Center or the always SPECTACULAR VIEWS.

Related Posts:



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