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Southern New Mexico in 3 Days

Guest post by Lauren Bajda

Map tips: each color represents a different day. Click a marker to learn more about the spot, and click the star in the map header to save the entire map under Your Places in Google Maps.

Day 1: Las Cruces

  • Farmer’s Market
  • Grounded
  • Dripping Springs hike
  • Mesilla Plaza
  • Rio Grande Vineyard and Winery

El Paso is the closest airport, which is just under an hour from my base in Las Cruces. If you happen to be there on a Wednesday or Saturday morning, there is one of the longest-running farmer’s markets downtown. Lots of food, crafts, and other goods.

Grounded is a downtown coffee shop with great pizza too, so you can stop there before or after going through the market.

After that, I did the Dripping Springs hike (3 miles RT) in the Organ Mountains. The trailhead is about 20 minutes outside of Las Cruces and it’s a very popular and scenic hike. There are nice views of the mountains and some ruins along the way, too.

Ruins at the foot of the mountains

After the hike I stopped in old Mesilla, which is a nice square with pueblo-style buildings and shops. In the evening I went to the Rio Grande Winery which was excellent. There are lots of choices for wineries in the area and this one was great.

Day 2: White Sands National Park

About an hour from Las Cruces is White Sands National Park. The drive from Las Cruces is gorgeous – you go through the mountains and then get a stunning view from on high overlooking the area. You can spend a few hours at the park – there are defined trails and some areas that you can just wander around. You can also camp here and there’s a really nice sunset hike. While I didn’t get to, lots of people were having fun sliding down the dunes. You can bring your own sled or you can buy them from the visitor center.

I heard good things about Cloudcroft, a small mountain town another 40 minutes NE of the park. Since it was further away from Las Cruces I didn’t make it there, but was told they have a good brewery with pizza and live music.

Day 3: Hatch and Truth or Consequences

About 45 minutes north of Las Cruces is Hatch, a very small town known as the chili capital of the world. You have to eat at the renowned restaurant Sparkys where I had one of the best burgers of my life.


Another 40 minutes north is Truth or Consequences (that’s the name of the town). There’s really only one street with shops and not a whole lot to do, but people go here for the hot springs. There are several to choose from and they range in price from around $7 up to $35. I went to Riverbend Hot Springs, which seems to be the most popular and was one of the nicer ones. Relaxing in the pools was a highlight of the trip. You could fit these places in with White Sands for a long day if you were short on time but I thought it was better to split them up.

Riverbend Hot Springs in Truth or Consequences

Traveled in March 2022

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