Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks NM--Dripping Springs NA Arroyo Trail

Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks NM--Dripping Springs NA Arroyo Trail

Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument Dripping Springs Natural Area Las Cruces, New Mexico 88011

Official Website
Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument Official Website
Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument brochure and map

Tips for Birding

By far, the best birding at Dripping Springs is along the 0.6-mile Arroyo Trail, which runs from the parking lot at the La Cueva Group Picnic Area to where the upper La Cueva Trail meets the lower La Cueva Trail, crossing the La Cueva trail just below the trailhead parking area. It is usually best to start from the parking at La Cueva (accessible from a turnoff along Dripping Springs Road, shortly before the Visitor Center), as this end of the trail is generally less popular with hikers and gives immediate access to good habitat. The trail follows a lush, rocky arroyo with hackberry and other fruit-bearing shrubs. The hiking is relatively easy, though the terrain is rocky and there is relatively little shade to be had during the hot summer months. Common year-round residents include Canyon and Spotted Towhees, Canyon, Rock, and Bewick’s Wrens, Black-throated and Black-chinned Sparrows, and Pyrrhuloxia, among others. Summer visitors include Scott’s Oriole, White-throated Swift, Indigo Bunting, and Blue Grosbeak, while winter brings Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay, Townsend’s Solitaire, and various sparrows. Focus on areas with surface water (which may be present as a trickle in the arroyo) or fruiting shrubs, which will congregate birds.

About this Location

The Arroyo Trail is located in the Dripping Springs Natural Area.

Vault toilets are located at both the Group Picnic and Trailhead areas, with wheelchair parking near the vaults. The trail is not wheelchair accessible. 

About Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument

See all hotspots at Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument

The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument was established to protect significant prehistoric, historic, geologic, and biologic resources of scientific interest, and includes four areas: the Organ Mountains, Desert Peaks, Potrillo Mountains, and Doña Ana Mountains.

The Organ Mountains are a steep, angular mountain range with rocky spires that jut majestically above the Chihuahuan Desert floor to an elevation of 9,000 feet. This picturesque area of rocky peaks, narrow canyons, and open woodlands ranges from Chihuahuan Desert habitat to ponderosa pine in the highest elevations. Located adjacent to and on the east side of Las Cruces, this area provides opportunities for photography, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, camping, and wildlife viewing.

The Desert Peaks include the Robledo Mountains, Sierra de las Uvas, and Doña Ana Mountains, characterized by desert mountains rising steeply from flat plains.

The Potrillo Mountains are the most remote section of the Monument located a distance to the southwest from Las Cruces and are comprised of a volcanic landscape of cinder cones, lava flows, and craters.

The Doña Ana Mountains have extensive pedestrian trails, equestrian trails, mountain bike trails, rock climbing routes, and some limited routes available for motorized use.


  • Restrooms on site

  • Entrance fee

  • Wheelchair accessible trail

  • Roadside viewing

Content from Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument Official Website, Joel Gilb, and John Montgomery

Last updated February 28, 2023