The Dripping Springs Natural Area is a popular recreational area in the recently established Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. It's located east of Las Cruces, New Mexico in the western foothills of the Organ Mountains.
In addition to the natural beauty, there are historical structures and hiking trails. The goal today was to visit all the points of interest and hike all of the trails. Mission accomplished.
The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument was established in 2014 and consists of four sections in southern New Mexico near Las Cruces - the Organ Mountains, the Desert Peaks, the Portrillo Mountains, and the Doña Ana Mountains.
Today, we hiked what some call the most scenic trail in the Organ Mountains - the Pine Tree Loop.
It was our first trip to the White Sands National Monument and though it is a large park - the largest gypsum dunefield in the world - there is only one eight-mile road and there are few designated trails. We were able to drive the road and hike all the trails in this unique natural area in a day.
In my online research, this little waterfall hike intrigued me enough to drive 120 miles round-trip for a half-day outing. It was worth it.
Mossy Cave (Bryce Canyon National Park), Grosvenor Arch, & Kodachrome Basin State Park Driving Tour - Utah
Today we visited a small section of Bryce Canyon National Park that isn't accessible from the main park road (Mossy Cave). After a short hike and lots of photos there, we drove into the Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument to see the impressive Grosvenor Arch before taking a quick drive through Kodachrome Basin State Park on the way back. It was a cold, but pretty day for more wonderful scenery.
We were part of the lucky few to get a permit through a lottery to be able to visit this designated wilderness area within the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument on the Utah/Arizona border. Visitation is limited to only 20 people per day to help protect this wondrous place. If you manage to secure a permit, all your efforts will be rewarded with an experience you will never forget.
If you like wonderful hikes without the crowds of the National Parks, try some of the U.S. National Monuments. While doing this great 8.5-mile hike at Chiricahua National Monument in southeastern Arizona, we only encountered five other people.
This day at Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico was early on in our travels throughout the U.S, and it is still one of our favorite experiences.