Avenue and follow it until A Mountain is directly to your right

Directions: Take I-25 north or south to the University exit (Exit 1) in Las Cruces. Turn east on University Avenue and follow it until A Mountain is directly to your right. Once you reach the north side of the mountain, there are two areas where cars can be parked, the most popular being the second one as you go east.

Location & Information: The Aguirre Spring Campground is located on the east side of Organ Mountains, 21 miles east of Las Cruces in Dona Ana County. Types of Recreation Available: Hiking, camping, horseback riding, picnicking, watchable wildlife. Leashed pets are allowed on trails.
Directions: Take U.S. 70 for 14 miles east of the I-25/U.S. 70 interchange in Las Cruces, then turn south on the Aguirre Spring Road (1.1 miles after San Augustine Pass) for six miles. At mile 4 the road becomes a one-way loop and climbs steeply. Fees: $5 per vehicle and $15 per bus. Camping fees are $7 per campsite. Group sites are $50. Group site reservations are required.

Location & Information: Located on the east side of Las Cruces, hikers can choose to go to the top for a 2.5 mile out and back or complete the 6-mile trail across the pass and end in Aguirre Springs. Directions: From I-25 Exit 1 (University Avenue) in Las Cruces, head northeast on University (which eventually turns into Dripping Springs Road) for 7.7 miles. Turn left onto Baylor Canyon Rd and head north. The Trailhead is 4.8 miles down the road on the right (east) side.
White Sands National Park offers a wide variety of activities for outdoor enthusiasts, including hiking, biking, and driving. The park features several well-marked trails that wind through the striking white sand dunes, ranging from easy nature walks to challenging hikes for more experienced adventurers. Bikers can explore the dunes on designated routes, while drivers can take the eight-mile Dunes Drive scenic route to experience the stunning views from the comfort of your own vehicle.

Embark on a once-in-a-lifetime experience by Sledding down the giant Sand Dunes at White Sands National Park. Visitors can bring their sleds or rent them from the park’s gift shop. The best time to sled is in the early morning or late afternoon when the sand is cool, and the sun is not too hot. Sledding down the smooth, gleaming white slopes is a thrilling and unforgettable experience that is sure to be a highlight of any trip to White Sands National Park.

Horseback riding is a popular way to explore the stunning landscapes of White Sands National Park. Horseback riding trails wind through the dunes, providing breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and desert flora and fauna. Visitors can bring their own horses by applying for a free permit and providing insurance information prior to entering the park. Horseback riding is a unique and peaceful way to experience the park’s natural beauty and is a great option for families or groups looking for a memorable outdoor adventure.

Location & Information: Located about 5 miles north of Las Cruces, it offers a number of hiking trails, 15 miles of mountain biking trails and 7 miles of horseback trails (which are not signed as well as the other trails). The Southern trails are recommended for beginners as they are reasonably lengthy and not as technical as opposed to the Northern trails which are shorter but more technical.

Directions: Take I-25 north to the Doña Ana exit, go east and turn left on Del Rey, turn at the next right (Calle Las Lomas). Turn left on La Reina, then turn right onto Desert Wind. Go east for about 1.4 miles and go through the cattle guard. On a primitive dirt road, go for another 1/2 mile. The trailhead is just past the power line.

Location & Information: Located just 7 miles west of Downtown Las Cruces, Picacho peak has several trails for mountain biking, hiking and equestrian use.

Directions: After approximately 1 mile on Picacho Hills Drive, veer to the left onto Barcelona Ridge Road. Travel approximately 1 mile to Anthem Road and turn right. Follow Anthem Road approximately 1 mile to Loop Road and turn right. Loop Road turns into dirt. Approximately 0.9 mile turn right and follow to the Picacho Mountain Recreation Area.
Location & Information: Slot Canyon is roughly 2.5 mile out and back located about 20 miles north of Las Cruces. Note: a state recreational access permit is required to access this hike.

Location & Information: Located about 47 miles south of Las Cruces in a desert basin between the Potrillo Mountains and the Rio Grande in southern Dona Ana County. A remnant of an ancient volcanic explosion, Kilbourne Hole was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1975.

Directions: Take I-25 north or south to the University exit (Exit 1) in Las Cruces. Turn east on University Avenue and follow it until A Mountain is directly to your right. Once you reach the north side of the mountain, there are two areas where cars can be parked, the most popular being the second one as you go east.

Directions: Coming from the South (Las Cruces): Travel on Picacho Ave./Hwy. 70, at the stop light with Shalem Colony Trail. Go north on Shalem Colony Trail for approximately 5.5 miles. Prior to reaching the Rio Grande, you will reach a county road, Rocky Acres Trail. Turn west on Rocky Acres Trail. Go west approximately 1/4 mile to a dirt road entrance on the left-hand side. Cross over a cattleguard and continue to the west. This road, past about a mile, is for high-clearance, 4wd vehicles only.
Discover one of the world’s great natural wonders, the glistening white sands of New Mexico. The seemingly endless sea of white sand engulfs nearly 275 sq. mi. of desert, with nearly 230 sq. mi. for recreating, makes up the world’s largest gypsum dune field. White Sands was established as a national monument in 1933 and re-designated as a national park in 2019. The park is open daily year-round except for December 25. Hours of operation vary throughout the year and unexpected closures may happen on occasion, so visitors are encouraged to check the park website before heading out.

  • The 16-mile round-trip down Dunes Drive takes about 45 minutes, but visitors are welcome to stop along the way for a picnic, to take some photos, go on a hike or slide down the dunes.
  • The park offers several ranger-led programs that allow visitors of all ages to experience the park in a more immersive way. Sunset strolls, full moon nights, full moon hikes, Lake Lucero Tours, Mothapalooza and a variety of community events take place throughout the year. White Sands Full Moon Night
  • Make sure to stop by the visitor center, a great example of “Pueblo-Revival” architecture constructed in 1938. Learn more about the park’s programs, browse the bookstore and gift shop or learn about the animals and plants that have adapted to survive in the harsh environment and the amazing geological processes that create the dues through the interactive educational exhibit.

Hike the dunes in the full moon light with one of the most popular programs at White Sands National Park. Offered once a month, the 90-minute program is a ranger-lead hike that begins at Dune Life Nature Trail. In addition to park entrance fees, the program is $8 per person ages 16 and older and $4 per child ages 15 and younger. Tickets go on sale online at 8 a.m. MST two months prior to the scheduled hike. Tickets sell out fast, so plan ahead and view the schedule for dates.

Directions: The trail is east and southeast, of Las Cruces. There are several trail heads. One is along the Soledad Canyon Road. From Exit 1 on Interstate 25, take University Avenue/Dripping Springs Road east for about 4.5 miles, then turn south on the Soledad Canyon Road. That road will turn east in a mile; follow it until you come to a parking area on your right. You can also access the Mossman Arroyo Road trailhead by exiting Interstate 10 at the Mesquite exit. Other trailheads can be reached by taking the Vado Exit off Interstate 10, and NM 404 at Anthony Gap.Soledad Canyon

However, the United States has a lot to offer travelers willing to spend the time exploring it. There are stunning national parks, gorgeous landscapes, incredible and diverse culture, world-class music, and a variety of delicious cuisine that varies from region to region.

I think the U.S. is one of the best destinations in the world to road trip. While the coastal cities are fun, the U.S. really reveals itself in the middle and countryside (it’s much more affordable there too). It’s in the nooks and crannies of America that you get a sense of its quirks.
The city that never sleeps is one of the most amazing cities in the world. There’s nothing you can’t do or see here. From world-class museums and art galleries to innovative theater performances to unique restaurants to the expansive Central Park, everything about New York is amazing! Don’t miss the Statue of Liberty, the 9/11 Memorial, and walking the High Line.

Words can’t describe how epic the Grand Canyon is. It’s breathtaking. Make sure you hike down the bottom too. Most people just look out at the canyon from the overlook at the top, but its vast size and beauty are best appreciated with a hike down to the Colorado River. You’ll also avoid the crowds, as only 1% of visitors actually go down to the bottom. Just be sure to bring plenty of water if you’re going in the hotter months!

The warm weather, lively honky-tonks, funky house bars on Rainey Street, amazing hiking and biking trails, tons of outdoor activities — Austin has it all. It’s one of the best cities in the U.S., boasting a combination of nature, city, and delicious food. There’s also a fantastic music scene, not only with the SXSW music festival in March but year-round with live music taking place somewhere in the city on a nightly basis. I’m proud to call the city home! Be sure to binge on BBQ while you’re here!

This is my favorite national park. It’s home to gorgeous snow-topped mountains, a beautiful lake from which to admire said mountains, large glaciers, and hiking trails galore. It is one of the most mind-blowing places I’ve seen on my adventures and I can’t recommend it enough! (If you plan to visit multiple national parks while traveling throughout the United States, it’s worth it to get the America the Beautiful Park Pass, which costs just $80 USD and provides entry to all the national parks for a year.)

The Pacific Coast is considered one of the most scenic landscapes in the world, offering sheer cliffs, forests descending to the shoreline, miles of beaches, and giant redwoods. The Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) is part of California State Route 1, one of the longest historic state highways in the country. Be prepared to make slow progress as you’ll be pulling over frequently to stop, hike, and admire the view. While the route takes 10 hours to traverse without stopping, I recommend dedicating at least several days to enjoy all that the area has to offer.

NOTE: There’s a lot to do in the United States and you can spend months traveling around the country. I could write an entire book on the places to visit! This is just a list to give you some ideas. Be sure to check out some of my other blog posts (scroll to the bottom of this guide for links) for more suggestions.

Gritty and industrial, Memphis appears like its best days are behind it. But don’t let the rough exterior fool you — the city is home to some killer food and a vibrant blues music scene. Additionally, there’s Graceland (Elvis’s home) for fans of the King, a big waterfront for walking, and the phenomenal Museum of Civil Rights (it’s huge, so don’t rush it!). I enjoyed the city more than I expected and was disappointed when I had to leave. To use a cliché, it’s a hidden gem!

Asheville is full of tasty craft beer, great food, and plenty of hipsters. I liked the area a lot, including its proximity to scenic mountain hikes like the Carolina Mountain Trail. The beautiful Smoky Mountains are a short drive away and the gigantic Biltmore estate (the largest privately-owned home in the U.S. and once home to George Vanderbilt) is on the outskirts of the city. If you’ve ever seen Downton Abbey, that’s what the house is like! Moreover, the town has a lot of parks for those wanting something closer. Be sure to check out the Ashville Botanical Gardens near the university campus too.

Along the Pacific Coast is Redwood National Park, a huge expanse of towering redwood trees filled with picnic areas, places to camp, and miles upon miles of hiking trails. Trails range from easy to strenuous, and there are many loops that head out to nearby beaches. The trees range from 200-240 feet tall. It’s utterly beautiful, awe-inspiring, and humbling in every way. Admission is free, though the three adjoining state parks (Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, and Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park) each charge $5 USD.

Known as the Mile High City (the city is one mile above sea level), Denver offers a mix of outdoor ruggedness and big-city living. It has a huge craft beer scene, excellent restaurants (including, Sushi Sasa, one of my favorite sushi restaurants), a large international airport with lots of connections, and proximity to the mountains. It’s clean, lively, and the locals are incredibly friendly. There are few cities in the U.S. I want to live in, but I love Denver enough to say that it’s one of them.

Sitting on Georgia’s coast, Savannah escaped the wrath of the Civil War, allegedly because General Sherman thought it was too pretty to be destroyed. With streets lined with Spanish moss-covered oaks, large and inviting parks, and a bustling waterfront, Savannah is a wonderful place to experience the slow pace of the Old South. I visited this city years ago and its tranquil beauty and tasty Southern comfort food have stuck with me since.

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