We camped in the city of Las Cruces, New Mexico, primarily because we were interested in visiting places both on the west and the east of the city. Las Cruces is the second largest city in New Mexico.
We toured around the city, mostly in the downtown area and also visited the adjacent town of Mesilla. Mesilla is a picturesque town with a lovely plaza, which is a National Historic Landmark. The plaza is surrounded by art shops and galleries. And the entire scene was beautifully decorated for Christmas. This was our favorite spot in the Las Cruces area.
We also visited the local Farmers Market, as is our custom. It’s a pretty small market, and, at least at the time we were there, was mostly an arts and crafts market, with very few food products. Still enjoyable, and very friendly people.
And there were some food trucks at the market. We sampled food from one of them “Luchador” with a “Lucha Libre” wrestling motif, and it was excellent! This truck is at the library most days, and at the Farmers Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Check them out if you’re in Las Cruces!
Driving out of the city was quite picturesque, as Las Cruces is bordered by mountains. The surrounding mountains also made for some nice sunset views.
We drove to City of Rocks State Park one day. A number of rock formations were formed over 30 million years ago after a volcanic eruption and jut out from the surrounding landscape. The state park has formal trails, great little picnic nooks, a desert botanical garden, wildlife viewing, and night-sky viewing. There’s also a very nice looking RV campground inside the park.
We ignored the formal trails and just walked into the rocks per the recommendation of a group we met there that seemed to be pretty familiar with the place. It was fun to just wander around climbing the rocks and making our way around them. And City of Rocks is definitely worth another visit.
We then drove over to Silver City, the adjacent town, for a quick look. It had a few interesting buildings but was a pretty small town.
As we left, we decided to drive back to Las Cruces on a different road than the one we drove in on, going over the mountains.
After winding, turning and climbing a while, we found that the road was closed! They’d had snow at the top and it wasn’t plowed. This crazy winter weather surprised us once again!
So we doubled back to City of Rocks State Park and entered the park again. It was sunset, and the rocks looked completely different, but it was pretty dark. It seems that this is more of a morning light kind of place, so we left after a short drive through.
We returned to Las Cruces and had a chance to see a stunning moon rise from the parking lot of a pet store. Sometimes we come across beautiful sights in the most unexpected of places!
Back on Island Girl, we prepared to leave New Mexico and continue west to Arizona. So long for now, New Mexico, we shall return!
What a great city! We haven’t done that area of New Mexico are really looking forward to spending a few month exploring the state.
City of Rocks State Park looks like so much fun. Definitely adding that to the plan.
Sounds great! We’re thinking of going to Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque next year so we might cross paths.
Beautiful! Thanks for sharing.
New Mexico is a delight. I love Old Mesilla and La Posta restaurant. I ate there for the first time as a 14 y/o in 1965 when our family drove from Atlanta out to Las Cruces to visit my grandparents. It was their favorite restaurant. Now, whenever I go to El Paso to visit my daughter and family I always hit it at least once.
We ate at La Posta too – delicious!
My family and I lived in Las Cruces from 1955 to 1960 I still love Las Cruces. I will visit Las Cruces this November because I miss dearly the city and the city was rusty and beautiful. I enjoy your wonderful pictures. I am photographer, also. Thank you!
Thank you so much and have a great trip in November.
Gorgeous photography as usual. My next post will feature City of Rocks and the awesome Lopez couple. Hope you don’t mind me posting a photo of you two. I’ve decided bird photography is not my thing….so difficult. I think we’ll hit City of Rocks again on our return to Phoenix. We loved it and you are so right, it looks different at different times of the day 🙂
Hector says thank you! No, I don’t mind your posting a photo of us. Bird photos do take a whole lot of patience, you shouldn’t give up. And speaking of bird photos, we LOVED the raptor show, saw one and most of the other – they’ll be in our Tucson post coming soon! I’d love to go back to City of Rocks too and this time stay in their RV park. We’ll see!
Hector says thank you! Of course we don’t mind your posting a photo of us, we’ll be posting one of you soon also :). I know from watching Hector work at it that bird photography is challenging, but you can do it! I’d like to see City of Rocks again too – we’ll see.
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I just love your photos and post… being a long time follow of Ingrid and Al I found a link to your site… and here I will be visiting for some time to come… I do agree with you, bird photography takes a little patience and luck and as most of my blog is birds and animals in South Africa I can attest to that statement… love your blog…
Especially loved the storm clouds, moon rise, and horse photos! Gorgeous and educational post as always. Thanks oodles!! Love, R
The storm clouds are a favorite of mine.
Speaking of rocks, not sure where you are now in AZ but there is one place I highly recommend. The Chiricahua Mountains, managed by NPS and usually overlooked. It is an amazing place and would be your preview for your Utah adventure. In case you are already too far from the area here is my blog about it.
I read your post, beautiful place! We’re in Sedona now, and I think we will miss the Chiricahua Mountains this year – one more for the list.