We like to brag about how beautiful our city is to anyone who will listen, but we’re not the only ones who feel that way! Artists and photographers, both local and visitors, agree. We have compiled a list of some of our favorite places from which to draw inspiration.
Dripping Springs Natural Area
The Dripping Springs Natural Area has over four miles of hiking trails for hikers of all experience levels. Artists and photographers will love to grab some up-close shots of the various desert plants. Interested in photographing or painting wildlife? The Dripping Springs Natural area is home to a variety of birds, lizards, deer mule, coyotes, and other desert dwellers. We also have to give a special shout-out to the La Cueva Trailhead, which has some seriously stunning scenery. See if you can get a shot of a barrel cactus, with beautiful flowers in bloom. Catch it during monsoon season for some amazing waterfall shots!
Las Cruces is a great place to get some agricultural shots. You can find farmlands with crops of onions, pecans, apples, grapes, and of course, chile! From looming, fruitful trees to soil plots rich with brightly colored chile, you’ll be sure to grab a memorable shot here. There are many wonderful sights within crops and fields – not to mention the sunsets. For a bonus, try to get a shot of the chiles roasting! This is a sight (and a smell!) that is well-known to local artists – and everyone else!
When the water is flowing, the beautiful Rio Grande is a can’t-miss locale for artists. A splash in the water is great for the family to cool down and capture some action. And when the water isn’t flowing, you’ll still be able to get some GREAT mountain views, or some great shots of our beautiful farmlands.
On the subject of agriculture, the road to Stahmann Farms is a source of inspiration for artists and photographers in Las Cruces looking to get that great landscape shot. Check it out in any season – capture the full, green trees in Spring and Summer, the leaves changing color in Autumn, or get a great leafless shot in Winter. Roll down those car windows and let the breeze in. There is no lack of moving color shots, and good tunes make it quite the experience!
The Mesilla Plaza is a National Historic Landmark in the town of Mesilla and the site of the Gadsden purchase. The Basilica of San Albino in the heart of Mesilla was built in 1906 and features square belfries and arched stained-glass windows. You’ll find classic adobe buildings that are rich with history, like the Fountain Theatre, built in 1905, or the Double Eagle restaurant, which was once a simple, two-room house. You may also want to check out the Leonart-Maurin store on the southwest corner, which is the oldest documented brick building in New Mexico.
Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park
This one is for all birdwatchers out there. The park is home to about 945 acres of wetlands and Chihuahuan Desert, a bit southwest of Mesilla. Designated as an ‘Important Birding Area,’ one can find a variety of wildlife and hiking trails to explore and capture. Vibrant culture and stunning gardens are present and waiting for photographers and artists alike.
This one is a bit of a drive, in nearby Alamogordo, but it’s worth the drive. Miles of white gypsum (not actually sand, as the name may suggest!) dunes makes for a unique, otherworldly artistic experience. Take a stroll at sunset to capture those hills painted in color, and make sure to bring a sled to ride those dunes! We recommend sunglasses – that sand and sun gets pretty bright.
Leasburg Slot Canyon
This slot canyon, located in the Organ Mountains Desert Peak National Monument, is a favorite for artists who want to capture something a little different. Tall walls and narrow turns – this rock formation offers an interesting, surreal perspective that is hard to beat!
Visit Las Cruces would like to remind you to be safe when hiking. Take lots of sunscreen, wear loose, light layers that cover as much of your skin as possible, some good hiking shoes or boots – and please, don’t forget your water. Even in winter, it’s easy to get dehydrated out there! Please note that some sites may require a permit for access, or for photography or videography. And don’t forget to be a considerate outdoor visitor and follow the principles of Leave No Trace!
Do you have a favorite spot we haven’t listed? Let us know!
Follow us on social media @visitlascruces and tag us in your pics. We love to see it!