Why the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks

New Mexico
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Just 13 miles from Las Cruces, New Mexico, are the Organ Mountains, named for their needle-like extrusions of granite resembling organ pipes.

They join the nearby Robledo, Uvas and Potrillo Mountains. All of these mountains in the Doña Ana county are beloved by tourists and locals alike. Yet, all of them are threatened by urban development.

What makes the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks so special? 

The Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks wilderness areas attract visitors from across the world.  People near and far come to Las Cruces in Doña Ana County and southern New Mexico to spend their dollars and keep the local economies thriving.

Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks terrain

The Organ Mountains, which are only part of the area, are named for the needle-like extrusions of granite that resemble organ pipes.

The entire area boasts incredible botanical diversity with 870 species of vascular plants, including 36 species of ferns and two threatened endemic flowering perennials: the Organ Mountain primrose and smooth figwort.

The ecological zones change with the landscape from lower elevation mountain mahogany scrub to higher Ponderosa pine woodlands, topping the highest peak at 9,012 feet.

Many animals call the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks their home

Perhaps one of the most appealing aspects of the region is the incredible array of animals that live here. This includes:

  • Gray fox
  • Pronghorn and mule deer
  • Quail
  • Jackrabbits
  • Golden eagles and Swainson’s hawk
  • Bats
  • Migrating duck and threatened grassland songbirds

Beyond the Organ Mountains

Surrounding the Organ Mountains in Doña Ana County are other areas of unique geologic and cultural value. Lands provide healthy habitat for wildlife and protection for the springs of clean water that feed into the Rio Grande River.

From the gorgeous volcanic cliffs and buttes of Broad Canyon to the grasslands backing up against the cindercone and mantled basalt upthrust of the Potrillos Mountains, the protected areas are home to rich biological diversity.

Under high canyon walls inscribed with the petroglyphs of ancient Mogollan and Apache tribes are desert springs and seeps, providing water for the rich biodiversity that thrives amid the arid lands.

The pristine and rugged qualities of many of the areas provide opportunities for soul-filling solitude and outdoor recreation including hunting, horseback riding, hiking, birding and camping.

See also:

Work we’re doing

Helpful links

  • Organ Mountains Desert Peaks national monument:

www.organmountains.org

  • U.S. Bureau of Land Management Organ Mountains Wilderness Study Area:

www.blm.gov/nm/st/en/prog/wilderness/wilderness_study_areas/Organ_Mountains_WSA.html