La Cueva Trail – Organ Mountains

Originally this Memorial Day I was planning on heading to the Gila National Forest, but after seeing on the news about a 0% contained forest fire and the evacuation of a ghost town (how ironic is that!), a change of plan was required.  Therefore I spent the day hiking in the Dripping Springs Area on three different trails I hadn’t previously explored.

The first trail I hiked was called La Cueva and is accesible either from the visiter’s center or La Cueva picnic area down the road.  The trail is about 3 miles round trip and offers some gorgeous views of La Cueva rocks, an impressive rock formation just a little to the west of the Organ Mountains.

For the Spanish-challenged, “La Cueva” means The Cave and is so-named because underneath the largest rock formation is a small cave.  Although this particular cave is nothing in comparison to places like Mammoth Cave or Carlsbad Cavern, it’s famous locally for being the home (and eventual murder site) of Catholic mystic healer Agostini-Justiniani (better known as “The Hermit”) in 1869.

The trail itself isn’t very difficult to hike and it presents the opportunity for some fabulous photos.  The only problem is that it is one-way, so you need to be prepared to either turn around once you reach the end or have a friend pick you up at the end.  Also, remember your sunscreen.  Only about 5% of the trail has shade so to absolutely noone’s shock I now have a lovely sunburn.

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