Tortugas Mountain has an elevation of 4,931 feet and a prominence of 601 feet. It is an area landmark located on the eastern edge of the city of Las Cruces in southern New Mexico. Tortugas, Spanish for tortoise, gets its name for its resemblance to the slow-moving reptile when viewed from the south. This mountain is well known locally as “A Mountain” because of the giant “A” adorned on its west slope. The “A” symbolizes the “Aggies” of nearby New Mexico State University and is indicative of the schools’ agricultural history.
This is not a pretty mountain; it has more than its fair share of scars. It starts at the base of the mountain where abandoned rock quarries lie. Numerous man-made trails criss-cross its slopes. The scarring extends to the summit, where there is an observatory as well as several antenna towers and maintenance buildings.
While the views of this mountain are not necessarily pleasing to the eye, the views from the top are. To the east are unrestricted views of the majestic Organ Mountains, while the views to the west overlook the city of Las Cruces.