The east ridge route offers a pleasant desert hike that ends with spectacular views of the Organ Mountains. The hike follows a wide, well maintained trail for the first half before heading off trail towards the top of Squaw Mountain.
From Interstate 25 in Las Cruces, take the University exit. Go east on University Blvd. until you see signs for the preserve's A. B. Cox Visitor Center. The Visitor Center is open to the public from 9-5 daily except on Thanksgiving and Christmas. The preserve is open from 8:00 a.m.. to sunset year round. The day use fee is $3.00.
The east ridge route starts from the Dripping Springs parking lot (see the getting there section) and follows the trail toward the old resort. At the location pictured below there is a barely distinguishable old road that leads toward the peak.
The turnoff from the Dripping Springs trail is at this point
Follow the road for a short distance until it begins to turn away from the peak. At that point leave the road, cross a wire fence, and head down an arroyo. All the while the east ridge (or left shoulder as you're looking at the peak) should be you goal. Once on the east ridge the follow picture should show you what the remaining route looks like.
East Ridge view
From the bottom of the east ridge continue up the ridge until some the rocky band is reached. Skirt the difficulties to the right or continue up the class three terrain. After some cactus dodging and careful walking the summit cairn will come into view. The total hike is about 4 miles RT.
Typical desert hiking gear is needed for this hike. Be sure to bring plenty of water as off-trail mileage takes a lot longer to negotiate than trail miles.
External LinksDripping Springs.