Tonuco Mountain is a prominent landmark along I-25 between Hatch and Las Cruces. It is not terribly tall, but it does rise 1000+ feet above the river plains and offers a striking flat-top appearance. The area is rich with history (Native American, Spanish, and early Western settlements).
Most New Mexicans have probably passed Tonuco Mountain numerous times as the drive south on I-25 between Hatch and Las Cruces. There are two ways to get to the general vicinity of Tonuco.
From the south (Las Cruces area), exit I-25 at Radium Springs (exit #19). Head east from the interstate for a about 0.1 miles and turn north on CR E070. Follow this generally good dirt road for about 9.5 miles north until the intersection with CR E071. Take CR E071 under the interstate and through a gate (Note: After rains the dirt underpass is often flooded). Turn left after passing through the gate and follow the dirt road about 0.75 miles until reaching a sandy wash at the foot of Tonuco. Be careful not to get your vehicle stuck in the deep sand of the arroyo.
From the north (Truth or Consequences area), exit I-25 at Upham (exit 32). Immediately get on a generally good dirt road that heads south and parallels the interstate. Follow this road for approximately 4 miles unti it veers off away from the interstate towards Tonuco Mountain. Continuing straight at this point will take you through a gate and under the interstate as described in the southerly approach. After veering right away from the interstate follow the road for about 0.75 miles until it enters a sandy wash. Park here, but be careful not to get stuck in the deep sand.
Starting in the sandy wash head west up the wash. The wash will parallel a scenic rock escarpment for about three quarters of a mile. At the first main drainage turn south and begin working up the a scenic canyon. The canyon floor is rocky but the going is never too difficult. The canyon narrows and steepens not far from the wash and then begins to trend southeast. AFter a mile or so in the canyon the canyon turns back southwest, at this point pick a route up the steep slope to the southeast and climb to the top of the ridge. Once on the ridge turn back to the southwest and find a jeep track that makes the last 3/4 miles go by a little faster.
RT mileage: ~5 miles
Normal desert hiking gear is required. Take plenty of water in the summer.