Tortugas Mountain, west slope.
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.
From Interstate 25 in Las Cruces, take exit 1 (University Ave.). Turn onto University Avenue (which later becomes Dripping Springs Road) and go northeast for about 2.5 miles to the parking area and trailhead on the northwest side of Tortugas Mountain.
Route to Summit
This hike is easy - just follow the dirt and rock trail up the west slope to the top. The route is one mile each way and the net and gross elevation gain is 690 feet.
None. 24-hour access.