The Ranges North and Northwest

The Human Chapter of the Monument

It is the Sierra de los Uvas and the other mountain ranges north and northwest of Las Cruces that recall perhaps the most notable chapters in the human chapter of the Organ Mountains Desert Peaks Monument. In the low and rugged peaks, secluded canyons and desert grasslands, you can find records of prehistoric peoples, international territorial dispute resolution, the Apache Wars, early farming and ranching, World War II bomber aircraft training targets, and fabled human travel corridors.

Old encampment

You may find prehistoric rock art along rocky outcrops that almost seem to have a spiritual aura. You can still see rock cairns that mark the boundary of the Gadsden Purchase, an acquisition of land that settled a dispute between the United States and Mexico in the mid-19th century. You may visit battle sites where settlers, travelers and the U. S. Army fought bitter and deadly battles with the Apaches. You can explore the ruins of historic farm and ranch homes. You can still see the remnants of the aerial targets from World War II.


Across the southern part of this section of the monument, you can follow more than 20 miles of the rough dirt trail that once connected St. Louis and San Antonio to Los Angeles and San Francisco, serving wanderers, immigrants, cattle drovers, 49ers, and John Butterfield’s stagecoaches.

Paralleling the eastern boundary of the Robledos, along the Rio Grande and the fertile Mesilla Valley, you can retrace the historic trail that connected Mexico City to Santa Fe. Called El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro – or the Royal Road to the Interior – by the Spanish, it has – for thousands of years – served travelers, including explorers, hunters and gatherers, immigrants, traders, missionaries, raiders, soldiers, and many others answering the call to adventure. You can stand near the site where one of Juan de Oñate’s colonists – Pedro Robledo – died in May of 1598. According to legend, he was buried, with treasure, on the west side of the Rio Grande, in the mountain range that lies within the monument and now bears his name.

The Camino Real corridor was first traveled by the Spanish in the late 16th century. It remains in use today by modern travelers.

Petroglyphs

Exploring those mountain ranges that lie north and northwest of Las Cruces, and the Robledo Mountains in particular, you may, with exceptionally good luck, find the long-lost grave of Pedro Robledo. And perhaps, his treasure.

Organ Mountains | Desert Peaks | Portrillo Mountains | Overview

 

Note:

The Robledo Mountains also embrace the Prehistoric Trackways National Monument, which bear the fossilized tracks of the wildlife that roamed the area some 280 million years ago. You can arrange to visit that site by contacting the Las Cruces office of the Bureau of Land Management (1-575-525-4300).

For additional information or a possible tour or site visits, contact the BLM’ s Las Cruces District Office at 1-575-525-4499 or the Friends, Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks at info@organmtnfriends.org.

 

 

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