A Couple Hikes in Achenbach Canyon

The Achenbach Canyon trailhead was a new discovery for me in the Las Cruces area. For whatever reason I never saw descriptions of the canyon before when I was looking for potential hikes – but I’m sure glad I stumbled across it eventually. There are (at least) two routes from the trailhead; both times I hiked the more southern of the two. Though clearly defined and well-used, I’m not entirely sure how official any of the trails are here or if they have names, but all that I walked were easy to follow.

The southern trail winds it’s way up the canyon through the foothills on the western side of the Organs, crossing gullies and cresting cols until it reaches a plateau. From here there’s a spectacular view near a 70 foot dry falls; I climbed down to the spout of the falls to look down canyon.

The next section was only a gradual uphill as it passes through an open meadow studded with clusters of rock formations and the occasion juniper. The route then rises over another col and drops into a second meadow ringed by mountains on 3 sides. Soon the trail splits with one path leading up a steep grade to the east-southeast and another continuing northeast towards the bowl and a saddle beyond.

Always eager to get to the top of things, I selected the former route on my first hike and was almost immediately rewarded on the climb with spectacular vistas of the meadows below. As we rose above the peaks I turned directly west, following a ridge up to the highest point I could find. The 360 degree views were phenomenal with the multi-dimensional granite peaks offset to perfection by the lush pale grass in the valleys below.

Tom joined us on our second hike in the canyon after me talking it up quite a bit. This time we continued straight up the valley where the trail breaks off towards the peak I’d hiked a couple weeks ago. This trail does in fact lead to the saddle I thought it might. From here you can peer down into Soledad Canyon and Long Canyon to the south. As might be expected, we scaled the closest high peak, walking north along the ridge towards the mouth of Soledad and watching the most incredible views down Long Canyon unfold behind us. I shot a video from near the turnaround; my blurry finger appears in front of the lens near the end to point out which peak Abby and I had been on the previous hike.