ElevationAscent: 603' 184 m
Descent: -582' -178 m
High: 4,863' 1,482 m
Low: 4,260' 1,299 m
GradeAvg Grade: 15% (9°)
Max Grade: 50% (26°)
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“A steep, technical trail summiting Tortugas Mountain, with some scrambling on the eastern face.”— Brendan Ross
Southern New Mexico weather can be hot, windy, dusty, or all three at once. Summer heat is usually in the high 90's, and afternoon thunderstorms are common. Make sure to check the forecast and bring more water than you think you'll need. There is very little shade, so morning runs are preferable in the summer months.
Two interesting features are found at the top: an observatory run by the nearby New Mexico State University (whose "A" adorns the hill to commemorate their mascot, the Aggies), and a small Catholic shrine. Pilgrimages to the shrine occur on a semi-regular basis, though most people visiting for this purpose take the easier Geothermal Road to the top.
The trail continues south for a few hundred feet before turning east. Descending down the eastern side is marginally less steep than the western slope, but it tends to be more technical. Larger rocks and boulders require some scrambling.
Turtleback crosses Tortugas Trail again a little after the mile point. The remaining portion of the trail is an easy descent to the flat Arroyo Loop.
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Land Manager: BLM New Mexico - Las Cruces District Office