Tortugas Mountain, New Mexico

Prominence: 571 ft, 174 m

Elevation: 4931 feet, 1503 meters

True Isolation: 4.3 mi, 6.91 km
Latitude/Longitude (WGS84)32° 17' 34'' N, 106° 41' 51'' W
32.292683, -106.697567 (Dec Deg)
CountryUnited States
State/ProvinceNew Mexico
County/Second Level RegionDoña Ana

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Ascent Info

Total successful ascents logged by registered users: 28
     Show all viewable ascents/attempts (Total: 28)

Selected Trip Reports:
     1977-10-07 by Don Elwell
     2017-08-11 by Dan Baxter
     2018-01-14 by Rob Anthony
     2019-05-23 by Miriam Khamis
     2019-10-29 by David Rexford
     2020-12-23 by Eric Smith (GPS Track)
     2021-02-28 by Mark Akers
     2021-08-27 by Kevin Smith

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Although dwarfed by the impressive Organ Mountains ten miles to the east, this small mountain is immensely popular to hikers in Las Cruces, as it lies just on the eastern outskirts of town. It is also rich in natural and human history as well.

To quote the many information kiosks at the hiker’s parking lot off Dripping Springs Road:

“Tortugas Mountain has long been used for mining, ranching, recreation, religious ceremonies, and scientific studies. BLM and NMSU now manage the mountain to accommodate more recreation and public use. The structures that are visible on top of the mountain are communications sites and astronomical observatories.”

“The small hump-backed mountain rises above the East Mesa to an elevation of 4931 feet above sea level. Often called “A” Mountain, a much preferred older name is Tortugas (Turtle or Tortoise) Mountain, because of its resembles (sic) a turtle (or several turtles) making their way across the desert - when viewed from a distance.”
“Unlike the Organ Mountains to the east, Tortugas Mountain is composed of limestone rather than igneous rock. As the mountain rise (sic) above the surrounding Chihuahuan Desert, vegetation changes from desert floor species creosote, mesquite, ocotillo, and prickly pear cactus to rocky desert upland species such as grasses, shrubs and wild flowers.”

“Each December, the residents of the community of Tortugas, 3 miles down from the mountain, honor the Virgen de Guadalupe (our Lady of Guadalupe) during a three day ceremony. The ceremony starts on December 10, and includes candlelight processions and traditional dancing within the Pueblo.
“Hundreds of people trek from the Pueblo the next day to the top of the mountain for a day-long mass and blessing ceremony. At dusk, bonfires light the path homeward, as does a huge cross of lights laid across the west slope of Tortugas Mountain.”

“The eastern side of the mountain (Monte Vista Parking Area) is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the western side (Sunset Parking Area) is managed by New Mexico State University. BLM and NMSU recognize the many impacts being caused by increasing public uses and have joined together to conserve the mountain and to provided better public use facilities. The trail system is undergoing a series of improvements designed to make trails safer, durable, and more enjoyable.”
Dynamic Map

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ProminenceKey Col Page  (Detailed prominence information)
  Clean Prominence: 571 ft/174 m
  Optimistic Prominence: 611 ft/186 m
  Key Col: 4360 ft/1329 m
IsolationIsolation Page  (Detailed isolation information)
   Distance: 4.3 mi/6.91 km
   Isolation Limit Point: 32.3058, -106.6258
Nearest Higher Neighbor in the PBC database:
    Squaw Mountain  (ENE)
RangesContinent: North America
Range2: Intermountain West
Range3: Southwest Basins and Ranges
Range4: Southeast New Mexico Ranges
Range5: South East Rio Grande Ranges
Range6: Doña Ana Mountains
Drainage BasinsRio Grande
Gulf of Mexico
Atlantic Ocean
Topo MapTortugas Mountain O32106c6 1:24,000
Data SourcePartially verified user peak addition
This peak was submitted to the database by Dan Baxter.

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