FATMAP difficulty grade
Whether you're stretching your legs after a long drive or are simply looking for a worthwhile trail run around Las Cruces, Tortugas Mountain is the place to be.
According to the BLM, "The small, hump-backed Tortugas Mountain rises above the East Mesa to an elevation of 4,928 feet," and is named due to its "resemblance to a turtle (or several turtles) making their way across the desert." On clear days, the Organ Mountains are clearly visible to the east, while other portions of trail offer an excellent view of the sunset. In contrast to the rugged Organs seen to the east, this loop is rolling and fast, making it easy to open up your cadence and hold a steady pace.
There are some short and gradual climbs, but none are long and sustained enough to warrant trekking poles or aggressive trail shoes.
That said, if you need some extra vert, other intersecting trails lead to the mountain's official summit, though the BLM and NMSU ask you "keep a reasonable distance" from the communication towers and observatory at the top. According to the BLM, "Tortugas Mountain has long been used for mining, ranching, recreation, tribal ceremonies, and scientific studies," and there is currently a massive "A" visible on the mountain's summit - a tribute to New Mexico State Aggies based in Las Cruces.
The area is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and is open year-round, though the summer heat may be unbearable for some.
Vault toilets and maps are available at the trailhead, but not water.
Dogs are welcome to join, though wildlife - especially rattlesnakes - may warrant leaving your 4-legged companion at home during the warmer months. [Source](https://www.blm.gov/visit/tortugas-mountain-recreation-area)