Turtleback Mountain

Dominating our town is Turtleback Mountain.  From a distance, it’s not much – overshadowed by all the other mountains.  But from Main Street, it is the center of our landscape.  The rock formation on the summit resembles a turtle, but a few folks have had trouble finding it.  Last summer I made a postcard to sell at the local market helping folks see it:

Turtleback is the foreground for sunrises for many folks here and it catches the last light of the day.  You’ll see it in many of my photos and I’ll refer to it often.

View of Rio Grande and town from Turtleback trail.

There’s a trail to the top, but it’s a formidable hike – steep in places, with loose rock.  It’s sort of a must-do hike, but I haven’t completed it.  We hike the first part often just for the exercise – it starts out steeply – a good aerobic workout.  There are many different kinds of small crystals scattered about parts of the mountain.  And lovely cactus flowers in the spring.

The turtle reigns from over 6,000 feet in elevation and was originally formed a good 300 million years ago, although it may have taken several million years to lift and erode to its current position.

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5 Responses to Turtleback Mountain

  1. hilary says:

    how do you get to the trailhead?

  2. Emily says:

    I have the same question. How do you get to the trailhead? This is very last minute, bu would you be interested in a hike tomorrow or Wed. this week?

  3. Dave says:

    From T or C, take Hwy 51, (Third street off of Date st.) toward Elephant Butte. You’ll cross two bridges over the Rio Grande… right after the second bridge there’s a right turn onto a dirt road. Follow this road about 2 miles. Immediately after you cross a cattle guard, there’s a small parking area to the left. The trail head is right around the right side of the hill, and is marked with a stack of rocks. Took me 2.5 hours each way. (Don’t forget to sign the log book hidden in the ground at the summit… if you make it there!

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