Avid golfers will enjoy the 350 annual days of sunshine at local courses. New Mexico State University offers a public course as does the Sonoma Ranch Golf Course. In addition, the Las Cruces Country Club is a semi-private course open to the public and members, and the Picacho Hills Country Club is available to members only.
The city of Las Cruces also supports numerous parks and playgrounds, baseball and softball fields, soccer fields, basketball courts, tennis and handball courts, swimming pools, recreation centers, the Benavidez Community Center and the Munson Senior Center. This year, The Field of Dreams facility opened, providing space for sport and community events.
Additional opportunities for fun are offered by the Sun Lanes Bowling Alley, Tommy's Las Cruces Roller Rink, Club Fusion and the city's Allen movie theaters. A shooting range, riding stables and an auto racing speedway are also available outside of town.
Hiking and camping facilities are also accessible within a short drive. Roughly, 15 miles north of town, campers can enjoy swimming, kayaking and hiking at the Leasburg Dam State Park, open year-round. To the east of town, near San Augustin Pass, the Aguirre Springs campground offers beautiful views to those who enjoy hiking, mountain biking and outdoor cookouts. It is important to bring water, which is not available at the site.
Closer to town, the Organ Mountain Preserve offers a challenging and historical hike that reaches the ruins of a once-famous resort and a large, mysterious cave with a history of its own. The Dripping Springs resort was a well-known nineteenth century hotel that attracted notorious characters such as Pancho Villa and Sheriff Pat Garrett. Likewise, La Cueva was the unlikely home of an eccentric Italian nobleman who lived as a hermit until he died of suspicious death, probably murdered.
Forest sites accessible to persons with disabilities include the La Posada Interpretive Trail, the South Fork Campground and the Cedar Greek Group Campground. For those who prefer professional spectator sports, neighboring El Paso boasts a professional hockey team and minor league baseball.
Outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy relaxing on the water can visit Caballo Reservoir and Elephant Butte Lake, both on the Rio Grande near the neighboring town of Truth or Consequences. Boating, bird watching, fishing and swimming are popular, year-round activities. Elephant Butte State Park also hosts an annual balloon regatta over the lake.
Abundant outdoor opportunities also abound in the sprawling Lincoln National Forest, about 100 miles northeast of Las Cruces. Hiking, camping, hunting, fishing caving, mountain biking, horseback riding, skiing and snowmobiling are just a few of the activities that draw visitors to the forest each year. Area animals include mule deer, turkey, elk and black bears. The forest's most famous black bear was the original Smokey Bear, a small, badly burned bear cub rescued after a forest fire in 1950. Smokey Bear soon became America's beloved symbol for fire prevention.
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