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Monuments to Main Street features hikes, aerial tours, rafting and more

Cheryl Fallstead, For the Sun-News Published 3:28 p.m. MT Aug. 29, 2018 | Updated 3:52 p.m. MT Aug. 29, 2018

This is the first of four columns informing readers about Monuments to Main Street.

LAS CRUCES - It’s almost September and as temperatures cool, it’s a great time to explore everything that makes our part of southern New Mexico special. Monuments to Main Street (M2M) — a monthlong celebration of the national monuments, people, history and culture of Las Cruces, Mesilla, and beyond — has many activities on the first weekend of the month, Labor Day, including the Hatch Chile Festival and Harvest Wine Festival, plus hikes, aerial tours, river rafting, yoga at Dripping Springs, and a bicycle ride to the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.

The full schedule of activities is at Monuments 2 Mainstreet.

M2M will celebrate its third-year kickoff from 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, with a fiesta in Las Cruces’ Mesquite Historic District at Klein Park, 155 N. Mesquite St., with live music by Phat Soul, Folklorico dancing, stagecoach rides, an arts and farmers market, Chocolate on the Camino Real Trail, and the "What's Your Las Cruces?" oral history project.

The goal of M2M is to get people outside, enjoying the natural beauty of our desert southwest, while introducing them to new activities and taking them to special places they may not explore on their own. True to its moniker, the outings, tours, and activities take participants to our regional monuments, White Sands National Monument, Prehistoric Trackways National Monument and the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, as well as activities right on the main streets of Las Cruces and Mesilla.

More: Monuments to Main Street will celebrate OMDP in September

This year, M2M offers even more excursions, including a bikepacking campout, jeep tours into OMDP, a Panoramic Peaks tour in the Sierra de las Uvas, a hike of Picacho Peak, and tours of Slot Canyon, along with returning favorites such as the Old West stagecoach ride, aerial tours of the Mesilla Valley and World War II bombardier training sites, and river rafting excursions.

Monument tours are offered by a variety of groups, including New Mexico Wild, the Friends of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks, the Green Chamber of Commerce, Sierra Club, Southern New Mexico Trail Alliance, Mesilla Valley Audubon Society, and a local company, Southwest Expeditions.

Jeff Steinborn, southern New Mexico director for New Mexico Wild, notes that the city of Las Cruces was an integral part of the event, with Visit Las Cruces promoting activities and helping with the kickoff celebration.

“In addition to promoting our national monuments, the city has also recently made outdoor recreation a targeted sector in its economic development and tourism efforts," he said. "We are actively working together to grow the outdoor recreation economy and celebrate the importance of our protected public lands.”

Here’s a schedule of the activities for the first week of M2M so you can go enjoy those public lands. Get more details on these activities at Monuments 2 Mainstreet. Note that several outings, including the aerial and rafting tours, require reservations, which you can easily make from this website. Get ready to fill your calendar!

September 1:

  • Hatch Chile Festival, $10 per car (September 1-2)
  • Harvest Wine Festival $25 (September 1-3)
  • Organ Mountains City to Sky Plane Tour, $90
  • River Rafting on the Rio Grande, $25
  • Yoga in the Monument, activity free, $5 park entry per car
  • Guided Hike at Achenbach Canyon, free

September 2:

  • WWII Bombardier Targets Aerial Tour, $90
  • Slot Canyon Tour, free
  • River Rafting on the Rio Grande, $25

September 6:

  • Monumental Loop Ride with Friends of OMDP, free

September 7:

  • First Friday Downtown Art Ramble, free

September 8:

  • Organ Mountains City to Sky Plane Tour, $90
  • Youth Archery Lessons, free
  • Guided Hike of Soledad Canyon
  • Billy the Kid Tour, $25
  • Yoga in the Monument, activity free, $5 park entry per car
  • Monuments to Main Street Kick-off Fiesta, free

September 9:

  • Photographing Birds of the Organ Mountains, free
  • El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro tour, $25
  • Slot Canyon Tour, free

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