Elephant Butte Inn and Spa

Elephant Butte Inn Blog

Geronimo Trail Scenic Byway

Posted October 29, 2012

Geronimo Trail Scenic Byway was formally designated by the State of New Mexico in 1995. It achieved National designation in 2005. It follows NM Hwy 187 south of Williamsburg to NM Hwy 152, then across the Black Range through Hillsboro and

Kingston to San Lorenzo. On this southern portion of the Byway, side trips include continuing on NM Hwy 187 south to Caballo, Arrey, and Derry, and taking NM Hwy 27 from Hillsboro to Lake Valley.

Flora of Sierra County, Part 2

Posted October 24, 2012

In Sierra County, each season brings a new quality to the land. Spring brings a display of ephemeral wildflowers rich in color and variety covering the landscape. Summer brings the monsoon season with its quenching downpours of rain. The
hills and mountains turn green with lush desert vegetation. Fall brings a golden glow to the trees and a crispness to the air. Whatever the season, whatever the climate, landscape or altitude, Sierra County offers an abundance of vegetation along with easy accessibility of nature's wonders. You'll love exploring and discovering the beauty of the land. Try your hand at painting and photographing native flora of sierra County. Each vista is a work of art!
Photo: In Sierra County, each season brings a new quality to the land.  Spring brings a display of ephemeral wildflowers rich in color and variety covering the landscape.  Summer brings the monsoon season with its quenching downpours of rain.  The hills and mountains turn green with lush desert vegetation.  Fall brings a golden glow to the trees and a crispness to the air.  Whatever the season, whatever the climate, landscape or altitude, Sierra County offers an abundance of vegetation along with easy accessibility of nature's wonders.  You'll love exploring and discovering the beauty of the land.  Try your hand at painting and photographing native flora of sierra County.  Each vista is a work of art!

 

Flora of Sierra County

Posted October 22, 2012

With its varied life zones or ecosystems the landscape and roadsides of Sierra County offer wonderful opportunities to enjoy the native flora of the Southwest. The riparian areas along the Rio Grande are heavily vegetated with cottonwood,
salt cedar, Russian olive and willow. In the grasslands of the Chihuahuan Desert, creosote bush, sage, chaparral, mesquite, many types of cactus, agaves, yuccas and ocotillo are some of the more commonly seen plants. The woodlands and foothills in the western part of the county are dotted with pinon and juniper, characteristic of the flora at this altitude (5,000' - 7000'). Further west and higher in elevation (7,000' - 8500') are the coniferous forests of the Black Range Mountains. Ponderosa pine, alligator juniper, spruce and fir, and oak and aspen are plentiful in this rugged land. An altitude gain of over 6,000 feet within the county provides habitat for a wide variety of native plants to flourish.
Photo: With its varied life zones or ecosystems the landscape and roadsides of Sierra County offer wonderful opportunities to enjoy the native flora of the Southwest.  The riparian areas along the Rio Grande are heavily vegetated with cottonwood, salt cedar, Russian olive and willow.  In the grasslands of the Chihuahuan Desert, creosote bush, sage, chaparral, mesquite, many types of cactus, agaves, yuccas and ocotillo are some of the more commonly seen plants.  The woodlands and foothills in the western part of the county are dotted with pinon and juniper, characteristic of the flora at this altitude (5,000' - 7000').  Further west and higher in elevation (7,000' - 8500') are the coniferous forests of the Black Range Mountains.  Ponderosa pine, alligator juniper, spruce and fir, and oak and aspen are plentiful in this rugged land.  An altitude gain of over 6,000 feet within the county provides habitat for a wide variety of native plants to flourish.

 

Birding in Sierra County..Part 5

Posted October 18, 2012

The Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge is less than 60 miles north of Truth or Consequences. One of the most heavily birded and photographed migratory bird refuges in the country, it is considered to be the crown jewel of the National Wildlife Refuge System.
 

 

Birding in Sierra County..Pt. 4

Posted October 17, 2012

The Gila Wilderness in the western part of Sierra County reaches an elevation of over 10,000 ft. The conifer and mixed forests of this area offer some of the best mountain birding in the county. Look for Steller's Jay, Red-Faced and Olive Warblers, Spotted Towhee and Pine Siskin.
Photo: The Gila Wilderness in the western part of Sierra County reaches an elevation of over 10,000 ft.  The conifer and mixed forests of this area offer some of the best mountain birding in the county.  Look for Steller's Jay, Red-Faced and Olive Warblers, Spotted Towhee and Pine Siskin.

 

Birding In Sierra County, Pt. 3

Posted October 16, 2012

Fifteen minutes south of Elephant Butte Lake is Caballo Lake, the best site for gulls in the entire state. Thirteen of the state's 15 species are seen here. Percha Dam State Park, with its extensive stands of cottonwoods along the Rio Grande, make the park a haven for migrating birds. It's considered to be the state's best birding site.
Photo: Fifteen minutes south of Elephant Butte Lake is Caballo Lake, the best site for gulls in the entire state.  Thirteen of the state's 15 species are seen here.  Percha Dam State Park, with its extensive stands of cottonwoods along the Rio Grande, make the park a haven for migrating birds.  It's considered to be the state's best birding site.

 

Birding in Sierra County, Part 2

Posted October 15, 2012

Elephant Butte Lake, the state's largest, features a rocky eastern shoreline while a desert environment lines the western shoreline. It's a great place to look for water birds and shore birds. Paseo del Rio Park, just south of the Elephant Butte Dam, offers interesting birding habitat in this riparian canyon along the Rio Grande. Look for Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Phainopepla and Pyrrhuloxia.
Photo: Elephant Butte Lake, the state's largest, features a rocky eastern shoreline while a desert environment lines the western shoreline.  It's a great place to look for water birds and shore birds.  Paseo del Rio Park, just south of the Elephant  Butte Dam, offers interesting birding habitat in this riparian canyon along the Rio Grande.  Look for Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Phainopepla and Pyrrhuloxia.

 

Birding in Sierra County

Posted October 14, 2012

With as many as 506 of the continent's 800+ species making their homes here or migrating through the region, New Mexico ranks fourth nationally in diversity of bird species. Sierra County is along the Rocky Mountain flyway and its diverse life zones offer some of the very best birding in the state. The lakes, rivers, riparian areas, Chihuahuan desert and mountain areas within the county offer wonderful birding opportunities. Within this varied habitat there is an elevation gain from 4,260 ft to over 10,000 ft.

 

Biking in Sierra County

Posted October 11, 2012

There are many miles of rural two lane blacktop roads in Sierra County.  Many of these are easy rides where the climbs are easy to moderate and the traffic is usually light to very light.  There are no paved shoulders in Sierra County with the exception of I-25 (in New Mexico riding on the shoulder is permitted except through large cities).  In general, drivers are considerate but keep your ears open!  Watch for cattle guards and take a helmet, drinking water and spare tubes.

Hiking in Sierra County

Posted October 7, 2012

Choose from a multitude of hiking trails and landscapes throughout the county.  Wide open spaces offer unlimited hiking experiences ranging from short nature trails at the 3 state parks to day-long hikes along mountain ridges.  One of the most well-known trails is the ascent to the top of Turtleback Mountain.  The difficulty level ranges from moderate to difficult.  The trail climbs to the ridge and continues all the way to the tip top of the mountain.  The view is spectacular!  Round trip is 7 miles, 3 - 5 hours.   There are excellent trails in the Gila wilderness of the Black Range Mountains.  The Emory Pass trail runs along the ridge of the Black Range Mountains.  Park at the Emory Pass Vista and take the trail north or south.  Northward the trail leads to Hillsboro Peak at over 10,000 ft.  Views are absolutely breathtaking!!  Remember to take plenty of drinking water, snacks and adequate clothing and hiking gear.

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