Explore the wonders of the desert...
We offer a vast array of activities for schools, families (dogs included!), groups, and individuals. The Chihuahuan Desert Nature Park has plenty of amenities to keep you cool in the hot sun and make your visit more enjoyable.
The Chihuahuan Desert Nature Park is open Tuesday – Sunday from 7:00AM – 5:00PM.
56501 N. Jornada Rd Las Cruces, NM 88012
Note to Teachers Taking Field Trips: The first half of your field trip may take place at the headquarters of the Jornada Experimental Range. Check your confirmation letter or contact us.
Learn About The Park
Take a virtual tour of our Desert Discovery Trail to learn more about the Chihuahuan Desert and the Nature Park.
Learn more about the Asombro Institute for Science Education, the nonprofit that owns and operates the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Park, and the Nature Park itself by reading our brochure.
Self-Guided Tour Booklet
This self-guided booklet for the Desert Discovery Trail will help you unlock some of the desert’s many secrets. As you walk the trail, you will learn about archaeology, geology, soil, plants, animals, and much more. If you only have limited time, read the bulleted list in the box at the top of each page. If you want more details, read the rest of the text.
Things To Do
In collaboration with the USDA-ARS Jornada Experimental Range, the Asombro Institute provides an opportunity for students to learn about science and the desert during a day-long field trip.
The Nature Park houses many other opportunities to learn or explore. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Go for a hike
- Attend a public event
- Check out the weather station
- Explore our science demo plots
- Have a picnic
- Check out our rainwater harvesting system
- Contribute to our iNaturalist or Chronolog projects
- Visit the rain-out shelters
- Find all the plant ID signs
- View wildlife
The Chihuahuan Desert Nature Park has hiking trails for all ability levels. Dogs are allowed on-leash or restrained anywhere in the park. Please be responsible, and pick up after your pet.
- Xeriscape Memorial Garden
- Interpretive Mini-Trail, 0.1 miles *Wheelchair Accessible*
- Arroyo Trail, 0.4 miles
- Desert Discovery Trail, 1.2 miles
- Desert Discovery Spur Trail to top of Vista Hill, 0.3 miles
Take A Break
Stop and relax at one of five shade ramadas at the park. There are also several picnic tables near the parking lot and off of the Desert Discovery trail.
The 150-seat amphitheater is less than 0.5 miles away from the parking lot with beautiful views and shaded seating. Benches are found along all trails.
Due to vandalism, composting toilets are only available when staff is on site. We appreciate your understanding.
Share in Art
The Chihuahuan Desert Nature Park is a wonderful place to share in art or create some of your own! We currently have three pieces on site:
The Rainkeepers by Sharbani Das Gupta can be found at the amphitheater. It is an art piece made from mixed materials that highlights the fragility of our ecosystem, our dependence on it, and the need for a wise, humane approach to life and the planet.
Reclaimed Desert by Stephanie Preciado is displayed near the parking lot. A labor of love for art and the environment, this mosaic was made mostly of recycled glass bottles and ceramic tiles in 2012 and 2013.
The amphitheater mural was created by Zoe Spiliotis and Adrian Aguirre in 2021 and 2022. They donated their time and talents to create this beautiful piece that highlights the plants and animals visible in the desert throughout the day and night.
Other Site Features
The Nature Park has multiple types of signage to help you better explore the Chihuahuan Desert. Plant Identification signs can be found along the Desert Discovery Trail and Desert Experience Mini-Trail. Larger signs give information about park features, such as the Weather Station.
A rooftop rainwater harvesting system is used to collect and store rainwater that falls on a rooftop. At the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Park, we use the collected water to supplement precipitation for transplanted vegetation, to clean facilities, and more. This water is not drinkable.
Monitoring Remediation through Photography
In June 2022, we started a remediation experiment in an area that has visible damage to plants and soil due to trespassing cattle and unauthorized off-trail vehicle use.
Found on the Gateway trail, the site includes a control plot and a remediation plot. In the remediation plot on the right side of the photos, we added seven bands (2 meters x 1 meter each) of cut creosote bush (Larrea tridentata) branches to the soil surface. These branches were cut from shrubs removed to install the parking area at the trailhead. Branches were staked loosely to the ground to prevent them from blowing away. We hypothesize that the added ground cover will decrease soil erosion, increase humidity, and trap litter and water moving through the system, ultimately promoting the growth of grasses and forbs. If successful, this may serve to be a very low cost, simple method for remediating other damaged areas in the desert.
Anyone can contribute to this community science project bu taking a picture at the Chronolog post and emailing it to Chronolog.