La Cueva

La Cueva rock shelter is an archeological site located at the foot of the Organ Mountains outside Las Cruces, New Mexico. The shelter was occupied from almost 5,000 BC through the historic period that followed the arrival of the Europeans. In the mid 1970's approximately 100,000 artifacts were recovered here by the University of Texas at El Paso.

During the 18th and 19th Centuries, the rock shelter was probably known to the roving bands of Apaches who frequented the area. Then, in the 1860s, the cave was reportedly home to one of the more eccentric figures of New Mexico's history, Giovanni Maria Agotini, known to local folks as "El Ermitano," the Hermit. The cave can be reached by a moderately challenging trail less than a half mile from a picnic area.

Adventure is at Your Fingertips



  • $5 per vehicle day use fee


  • Open year-round


  • Restrooms and drinking water are available at La Cueva Picnic Area. The Dripping Springs Natural Area has a visitor center, handicapped-accessible restrooms, 12 picnic sites, and one large family/group picnic site that can be reserved through the BLM Las Cruces District Office (see Contact Information on the right). There is no camping allowed.  Although pets are allowed in the Picnic Area, they are prohibited on the trails.


Geographic Coordinates

32.33494778, -106.5833333


Visitors should park and check in at the Dripping Springs Visitor Center, located 10 miles east of Las Cruces, on the west side of the Organ Mountains. From Exit 1 on Interstate 25, take University Avenue/Dripping Springs Road east to the end.