in , ,

Achenbach Canyon Hiking Trail

The world-famous Achenbach Canyon is located in Las Cruces, New Mexico. It is a 5.5-mile out-and-back trail. This trail is completely different from other quintessential trails. It is also more challenging than the other trails in New Mexico City.

Achenbach Canyon Hiking Trail
Photo by Eric Sanman

It is accessible all year round. It offers a plethora of terrain, such as rocky inclines and sandy washes. Achenbach is well known for its rock formations and the spectacular views of Mesilla Valley and Oregon Mountains.

Is Achenbach Canyon Hiking Trail Challenging?

Even the most professional hikers and campers find the Achenbach Canyon Hiking Trail challenging! It requires a good amount of fitness to be able to traverse the intimidating terrain of the trail. The entire trail is 20 miles, and you can choose the section of your choice to match your time and level of endurance!

The challenging aspects of this trail are steep climbs, descents, and river crossings. Ultimately, all the pain will be worth it, as you will be bestowed with spectacular sunrise and sunset views!

Going to the Achenbach Canyon Trail on weekdays is recommended as it will be less crowded. If you visit this amazing place during summer, daylight gets incredibly long, and there is plenty of daylight, even at 9 or 10 o’clock.

One thing you should be mindful about is the rattlesnakes. There are plenty of these little creatures, and if, by any chance, they happen to sense your vibration, they might intrude and create a havoc for you!

How is the view of the trail?

The trail of the Achenbach Mountains follows a ridge above the Missouri River. One simply need not worry about the hurdles or turns as most of the trail is single-track. The view is incredible, and you will get the best sunset view if you can get there before evening!

When is the best time to visit?

Usually, people opt to visit this amazing place during May or June. During mid-summer, the temperature reaches nearly 100 degrees. You might encounter some problems during the trek if you are not a novice hiker.

Thus, a spring hike works best for beginners! Moreover, you will be able to witness the breathtaking flora of the terrain. Wildflowers and prairie roses are in abundance during spring.

The importance of outdoor activities

Outdoor activities such as camping or hiking can profoundly impact one’s mental and emotional well-being. Hiking can be the best as it is an endless source of thrills and adventures! You not only improve your physical health but also end up spending time with your near and dear ones.

Engaging in hiking or camping can be an invaluable source of enrichment for body and mind alike. Who would not like to take a break from their mundane life and enjoy the tranquility of nature?

Achenbach Canyon trail is your ultimate get away from your daily 9-5 life. It encourages you to come out of the tight grasp of technology and plug into nature instead. This trek is for old and young alike!

Length and difficulty of the trail

Known as the most scenic and secluded trail in the park near Watford City, North Dakota, Achenbach is a 29.8km trail near Grassy Butte. This is considered a very challenging route, and it takes an average of 7 and 50 minutes to complete. The trail is great for camping, hiking, and backpacking.

How to arrive at the trail?

It would help if you arrived at the North Unit Ranger station to get your back-country permits. The park ranger can sometimes be crowded during peak hours. Hence it is very important to come early. Many visitors camp at the Juniper Campground and rest there.

You can start your trail at one of the three spots- the Caprock Coulee, the campground trailhead, and the parking spot at the River Bend Overlook. To reach the trail from the Caprock Coulee Trailhead, you should go across the Scenic road to access the trail. Then, you will reach the junction and have to take a left turn at the marked junction with a steep downhill.

From this place, you should run along the valley bottom and then follow the river with spectacular views of the badland formations. You will be greeted by cottonwood trees all along the place. The trail heads up in the direction of the parking lot after coming to the oxbow bend near the Little Missouri River.

After that, the trail eventually heads west along the edge of the plateau. Then, it heads to the Sperati point. After arriving at the Sperati point, you will have to turn left and go downhill through the badlands.

Then, you will have to cross the river and finally head south. After reaching the plateau, you will see that the Achenbach spring is towards the left. Before finally descending to the river, the trail climbs up and down many small valleys.

What supplies should you take along with you?

While you are mapping out the itinerary for the Achenbach hiking trail, you should also prepare a checklist of the following items to be carried with you:


You should also check weather forecast and pack your clothes accordingly. For the warm and sunny days, pack something which is lightweight and the one which protects you from the UV rays. It is recommended to use moisture-wicking clothes and long-sleeved shirts.


For smooth and manicured trails, wear hiking shoes and sandals. Achenbach trail has rocky and rugged trails, and hence, boots provide sufficient support and stability.

Food and water

Many hikers often commit a mistake of not taking enough food and water. However, it is very important to be prepared with extra food supplies. The sunny can really be excruciating sometimes, hence it is important to take more water than needed.


If there is an utmost essential item that you should take, it is the compass or other navigational tools. The hike is steep, and if you are unfamiliar with your surroundings, you should at least have two compasses.

First aid

You can get bruised while hiking. You are also likely to get a scratch due to the thorns. Thus, while packing the items required for Achenbach canyon trail, make sure that you carry a first aid kit.

Rock formations at Achenbach Mountains

The mystical Achenbach Mountains reach at an elevation of 9000 feet, and they tower towards Tularosa Basin and Mesilla Valley. Many exotic angles of the range and the volcanic upheaval of millions of years ago make the area extremely challenging for first-time hikers.

These mountains are at a driving distance of Las Cruces, and many visitors from all over the country come to see the Aguirre Springs trail. The Achenbach trail remains an unsolved mystery to be explored.

The area is surrounded by gently sloping hills, and you can also see the trail dotted with bulbous rock formations.

The area near Las Cruces has a plethora of archaeological sites, and the Mountains contain traces of civilizations hundreds of years old.

What are the safety precautions one should take while hiking Achenbach Mountains?

Following are some of the safety precautions you should follow while hiking the Achenbach mountains:

Bring at least one friend along with you.

For eliminating the group of being stranded, it is important to bring at least one friend. Before you set out on a hike, you and your companions should discuss a couple of things about your emergency plan and itinerary.

Agree on an emergency plan.

If you happen to encounter any kind of unprecedented scenario, it is important to discuss well in advance what are the measures you are going to take? In case of any unlikely event, you should know how you will call or send for help.

Prepare for the weather.

It is recommended to follow the weather podcast before you set out on your hike. Take all the supplies and gear you can!

It is also crucial to have a word with the rangers prior to the hike. Big storms can come unexpectedly! Even small changes in the weather make your hike riskier.

Stay on the trail.

For the sake of your safety, it is important that you stay on the trail as your odds of encountering a hurdle or an obstacle go up when you step off the path!

Go for a small trail hike before going on the main one.

Some things are hard to figure out until you are actually out there. Many expert hikers suggest that it is important to go for a modest hike before you go for a major one!


The trail can be quite intimidating for novice hikers. However, as you progress and move forward to the Achenbach trail, you will see many beautiful vistas, spectacular scenery, and the diverse terrain of the mountains.

Pack your backpacks, prepare your itinerary, and start off with your hiking adventure, as this is one trail you should not miss out on!

Written by Emma Parker

Hi, I'm Emma Parker, a passionate outdoors enthusiast and blogger. I love nothing more than exploring the great outdoors and sharing my experiences with others.

Leave a Reply

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings

What is Adaptive Hiking

What is Adaptive Hiking?

Hiking Trail Signs and Symbols Meaning

What are Hiking Trail Signs and Symbols Meaning?