If you’re in the mood for a hike in Las Cruces, gorgeous southwestern vistas await. From the Sierra Vista Trail with views of the Rio Grande Valley to the SST Trail that takes you through the Robledo Mountains, Las Cruces is surrounded by options for hiking enthusiasts.
Even though average May temperatures reach highs in the upper-80s, hikers also have to plan for New Mexico’s intense sunshine, low humidity and high winds. Preparation is key, and your attire plays a huge role in keeping you comfortable and safe.
Take these tips when preparing for your next hiking adventure in Las Cruces, and you’ll return to home base feeling more invigorated than when you left.
Choose light-colored, loose-fitting, cotton clothes
Cotton may not be the best choice in cold or humid climates, but it is “king” in hot, dry desert ones. That’s because cotton will hold your sweat closer to your body longer, allowing it to perform its biological function of keeping you cool.
Color matters too. Pick light colors, which may help reflect some of the sun’s UV rays. For extra protection, select bright, solid colors that can be spotted against the desert’s background, in case you need to be seen or found easily. Blues, greens, pinks and reds are good choices.
Lastly, opt for baggy, long pants and long-sleeve shirts. It seems counterintuitive to cover up, but the coverage will shield you from sunburns and overexposure. The bagginess will aid airflow, which will also help keep you cool.
A broad brim hat with a chin strap is your best friend when hiking in Las Cruces. It will protect not only your head and scalp, but also your ears, the back of your neck and your shoulders. (The chin strap keeps the desert winds from carrying your new hat away.)
Most of us don’t think of our ears, neck and shoulders on a regular basis. But if they are subject to sunshine for a long time, they can burn quickly and painfully. Baseball caps won’t do the job as well, so opt for headwear that is bigger and floppier than you normally wear. And don’t forget your sunglasses. Your peepers need shade too.
Carry Your Shade
For those with very fair, sensitive or delicate skin, another accessory may come in handy – an umbrella. One desert hiker recommended an ultralight umbrella, specifically designed with Teflon coating to reflect rays, which made a “tremendous difference” for her. Yes, you might look a bit odd carrying an umbrella when it’s not raining, but consider it portable shade for when the sun is high in the sky.
In addition to your cotton garb, brimmed hat and hiking umbrella, be sure to put on moisture-wicking socks and tie a wet bandanna around your neck. The less skin that is exposed, the better.
Let’s go hiking!