Magical Mimbres Valley Tour
Highway 61 Mile 0 - 12

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Notice Cookes Peak off in the distance and to the right.  It looks like a dollop of whipped cream.  It is named after Phillip St George Cooke of the 2nd U.S. Dragoons and the former commander of the Mormon Battalion that was exploring this area of New Mexico in 1853.  Cookes Springs was the only dependable supply of fresh water between Mesilla and the Mimbres River for wagons heading to California on the Southern Immigrant Trail as well as the later Butterfield Overland Mail stagecoach route.  Between 1848 and 1861 the pass was a dangerous place for travelers who were often ambushed and killed by the Apache as they passed through it.  Following the Bascom Affair, things were even worse as the Apache, formerly friendly to the stage company destroyed most of the stations and destroyed many coaches and killed their passengers and for over a decade later hundreds of other travelers.  Cookes Pass was a favored location for these ambushes and it acquired the name Massacre Canyon after incidents like the Battle of Cookes Canyon. If a cloud settles around the top of Cookes Peak, it is said that rain is in the near future.

On Highway 61, mile post 2, on the left side of the road, you will see some tanks on the top of a hill.  These are for the Faywood Hot Springs. 

The hot springs have a very long history.  In the 1880’s Richard Hudson acquired the hot springs property believing the hot springs to have healing and medicinal properties.  There he built a hotel called the Hudson Hot Springs. It functioned about ten years before it burned down around 1890.  The hotel was rebuilt and in 1897, Hudson Hot Springs reported a population of thirty five, daily mail service, and stage service to Hudson station on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad five miles away.  Methodist and Presbyterian Church services held once a month and a public school open for three months of the year, with livestock, fruit, agriculture and the hot springs as its resources. The Hudson Hot Springs Sanitarium Company owned the hotel and applauded the benefits of the waters for kidney, blood and rheumatic diseases. 

Faywood got its name when T.C. McDermott sold his share of the hot springs to his partners J.C. Fay and William Lockwood.  They took the combinations of their names and came up with Faywood.  This was around the turn of the century and at that time the hotel could accommodate up to nearly 100 guests.

Today, one can enjoy a hot soak at the hot springs for twelve dollars or so.  Open 10 am to 10 pm daily, year around overnight guests may use the public pools all night long. They also have cabins and camping facilities.

Faywood Hot Springs, 165 Hwy 61, HC 71 Box 1240, Faywood, NM 88034

Phone: (575) 536 9663,

On Highway 61, mile post 3, the turn off for the City of Rocks State Park is on the left side of the highway.  The visitor center is about 1 mile from Highway 61.  The “city of rocks” was created by the explosion of an ancient volcano.  For the visitor, these strange rock formations create a fantastical world.  The park offers an excellent desert garden, public restrooms, camping sites, and picnic grounds. They also have a great visitor’s center.  Open 7 am to 9 pm.  (575) 536-2800. Check it out!  
As you cross the Luna County line on Highway 61, mile post 6, on the left side of the road , you will see the Trujillo Cemetery, a pioneer graveyard, a short distance before the Rancho Del Rio entrance on the right.

Behind the cemetery are large vertical rocks known as the "Tall Ones" and a popular picnic spot in the early 1900's.

On Highway 61, mile post 6, on the right side of the road you will see the tree lined Mimbres River area on the right.  As the road meets up with the river, you will see the Rancho Del Rio, aka Ranch on the River, on the right side.  Pulitzer Prize winning author and publisher, Gene Simons (recently deceased) and his wife Libby put this beautiful ranch into several conservancies.  One interesting fact is that this ranch is recognized as having a world record setting Velvet Ash tree.  It also has beautiful sacaton grass a robust native bunch grass.  There is a historical tomato cannery on the ranch as well.

On Highway 61, mile post 7 there is a bridge over an arroyo.  Just before the bridge, on the left hand side is a fence gate and to the left of the gate and behind are some rock outcroppings. 

On a large rock face to the left are visible petroglyphs and a  painted red image of a Mexican with a moustache wearing a sombero.  (The person who painted this demonstrated a complete disregard for the petroglyphs beneath his artwork).
  Petroglyphs - Highway 61 mile 7