Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have guided hikes at the Nature Center?
We offer guided hikes for groups (minimum of 10 people). Guided hikes are to Modesta Canyon, Clayton's Overlook or the Botanical Gardens. More information about our guided hikes can be found under Trails on this website.
With the self-guided hikes, you will get a CDRI brochure which includes a trail map, a description of the hiking trails, and information about the Botanical Gardens, Geologic Timeline and Mining Exhibit. We also offer full-color, supplemental trail guides to both Modesta Canyon and the Botanical Gardens which may be purchased at the Information Desk for $2 each.
What is there for kids to do?
Exploring hiking trails with a parent or grandparent is a great way for children to learn about nature. There are hiking trails to suit all age and skill levels for both young and old. The Pollinator Garden and the Mining Exhibit are hands-down favorite sites for young and old. Additionally, we offer the GeoCache exploration program, as well as a CDRI Scavenger Hunt for children. And, in June, we hold our annual Critter Club and Desert Rats Club Nature Day Camps. More information about all of these programs can be found at Kids' Corner on this website.
May we eat lunch at the Nature Center?
You are welcome to bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the views from the porch of the Visitor Center. For large groups, we offer a pavilion.
Do you have bathrooms?
We take pride in the cleanliness of our bathrooms in the Visitors Center. Please keep in mind that there are no bathrooms on the hiking trails or in the botanical gardens.
Do you have water?
We have bottled drinking water for sale in the Gift Shop. We also have certified and inspected well-water at the Visitor Center.
May I take my dog on a hike?
Well-behaved dogs are welcome on our trails. Dogs must be kept on a leash. Please help us keep our gardens and trails neat and clean for all visitors by cleaning up after your dog, if necessary.
May I mountain bike, ride my horse, or ride my ATV on your trails?
Our trails are for hikers only.
May I camp at the Nature Center?
We do not allow camping. The Nature Center is open from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Monday-Saturday.
When is the best time to visit?
The Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center is beautiful throughout the year making it easy to appreciate all of the seasons. Spring wildflowers will begin to bloom in late March and continue through May. The Cactus Greenhouse is spectacular during the spring months.The monsoon season gets started in July and lasts into August. This is when the grasses green up, more wildflowers are in bloom and hummingbirds abound. During the summer months, the evenings cool off in the desert, so be sure to bring a sweater or light jacket. In September and October, as autumn arrives, the butterflies and bees are out in profusion, as well as migrating hummingbirds. During the fall, the plants are again in full bloom. And, although there is less wildlife to see and plants are dormant in December and January, winter has its own beauty with dried grasses gently swaying in the breeze.
How much of the Nature Center can I drive through?
The paved road from the highway is one mile to the Visitor Center. There is parking outside the Visitor Center. The hiking trails, Botanical Gardens, Cactus Greenhouse, and Mining Heritage Exhibit are accessible by walking paths or hiking trails.
Can someone in a wheelchair visit the Nature Center?
The Visitor Center has a wheelchair ramp on the west side of the building with adjacent,designated handicapped parking. The Botanical Gardens have dirt and gravel paths that allow wheelchair access for most individuals.
May we bring a group?
Groups are always welcome! We recommend that you arrange for a guided hike or tour ahead of time. A guide often enriches the group's site experience. Ample parking space is available for RVs and busses.
Do you have a gift shop?
We are frequently told that we have one of the best gift shops in the region. The Gift Shop offers a great selection of books about the Chihuahuan Desert and nature-related themes. The gift shop has sotol walking sticks, CDNC logo t-shirts, hats and patches, as well as jewelry, gift items by area artists and craftsmen, and unique children's books and toys. There is no admission fee for those who just want to shop!