The small, hump-backed Tortugas Mountain rises above the East Mesa to an elevation of 4,928 feet above sea level. Often called “A” Mountain for the New Mexico State University (NMSU) Aggies gigantic “A” etched on the west side of the mountain, a much preferred older name is Tortugas, or “Tortoise” Mountain, because of its resemblance to a turtle (or several turtles ) making their way across the desert—when viewed from the south. This no fee Recreation Area is used for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding, and is open year-round. There are shaded picnic tables located at large parking lots on the east and west sides of the Mountain. The Monte Vista Parking lot/trailhead (east side) and the Sunset Parking lot/trailhead (west side) both provide trashcans and numerous picnic tables under a common shade structure, and are the primary access points for the trail system. Tortugas Mountain has long been used for mining, ranching, recreation, tribal ceremonies and scientific studies. The structures visible on top are communication sites and astronomical observatories managed by NMSU. We ask that visitors please keep a reasonable distance from these sites. The eastern side of the Mountain (Monte Vista Parking Area) is managed by the BLM and the western side (Sunset Parking Area) is managed by NMSU. Both entities recognize the many impacts being caused by increasing public use and have joined together to conserve and provide better public use facilities.