SUNLAND PARK, New Mexico - Thousands of visitors are expected to trek up Mt. Cristo Rey on Good Friday, the day when Christians remember the death and crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
At the summit of the mountain stand a 29-foot tall statue of Jesus. The hike is a five-mile round trip. The gates opened at 6 am, and are expected to close at 2 pm. No pets are allowed.
On past Good Fridays, some pilgrims have made the climb up the mountain barefoot, or carrying a cross with them.
ABC-7 spoke with hikers who said it is a time of reflection and prayer.
Ruben Escandon, spokesman for the Mt. Cristo Rey Restoration Committee, said eight to ten thousand people are typically expected on Good Friday, the second largest pilgrimage of the year.
The committee, made up of volunteers, is in charge of Cristo Rey's maintenance year-round.
On days like Good Friday, they get the help of Border Patrol, Sunland Park Police and the Dona Ana County Sheriff's Office with crowd control and safety.
Mt. Cristo Rey will be open on Saturday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.