The high wall, needle-like spires of the Organ Mountains curve dramatically around a semicircle of Chihuahuan Desert habitat at the Aguirre Spring Campground. The campground, nestled at the base of spectacular cliffs, overlooks the Tularosa Basin and White Sands National Monument. Alligator juniper, gray oak, mountain mahogany and sotol are a few of the abundant plant species here. Seasonal springs and streams occur in the canyon bottoms, with a few perennial springs that support riparian habitats. From April to October, the entrance gate is open from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. From October until April, it is open from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
My cousin and I were able to reach the base of the summit in 3.5 hours, while witnessing some pretty great views on the way up. However, after spending about 4 hours trying to find a route to the peak, we were unsuccessful. We did find potential paths to the top, but the rock climbing required to follow these paths seemed rather dangerous and risky.
Also, I'm not sure if we were on the correct path when we reached the base of the peak, but that area did not have a trail - we bushwhacked like crazy and certainly fell numerous times (I'd highly recommend wearing long-sleeve shirts and pants).
Lastly, if you're hiking the trail for the first time, I'd recommend giving yourself ample time to get down the path, which is fairly steep and somewhat slippery. Even though my cousin and I made it to the top in 3.5 hours and had no issues navigating the trail, we found ourselves losing the trail down many times. There were trails that broke off from the main trail that led to dead ends (e.g., the top of a canyon). Unfortunately, our phones died on the way down, so that also made the journey a lot more difficult. So definitely don't underestimate the way down! And always, it's smart to prepare for the worst so take extra water, a flashlight, an extra phone battery, etc!
Definitely worth the time and effort, know your goal and never turn back. I parked in the La Cueva picnic area and it took me 4 hours to reach the needle, and about 2 1/2 to get down and back. I went by myself, though I definitely advise against this, luckily I ran into another hiker and we stuck together for most of it. The trail was marked often enough by cairns and the occasional white tape in trees that is was fairly easy to follow. The AllTrails app is accurate to a fault, as long as you have signal. The only truly dangerous part in my opinion was the final rock face you have to climb to reach the summit. Just keep your feet in the crack and take advantage of the ample hand holds. Don't ever trust any rope or cordage you find as an aid, you never know if they tied proper knots, or how worn the threads are. All in all it was a great hike, the views are incredible, and the challenge makes it that much more rewarding. Once you get to Juniper Saddle the environment changes drastically, lush green vegetation and the fresh smell of juniper and cedar trees. Bring at least two liters of water, you'll need it in the summer time. Lastly sign the logbook at the top, inside of the waterproof container! Enjoy!!
I complete it on March 2013, the most strenuous but exciting experience. The part near the summit is the most difficult, but once you get to the top, you feel a great satisfaction. It took us around 9 hours to complete it, we returned by the other side by the mountain with no trail, until we join the Fillmore Trail. The view of 360 degrees from the top is amazing!, I have to go again.
Just hiked the Baylor Pass Trail from the Aguirre Springs campground on the east side of the Organ Mountains. This is an awesome well maintained trail with a gradual elevation gain around a 1,000 ft. to the pass. A lot more trees and vegetation on this trail compared to the west side trail which connects at the pass.
At around two miles you reach the top of the pass and is a good place to stop and take in the views. The city of Las Cruces to the west and the Tularosa Basin and White Sands National Monument to the east. I would recommend a good walking stick or trekking poles due to several places with loose slippy rocks. I would rate this hike as easy to moderate and is one of my favarotie trails in the area.
Great hike but you definetly need to be in semi decent shape. We did the whole loop and it took us a littlt over 3 hours. At the end we were exhausted. Didnt see any wildlife but did see lots of tracks. Cool scenery with some ice at the top of the trail.
East approach to Baylor pass is preferred. Take two cars and at least one friend. Heading west from Las Cruces, park one car at the Baylor Pass trail head at the base of the Eastern slope. Then all parties get into one car and travel over the mountain and to Aguirre Springs. Register your vehicle, sign in at the trail head by the little horse corral and embark on a one-way hike from Aguirre Springs back to the first vehicle. Yes, you will have to return to Aguirre Springs Recreation area to get back to your shuttle vehicle. However, a nice picnic and a campfire to come back to make this a hike to remember.
My friend Mary and I were within 40 minutes of summit when we faced a dilemma: With limited daylight hours remaining and day trip provisions, do we A) Summit and take about ten minutes up top before beginning the descent, or B) take out the guitars and the craft beers, and celebrate the scenery properly on the last little summit before the needles. We chose B! We stayed a little longer than prudence would have allowed though, and after losing the trail back a couple times on the way back....the last few miles through brush country with dusk and then flashlight was burly. I was completely drained after getting back to the truck, but in the glow of the aftermath of the magnificence of this hike. It didn't matter about the summit at all, but that's just how we roll.
I suggest a nice pair of gaiters, and old gear. Trust me, you will get thorns and snags and overgrown WTF sections on this hike...especially if you go it with no map like we did. It is easy to lose the trail. I'd hate to see you snag the feathers out of your $300 goose down vest.
I also suggest a couple of flashlights and extra batteries. This would be a great overnighter hike. I only suggest this as a dayhike for the seasoned outdoor enthusiast. There is a meet up group that also does this hike quite often. Don't go alone. I have some pics from that day somewhere. I will try to post in the future. Happy trails...to you.