Organ Needles Trail is a 5.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Las Cruces, New Mexico that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round.
Hike thru Desert Valley to the Organ Needles. NO PETS ALLOWED. CAUTION - EXTREME HIKE - rated toughest in New Mexico by BLM, not only for the actual difficulty but for the bushwhacking and scrambling as well. Take extra water! After paying at the visitor's center, drive west on the service road to the trailhead at the La Cueva Picnic area. On the trail at about 0.15 miles you reach a fork in the trail. Take the left fork. At about 0.75 miles you will meet the junction of the Fillmore Canyon Trail on the left. Follow this trail thru the gate a few hundred yards until you see a pile of mine tailings. Take the left fork and climb the tailings pile. Follow the trail above the tailings in the direction of the large yellow rock ahead. Just beyond the yellow rock is a good rest spot in the trees. From the trees follow the trail to the large gray rock. Climb to the left of the gray rock up to Juniper Saddle. From Juniper Saddle continue up through Dark Canyon descending the west side around the spur and up to the Needles Peak. Return via reverse route.
Just got off the mountain. Crazy hard. I made it to the summit minus 100 feet. Just couldn't convince myself to scramble up the last bit of rock face. Still felt good to make it to the saddle. Started just before 6am parked away from visitors center to keep from getting locked in. Ended up finishing round trip by 2pm. But yeah really used the AllTrails app to start the hike and near the summit but really didn't get lost just kept and eye on the tail and remembered to go the same way down. So the hike was not dangerous just be prepared to go up up up. And the summit shouldn't be taken lightly I wish I could of made the top but wasn't prepared. Good Luck!
A long, arduous hike, for sure, but not nearly as scary as all these reviews would have led me to believe. Made the summit in 1:48 (Moving time), and scattered routes and multiple, misleading cairns were to blame. Decided to follow a corner/crack system with easy 5th class moves to shorten the route once you reach the final saddle. Very exposed and requires skill if you don't take the "easy" way for the final approach from the East.
I am giving this trail less stars than it deserves simply for my experience. Although the views are spectacular and scenic, I got lost multiple times. I did a lot of research before ascending this hike, and nothing could have prepared me for it. The way up, I did get lost a couple times, but it was the way down that caused me problems. I got off the main trail, since there are "dead-end trails," and at one point, I got so of course, that I had to call the visitor center and state police for additional help getting down. One wrong move, and you end up in very arid vegetation that completely cut you up with cactus needles and the like, despite wearing the appropriate clothing. I made it up and back in 10+ hours, but with search and rescue's help. I don't recommend this for "hikers." I'd say, please be careful and know how to "climb" a bit. The way down, you scoot on your behind a lot. I'm not saying the views aren't worth it, but please be prepared for the hike you are about to do. Take a friend, take lots of snacks and a camelbak, and take it slow. Other than getting lost, I loved the views at the summit. :)
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!!
took me 11 hours to do the whole trip, started cramping half ways up
Incredible adventure. The views are amazing.
Got about 40' from the summit and couldn't find a way to the top. Unforgettable experience, but incredibly strenuous.
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.
Pretty epic hike. Took about 3 hrs 45 min to get to the peak. It's pretty sketchy near the top but well worth it. There is orange tape and cairns that helped me stay on the right path; it can get a little confusing.
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.
Hardest day hike I've ever done. I started with a three mile bushwhack through cactus and thornbushes before finding fillmore canyon trail. hiked up out of the canyon and camped in a cave in yellow rocks. Made it close to the top the next day but got caught in a storm and had to turn back. Gonna make another attempt in Oct. Best hike ever.
Uploaded an image of two photos taken during the summer of 1981 of James and Bertha at the top of the peak
This is the toughest day hike in NM, and possibly in the southwest. We lost the trail a few times so it took us 12 hrs up and back. Cannot stress enough the importance of wearing pants and sleeves. I came home looking like I was crucified from all of the bushwhacking. My buddy and I, admittedly, are not experienced route finders, and we paid for it. Great views the entire way. The scramble was challenging and potentially dangerous, but as long as you go up and down the right way you should be fine.
I am a very fit and experienced hiker/navigator and even with using the AllTrails app I flat out lost the trail about 2/3 of the way. I tried and tried to find it again but eventually had to turn around due to time. It's one thing to get off trail and be able to navigate back to it, but the steep terrain and sharp brush made it far too difficult, frustrating, and painful. Also, I'm all about scrambling when needed, but be warned that parts of this trail are downright dangerous and falls would be fatal. I went alone and was terrified at some points because of losing the trail and all the loose rocks and dirt on the steep parts.