Organ Needles Trail

HARD 64 reviews

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.

5.8 miles
3,562 feet
Out & Back



nature trips



wild flowers


over grown



no dogs

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.

2 months ago

Very tough, physically demanding...not for the inexperienced. But totally worth it!!!

2 months ago

Great hiking trail. Straight up, crazy trail

3 months ago

An amazing but strenuous hike!! It took us about 10 hours round trip, with lots of resting and relaxing up at the top. It is definitely physically demanding on the way up and especially on the way down. We got lost/off trail a few times but made it back down. Follow the trail markers and make mental notes on the way up so you remember how to get back down with limited bushwhacking and scrambling. I’d advise wearing pants for sure and taking about a gallon of water each person and food/snacks. Be careful of rattlesnakes and stinging metal. The views are amazing and definitely worth the endurance.

3 months ago

Awesome, challenging hike. I did this back in March. Took me 5 hrs round trip, but I’d plan for an all day hike and pack accordingly. On the first third of the ascent, At approximately 32.339365 N, and 106.584949 W, there is a fork in the trail, and they both look good. Take the right fork (steer towards the large boulder up ahead). This will save you a lot of bushwhacking or backtracking. After the first third to half of the ascent, the trail is easier to follow. Wear pants.

4 months ago

I’ve made this hike twice. The first time I chickened out at the scramble area just below the peak. There were three of us and none of us had ever been there before. The other two went up the shear wall on the west side and made it to the top. The second trip I went with a group of real climbers that goes every year. The only thing they did differently was to take the east wall up the scramble. It looks dangerous but was surprisingly easy. You just have to know there are finger holds above you and put your hands there. I would do it again. But you sure get tired.

As others have mentioned, it’s easy to get lost on the way down. Wherever you turn on the way up make a mental note or take a picture for reference on the way down. The second group did not get lost. Our first group of three did.

7 months ago

This was an ass kicker! It’s an amazing hike to the peak of the Organs, but it is a very physically demanding and in your face hike up and down. It is definitely worth the challenge, but it is not for the weak minded and out of shape.

This was an all day adventure for us. We started early when gates opened and came down as the sun was setting. We took our time and it took us 7-8 hours. Bring plenty of food and water, good hiking boots, and pants. Keep eyes open for cairns to guide way up and down. It’s easy to sway off course. Use of recording on this app helped enormously. Plan for some celebratory beers afterwards. Gonna need them!!!

7 months ago

Took our time hiking the trail, yesterday. That being said, we got started at 8 AM and we were back at the truck just before 6 PM. Lots of great views and some challenging scrambling. It was a Saturday and we saw three other pairs of people hiking the trail.

8 months ago

It's definitely doable in a day but so much more fun as an overnighter. I went 4 times now, always with a group. Take enough water.

9 months ago

Lord of the send. 4:00 up, 3:15 down. #sendysunday

11 months ago

Hiked the Organ Needles three times now. One of my favorites and the view is great. There's a bit of scrambling throughout the hike, but if you're in decent shape it makes for a great day long climb. Watch out for Stinging Nettle towards the top!

11 months ago

Unbeatable views for the area and not a terribly long hike. That being said, expect few crowds, bushwhacking, steady climb, narrow trails, plenty of thorny bushes. I went in August after monsoon season and saw a rattlesnake on the trail so just be mindful of where you step and hike with a friend.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Some trail find ING skills are needed, but in general it's not a difficult trail to follow. Some parts are really strenuous, especially last leg through Dark Canyon to saddle. I didn't get to the summit, because I thought the first part of the scramble out of the little side canyon using the ledge was too dangerous. I did have to remove a lot of cactus needles out of my leg afterwards.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Was really scared by reviews but went anyway equipped with GPS and tagging tape. Started from Modoc mine road at 6:30am and drove as far as we could (road gets pretty rough) then followed the road until it met filmore trail. Trail was pretty obvious and we marked out path as we went. We wore shorts but changed into pants after the juniper saddle. We went through the dark canyon (careful there are plants that sting) and made it to the east side. We were suppose to go near the saddle on the east side to climb up the easy way but we heard something in the woods, got scared, and started climbing earlier. Was pretty perilous climbing but we made it to the top and the views were incredible. WHITE SANDS. Also there were tons of ladybugs this season. Finding our way back down wasn't too hard once you find the eastern saddle. Great hike. Bring lots of water and leave bottles near the saddle and places for more water on the way down. Would highly recommend.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

This is the most BADASS hike you will ever do. Views for days.

Friday, June 02, 2017

Amazing hike! The view at the top is totally worth the climb to get there. With that being said It is very challenging so be sure to bring plenty of water and food. I wouldn't take going on this hike lightly because of how challenging it is. There are a few places where it would be easy to slide and fall if you don't watch your step and tread carefully. Also once you start heading up the mountains there are plenty of trail markers to keep you on the right path just keep an eye out for them. Also I would recommend making an early start to do this hike to make sure you have enough time to complete it.

Friday, March 24, 2017

My roommate and I decided we would climb the needle over spring break. We don't have any experience in hiking or climbing but we made it to the saddle in 4 hours and it took another hour to figure it out how to get to the very top. The trail is not easy to follow and coming back down is the hardest part. We got lost for 2 hours and finally found a trail to climb back down. We started at 9am and finished at about 7pm. Bring at least a gallon of water for each person and food!
Totally worth it!!
Watch our YouTube video!(:

Sunday, March 19, 2017

hiked this in January and was covered in ice and snow. Very demanding hike but rewarding.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

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!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

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.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

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. :)

Friday, August 26, 2016

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!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

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!!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

took me 11 hours to do the whole trip, started cramping half ways up

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Incredible adventure. The views are amazing.

Monday, July 04, 2016

Got about 40' from the summit and couldn't find a way to the top. Unforgettable experience, but incredibly strenuous.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

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.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

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.

Monday, December 14, 2015

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 you.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

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.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Uploaded an image of two photos taken during the summer of 1981 of James and Bertha at the top of the peak

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