Baylor Pass Trail

I didn’t hike Baylor Pass when I was doing Habitat in Las Cruces 2 years ago. That was a mistake.

Baylor Pass is a 6 mile long trail over the beautiful Organ Mountains. We did Baylor on a warm day in the end of February on one of our days off from building, hiking the trail west to east and then returning to our trailhead for a total of 12 miles and 2,450 feet in elevation gain. The west face, where we began our hike, is the longer route to the saddle – about 4 miles – and has 1,565 feet of the total climb. Beginning in the grassy foothills the hike transitions to rockier sections as it winds up into the mountains passing cactus, yucca stalks, and sagebrush throughout. After reaching the windy pass we took in the views of the sandstorm in the white sands of the basin to the east and the sunny grass plains to the west before beginning our descent to Aguirre Springs, from where we had hiked the Pine Tree Trail the previous month.

As impressive as our hike up was, I preferred this section of the hike down (and then up) the eastern side as it not only passed larger trees and beautiful granite-lined streams, but provided spectacular views of the peaks. In addition, the reduced visibility caused by the sandstorm below had created the most beautiful gradations of blue in the mountains; just after we left from the summit going down we left the trail to walk out to an overlook that provided an incredible view of the cyan and cobalt range. After a snack break near the eastern trailhead we ascended 2 miles back up to the saddle. The wind had increased by this time and our 4 mile descent was decidedly cooler, which was actually lovely as the sun had become stronger.

Trailhead, Baylor Pass Trail, Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

Trailhead, Baylor Pass Trail, Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

Baylor Pass Trail, Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

Baylor Pass Trail, Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

Baylor Pass Trail, Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

Baylor Pass Trail, Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

Baylor Pass Trail, Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

Baylor Pass Trail, Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

Looking down to the trailhead, Baylor Pass Trail, Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

Looking down to the trailhead, Baylor Pass Trail, Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

Tom and Abby on the trail, Baylor Pass Trail, Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

Tom and Abby on the trail, Baylor Pass Trail, Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

Looking into the White Sands Basin from the pass, Baylor Pass Trail, Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

Looking into the White Sands Basin from the pass, Baylor Pass Trail, Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

Top of the pass, Baylor Pass Trail, Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

Top of the pass, Baylor Pass Trail, Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

Descending the east side of Baylor Pass Trail, Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

Descending the east side of Baylor Pass Trail, Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

Us, Baylor Pass Trail, Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

Us, Baylor Pass Trail, Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

Baylor Pass Trail, Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

Baylor Pass Trail, Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

Abby surveying, Baylor Pass Trail, Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

Abby surveying, Baylor Pass Trail, Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

Baylor Pass Trail, Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

Baylor Pass Trail, Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

The Rabbit Ears, Baylor Pass Trail, Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

The Rabbit Ears, Baylor Pass Trail, Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

Near the trailhead in Aguirre Springs, Baylor Pass Trail, Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

Near the trailhead in Aguirre Springs, Baylor Pass Trail, Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

Aguirre Springs Trailhead, Baylor Pass Trail, Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

Aguirre Springs Trailhead, Baylor Pass Trail, Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

The view going back up the mountains, Baylor Pass Trail, Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

The view going back up the mountains, Baylor Pass Trail, Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

Back at the pass, Baylor Pass Trail, Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

Back at the pass, Baylor Pass Trail, Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

Abby waits for us in the shade, Baylor Pass Trail, Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

Abby waits for us in the shade, Baylor Pass Trail, Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

Baylor Pass Trail, Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

Baylor Pass Trail, Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

Still trying to get Abby to take better selfies, Baylor Pass Trail, Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

Still trying to get Abby to take better selfies, Baylor Pass Trail, Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

Back near the western trailhead, Baylor Pass Trail, Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

Back near the western trailhead, Baylor Pass Trail, Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

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