Baylor Canyon Pass

Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, New Mexico

Elevation Gain4,264ft
Trailhead Elevation4,885ft
Elevation Min/Max4885/6386ft
Elevation Start/End4885/4885ft

Baylor Canyon Pass

Baylor Canyon Pass is a hiking trail in Doña Ana County, New Mexico. It is within Organ Needles Wilderness Study Area, Organ Mountains Wilderness Study Area, and Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. It is 5.6 miles long and begins at 4,885 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 11.4 miles with a total elevation gain of 4,264 feet. Near the trailhead there are parkings.

Baylor Canyon Pass Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

100 Hikes in New Mexico (The Mountaineers Books)
Craig Martin
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"The National Recreation Trail over Baylor Pass roughly follows the route taken by the Confederate cavalry while engaging the Union infantry in 1862 during the Civil War. Near Las Cruces, Colonel John Baylor was attacked by Union troops under Major Isaac Lynde. Baylor’s inferior force nonetheless held its ground against the Union, and apparently, the sight of blood was enough to send Lynde packing out of nearby Fort Fillmore, a supply base he considered indefensible. Legend has it that, as the Union soldiers destroyed the supplies at Fort Fillmore in preparation for their retreat, they were loath to pour out a store of good medicinal whisky, instead using it to fi ll their canteens. As they retreated toward San Augustin Pass, the July sun and whisky soon dehydrated the marchers. Baylor easily caught Lynde’s stragglers, who readily surrendered for a drink of water. Then Baylor and several hundred mounted troops dashed across the pass that would bear his name, and surprised Lynde’s main Union force at San Augustin Spring, where Lynde accepted Baylor’s demand for unconditional surrender."
Hiking New Mexico - 4th Edition (Falcon Guides)
Laurence Parent
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"A day hike to a pass in the Organ Mountains. From the trailhead, the path climbs steadily, trending northwest overall. The trail winds through occasional boulders and rock formations. Scattered oaks and junipers offer shade along the route. As you climb, views to the east and northeast get better and better. To the south tower the igneous crags of the Organ Needles. A particularly good viewpoint is reached shortly before the end of the hike at about 1.5 miles. Baylor Pass is reached at about 2 miles. The pass is named after the Confederate general who went through the pass in 1861 to capture Union troops located at San Augustin Springs. Dogs are not allowed."

Baylor Canyon Pass Trip Reports

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Excellent trail with very good vies of the Organ Mountains and theTularosa Basin. Lots of wildflowers in the summer.
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A really nice hike but terribly hot now, so we got an early start--still, very hot. The scenery is incredibly beautiful. From the summit you can see the Organ Mountains, El Paso and Las Cruces. Breath-taking, but look out for snakes!
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Directions to trailhead were confusing but we found the trail because we stopped in at the National Forest on the way. The Ranger gave us very simple directions.

Trail was OK but somewhat boring. Could have been pretty much anywhere nothing special about it. Of course I started hiking in the Appalachis last summer and am currently hiking the SouthWest. My advice would be to go to the Lincoln Forest before the Gila because after the Gila everything appears mundane. I hike with my dog and I am so glad I did this on a weekday when nobody was out as the trail is shared by hikers and motor vehicles. A person could get run down by some of these big ATV's out here.
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The gate to the trailhead isn't open until 8am, so we couldn't get an early start on a hot sunny day. There were two parking places available at the trailhead (more farther up at campground). The trail is well-marked if you're not red/green colorblind--the blazes are a blue-green, a color invisible on the rocks to those who are. I could see them; my husband couldn't. Nice views, welcome intermittent shade and breezes. We only stopped for a few photo ops and so took just 2 hours and 20 minutes up to the pass and back.
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Baylor Canyon Pass Photos

Trail Information

Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument
Nearby City
Organ Needles Wilderness Study Area
Skill Level
Bureau of Land Management, 1800 Marquess St., Las Cruces, NM 88005; (575) 525-4300
Local Contacts
Organ, Organ Peak NW, and Organ Peak 7.5-minute USGS quad
Local Maps

Trail Log