Fillmore Canyon Light...
There are many great hikes within the Dripping Springs area of the Organ Mountain Recreational Area. The official trails tend to be a bit on the "too easy" side... scenic, but just not enough of an effort required to get the juices flowing. The unofficial routes: Organ Peak, Little Ice Canyon, Organ Needle... well, those are beyond the pale; too tough for most folks wanting just an enjoyable few hours out. Yellow Rocks splits the difference nicely.
This route is the approach hike to head up to Organ Needle... it has all the same great scenery without any of the over the top efforts or pain. Head out from the La Cueva Picnic area, following the trails over to connect with the official Fillmore Canyon trail. The Fillmore Canyon trail goes up to the old Modoc Mine site, then around and up into the canyon bottom... leading to a great grotto like waterfall area. Instead of continuing on into the canyon bottom, to head up to Yellow Rocks you instead move to the left and around the old mine site, following the clear trail up to the canyon rim. You will enjoy nice overviews down into that official Fillmore Trail area as you work your way up past the huge waterfall. Take the time to move over to the edge of the canyon and check out the old man made dam at the top.
From there the trail heads up canyon, following the north side of Fillmore Canyon. The trail is obvious unless the locals have not been active recently. You can site your destination early on: the large yellow outcropping fin lying below the main part of the mountain cliffs.
You will eventually notice another trail coming in from your left... that track leads up and over to the other old mine sites and the Jeep road that accesses the area off of Baylor Canyon Road.
You could choose to start your hike from that Jeep road, giving you the opportunity to begin a bit earlier in the day. The picnic area at Dripping Springs officially opens at 8am... they tend to unlock the gate around 7:30am. There is also no fee if you enter on the Jeep Road. The Park charges by the car.
Go slow and enjoy the massive cliffs surrounding Fillmore Canyon and the towering spires of the Needles... the scenery is exceptional.
Beyond the Yellow Rocks... there lie monsters. Beware of venturing up into the scramble that is Organ Needle Peak!
Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.
This hike is listed as One-Way.
When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.