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Baylor Peak, NM

no permit
77 5 0
Guide 5 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List NM > Southwest
4.5 of 5 by 4
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Round Trip 7.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,884 feet
Elevation Gain 2,837 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,875 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 5-6 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 21.88
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Peak
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
4  2017-11-24 Booneman
21  2015-03-18 The_Dude
30  2013-11-11 Jim_H
22  2012-12-09 Jim_H
Author Jim_H
author avatar Guides 55
Routes 44
Photos 7,651
Trips 1,615 map ( 9,681 miles )
Age 40 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Associated Areas
list map done
Las Cruces BLM
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, Oct, Mar, Nov → 9 AM
Seasons   Spring to Early Winter
Sun  5:54am - 6:03pm
Official Route
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Fauna Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Mild Organ Mountain Summit
by Jim_H

The Organ Mountains are beautiful to look at, but some local hikers have commented that they are a miserable range, while others have plainly stated, "there is nothing there". This is in regard to the relative lack of trails and the steep( incredibly steep in some areas) aspect of the mountains, loose gravelly slopes, and the pointy, thorny, and brushy nature of what limited vegetation can actually be found on this very desert of ranges. However, there is at least one relatively easy and fairly short hike to summit a peak in the Organs, and it uses a very well built trail for most of it's route.

The main summits in the Organ Mountains are more climbing or technical hiking, but Baylor Peak offers a class 2 to extremely easy class 3 hike, with a well built trail for almost 6 of the 7.5 total hiking miles. After the well built trail, a pretty good social trail takes you to the summit. Because you are north of the main group of peaks, you will not have views to the south, except of those peaks, unless the sun blocks the view. You still have the other 270 degrees of views off the mountain.

The hike begins at the Baylor Pass trailhead on the west side of the Organ Mountains, and takes off from this free parking area heading east. It is the only trail leaving the lot, and you can't miss it. A sign warns of people dying in these mountains, but you really should not die on Baylor Peak. Use your judgement if you are uncomfortable. Lightning might be an issue in monsoon season, and despite the lack of vegetation and assumptions about snow and ice, ice may be an issue in winter as you will be approaching 8,000' on the summit. The Baylor Pass trail is smooth, gravel covered and easy to follow all the way to Baylor Pass. It even has trail placards and mileage numbers along the way. It is about 3 miles to the pass, and about half a mile before, there is a turn off for a free back country campsite, if you feel so inclined. For all but very small parts of the trail, you are crossing high Chihuahua desert range and scrub, with only limited Arizona and Shrub Live Oak in drains and on wet north slopes. Shade is lacking in hot months. There is no shade above the pass.

Once making the easy to reach pass, find the well worn social trail leading north and up slope to Baylor Peak. It is very easy to find for 95% of the hike, but a little difficult to find for a few small sections while going up. Down it is nearly impossible to miss. The trail is not official or well built, and at times it seems to have been worn down by some sadomasochists, as it takes you by, through, and between a lot of dagger, cholla, and other pointy plants and through the dominant "tree" of the range: the brushy and somewhat dead Mountain Mahogany. You'll traverse over gravel slopes and some loose rock that can be slippery with gravel. Be careful on this off trail, or social trail hike, but it is very doable. Return the way you came and use caution, as falling could plant you in a cactus or some other angry plant. Once back on the trail, it is smooth sailing to the parking lot. I ran for at least a mile of the best gravel sections of trail.

The summit of Baylor Peak is mapped at 7,721', but it hardly feels it. I attribute this to the desert nature of the range. Cactus and brush all the way to the top, with hardly any juniper to be found. Dry is an understatement here. From studying the Organ Mountains from the area around them and in satellite images, there is hardly any tree growth outside of drainages and protected north slopes. This range is something of a wall in the desert, so it probably gets very little rain in a good year. It is also a windy range, as I experienced when I first came to summit this. Baylor is at the north end of the quartz monzonite rock section of the range, so it has some of the steep rugged appearance of the other noteworthy peaks in the range. According to what I have read, the most attractive and famous part of the range is composed of this quartz monzonite, south of the steeped peaks is an area of rounded extrusive rhyolite, and south of that the range turns to limestone, which seems to comprise the bulk of the areas mountains, from the military base closed San Andreas Range to the north, to the Sacramentos and Guadalupes to the east, and the Franklins to the south. On a clear day, views should extend from the Florida Mountains to the west, the Black Range in the Gila to the northwest, the long thin San Andreas (representing a very easy to see west tilting fault-block range) to the north, the Sierra Blanca and Sacramentos to the east and possibly the high point of the Texas to the southeast. Enjoy.

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2012-12-10 Jim_H
    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.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Baylor Peak
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    I had a work trip out to El Paso and Las Cruces, great chance for a hike! I had done the Baylor Pass trail a few years ago and enjoyed it, but inclement weather kept me from getting in the peak as well. Rain threatened again this time, but it just stayed cloudy with a few scattered sprinkles. I parked at the west side trailhead about 4 in the afternoon to begin my adventure. The Baylor Pass trail is in really good condition, nice consistent elevation gain to the pass with nothing too steep. Great trail through Oaks and Sotols, very little bloom yet since it is a bit early in the year. The trail to the peak is a bit faint in spots, but pretty easy to follow until you get to the first false summit. From here, it is rock hopping and picking your way over to the peak. There is about 1300' of gain in 0.8 miles, so it is good and steep for sure. This route was completely non-technical, but there were some spots where it was helpful to use my hands to keep going. Definitely not a trail for those that have a fear of heights...I took a quick break up top, but the wind was howling. I was in my usual hiking gear, t-shirt and shorts, so I headed back down before getting too cold. Caught a great sunset on the way out, and there was a bunch of yellow evening Primrose that had opened up and bloomed by the time I got back to my car. Great hike if you are in the area!
    Baylor Peak
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Just got back from Baylor Peak. I like to hike it at least once a year. I prefer trails that I can do without needing full climbing gear, and although the the section from the pass to the peak is not easy, it doesn't require gear. It was just as dry and full of cactus as last year, and the views are still just as amazing.

    From the parking lot to the pass, it's a really easy family hike, but once you make the turn north and begin heading up to the peak, it begins to demand a little more endurance and stamina.

    I recommend plenty of water, snacks and a good hiking stick/pole.

    Here's last year's trip up.
    Baylor Peak
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    I missed a hike up Big Baldy last week, but I still needed to go to Las Cruces to shop and I like to hike in the Organs. I had wanted to hike this again for a little while, and so I went with it.

    The area is a bit healthier than last year, as all the monsoon rain produced a lot of growth. Today was also a lot nicer than last year, when cold winds were blowing me off the summit. I found the trail above the saddle a little more confusing this time. Often it dies out at odd spots. It was confusing even when descending.

    Visibility was much better this time, but it still wasn't perfect. With the basin being so low and so close to El Paso, TX, my guess is that clear views of the Guadalupes are not common.

    Some creature has made the summit cairn it's home, and is protecting it's investment with piles of cholla placed all over it. Aren't rodents fun! Finding a spot to sits is a bit harder with this, but what can you do?
    Baylor Peak
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    I really wanted to summit something in the Organ Mountains before winter set in. I was about a day too late for that, as it was cold, and extremely windy. I haven't had winds like today since one of my really windy Humphrey summits in the winter of 2011. It was hard to stand up at times on the ridge, but not the summit, and in the saddle it was gusting to well over 60 MPH. You know it is windy when you can't walk straight and have a hard time standing up.

    A really nice summit, but just OK views due to the wind whipping up dust and the haze from the cold front. I could not see Sierra Blanca, but should have been able to as there was nothing in the way except dust. Also, I probably could have seen Guadalupe Peak, but I do not think I could due to dust. What seemed like it might have been Guadalupe, was probably some other lower peak further west of it.

    I ran down some of the best sections of trail to make up time, as it was getting late. I caught a really lovely sunset from the old gate at the 1 mile mark, and was at my car well before it got dark.

    I know it is early winter, but man is this a drab range. Brown, gray, and brown. Nothing seems green at all. The desert might get hot in summer, but the range is high, dry and cold. I've seen better vegetation at lower altitudes in dry parts of Arizona. I could tell this is not a true granite range, too. The rock has no large quartz crystals in it. For the area, is is about as close to granite as you can get.

    Overall, the area felt a lot like the dry spots on the Fatman's Loop near Flagstaff, except with towering peaks just to the south. It was nice seeing some Arizona White Oaks on the trail. Other than those trees, this is not a lush hike at all. Maybe in August?

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From the I-25 and US 70 interchange on the north side of Las Cruces, take US 70 east to the Baylor Canyon exit, which is on the west side of the Organ Mountains. Proceed south on Baylor Canyon Road and turn left into the Baylor Pass trailhead parking lot. This parking area is free, and while the parking lot is gravel, it is in fine shape. Coming in from the north is all paved. If you come in from the Dripping Springs area to the south, you will drive on a graded gravel road.
    page created by Jim_H on Dec 10 2012 10:48 am
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