The Organ Mountains are a beautiful range of mountains just east of Las Cruces, NM. At 8445 feet Baldy Peak is the 5th highest peak in the Organ Mountains and in Dona Ana County. Baldy Peak has a relatively low prominence of 535'. Despite this it is a very fun and rewarding hike. The Organ Mountains are a very popular place to hike in southern New Mexico. Soledad Canyon marks the start of the hike up Baldy and is probably the most popular free hiking area in the Organ Mountains. Baylor Canyon is another free hiking area that is possibly as popular as Soledad Canyon. Dripping Springs and Aguirre Springs are also popular places to hike but these areas both cost $3 for using. The hike up Baldy starts at Soledad Canyon but the hike continues further past the waterfall at the end of the trail. This waterfall flows year round except for extremely dry years. After the short monsoon season in summer the waterfall flows strongly and is an amazing sight to see in the middle of the desert.
The area of the Organ Mountains past Soledad Canyon was burned in 2008. This fire lasted for several days thus closing down the hiking trails in the Organ Mountains. Because of this there is not a lot of vegetation in the way but there is a lot of ash that gets kicked up when climbing the slopes. In April of 2011 another large fire occurred in this area that was caused by a round from an Abrams tank in the White Sands artillery range in the southern Organ Mountains. This fire also lasted several days and once again closed down the hiking trails in the Organ Mountains.
From Las Cruces, NM head east on University Ave. After a while it will turn into Dripping Springs RD. You will drive 1-2 miles past "A Mountain" then you will come upon Soledad Canyon Road. After about half a mile the road turns to dirt. Just before it turns to dirt turn left on Soledad Canyon Road again. Keep following this until it ends at a parking area. The trail-head starts at this parking lot.
Route to the top
From the trail-head follow the main trail until you get to a small waterfall. Make sure to stay on the main trail. Some smaller trails head off in other directions. After you get to the waterfall either rock climb up the series of waterfalls then continue up the stream or head up the ridge to the right of the waterfalls. There is a small area you can scramble up that doesn't require rock climbing. It will take you up on a ridge a little bit above the stream. From there just climb back down to the stream. From the stream just keep heading up until you get to a large scree slope. Scramble up the scree slope until you reach the ridge. Once you reach the ridge head to your left and keep going up until you cant go higher.
The hike to the waterfall is 1.5 miles each way. After the waterfall it is about another 2-3 miles to the top of Baldy Peak. The first part of the hike to the waterfall is a very easy and flat trail. If you choose to climb the waterfalls it is about 100 feet worth of climbing (in multiple climbs, not all at once). The first climb is only a class 3 climb. The hardest of the climbs someone could argue is a low class 5. I would classify it has a class 4 climb. If you choose to go around it is a very steep and slippery climb. Once past the waterfall you will get to a stream which will once again be a easy flat hike. Once you reach the scree slope the hiking gets a bit rougher. It is somewhat steep and loose. After the scree slope the ground becomes more solid so the hiking becomes easier once again all the way to the top. When coming down if you are brave you can run/slide down the whole scree slope to make a quick descent.
Parking is only allowed after 8 a.m.
There are no developed camping areas near Baldy peak. However, there is a developed camping area on the other side of the Organ Mountains at Aguirre Springs.
When to climb
Climbing is possible year round. Spring and fall months are the most comfortable. Spring however can be quite windy if you pick the wrong day. Winter can be a good time to climb also. It rarely is below freezing during the day being in southern New Mexico. Also if you get lucky you can choose a day with snow in the mountains. Snow in these mountains is a beautiful sight with no risk of avalanches. In the summer it can reach 100 degrees in the middle of the day even up in the mountains. Also afternoon thunderstorms are a risk. These storms can also produce hail along with the rain. If you go in the summer check the weather forecast before climbing.
External LinksSoledad Canyon
Organ Mountain Trails