Organ Mountains – Fillmore Canyon

Rolled into Las Cruces very early in the afternoon meaning I had a few hours of daylight for a hike – finally, A HIKE! Weather was perfect and I was dying to stretch my legs. Drove to a couple super off-beat trailheads I found on AllTrails but roads were impassable. Gave up and headed to Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument because it’s always a winner. Chose the short Fillmore Canyon Trail so I’d be done by dinner time and to see the waterfall at the end. Trail starts at the La Cueva Trailhead.

My parents moved to Cruces back in 2009 and I’m definitely jealous they get to see the Organ Mountains every day. Always spectacular and constantly changing appearance. At the start of my hike there are some small fluffly clouds teasing the peaks but otherwise skies are clear.

Here’s a wider view from the same spot. Notice those shadows slowly but surely creeping into view? Winter sunlight sure doesn’t last long enough when you’re having fun.

Looking to my right, some of the peaks have a small amount of snow lingering on top. Definitely means it’s winter time.

Fillmore Canyon Trail intersects with several others including the Crawford Trail which connects to Dripping Springs which I hiked last time (click here to see that trail, it’s fantastic). Other trails allow you to climb all the way up to Organ Peak. Be careful getting through the narrow barb wire fence here.

Eventually you will reach the start of the canyon which really doesn’t look like much at first. Pay close attention here as the trail starts to disappear as it goes up the wash.

Here’s the view further into the canyon. Pick your way through the stones and boulders carefully to prevent twisted ankles. I imagine this would be a swiftly flowing stream during/after a rainstorm or spring melt if you time it right. For now it’s bone dry.

At the end of the canyon you will find a 15 foot smooth stone wall and what looks like a waterfall. It’s only dripping a tiny bit right now but that’s to be expected as December in the desert is very dry. Still worth seeing and very cool!

The hike back out of the small canyon is just as entertaining (especially as it becomes easier going all downhill). The sun is getting low quickly and the light bouncing off the rocky cliffs makes for some fun and dramatic imagery.

Another view after popping out of the canyon and back to the main trail. The photo below doesn’t do justice compared to how it looked in real life – much more exciting and vibrant. Classic desert views, I love it.

At points I stopped and turned back towards the Organs because the sunlight was making them glow practically neon in shades of yellow, orange, and red. See what I mean about the look changing depending on the light?

Here’s a view looking down the range in the opposite direction towards Dripping Springs. Getting some deep shades of red now as we transition from golden hour to blue hour.

One last look as the sun drops below the horizon. The Organs have changed now to a red/pink hue and look almost volcanic in nature. Amazing, this area never dissapoints. Time to leave and meet the parents for dinner at the local brewery for my mom Sue’s birthday. Cheers!

Hiking Data

Here’s the trail route that runs mostly straight up the mountain into the canyon. The water is marked on the map as a small stream fed by Fillmore Spring but it’s dry right now. Other photos online show it to be much more substantial if you catch it at the right time.

Round trip is 2.2 miles with about 400 feet elevation change. Not bad by any means but does require a little work. You’ll feel it in your glutes in the morning. Lots of people walking dogs and such after work on the other trails of this area and I can’t blame them. 10/10 would recommend going here.

Author’s Note: Due to many reasons – none of them very good – I’m posting this from the future in March 2022. Actual visit date/time December 10, 2019 5:02pm. I’ll backdate it later so as to maintain chronological order. I’ve got an overwhelming backlog of photos to process which is probably why I procrastinate. Hope you enjoy them all the same.

Lat = 32.3346481 , Long = -106.5988312 -- Show at Google Maps

1 thought on “Organ Mountains – Fillmore Canyon”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.