Summary: CAUTION - EXTREME HIKE - rated toughest in New Mexico by BLM. 6.5 hrs is not enough. Take extra water. I camped overnight at Juniper Saddle.
After paying at the visitor's center, drive west on the service road to the trailhead at the La Cueva Picnic area. On the trail at about 0.15 miles you reach a fork in the trail. Take the left fork. At about 0.75 miles you will meet the junction of the Fillmore Canyon Trail on the left. Follow this trail thru the gate a few hundred yards until you see a pile of mine tailings. Take the left fork and climb the tailings pile. Follow the trail above the tailings in the direction of the large yellow rock ahead. Just beyond the yellow rock is a good rest spot in the trees. From the trees follow the trail to the large gray rock. Climb to the left of the gray rock up to Juniper Saddle. From Juniper Saddle continue up through Dark Canyon descending the west side around the spur and up to the Needles Peak. Return via reverse route.
Trailhead: From the junction of I-10 and I-25, follow I-25 north one mile to the University Ave Exit. Turn right (east) on University Ave. University Ave will turn into Dripping Springs Rd. Follow Dripping Springs Rd east for about 5 miles until the pavement ends. Continue an additional 2.5 miles to the junction of Dripping Springs Rd and Baylor Canyon Rd. Just a little further ahead on Dripping Springs Rd you will find the paved entrance to Dripping Springs Natural Area. The entrance fee is $3 per vehicle. (Lat:32.33495 Lon:-106.59947)
Trail Guides for DSNA - Organ Needles Trail.:
Best Seasons: Year-Round
User Groups: Hikers,
Ranger Contact: Dripping Springs Visitor's Center - (575) 522-1219
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Michael P. Olbrisch, who has posted 71 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Submit your own review
Reviewed by Craig H. on 9/4/2012
This was a really tough hike mostly because the trail was really hard to pick up and follow. I climbed it by myself and it took me 6.5 hours round trip. I lost the trail several times both on the way up and the way down. I wore shorts and a t-shirt but I would definitely recommend at least long pants and gloves. By the time I was done my arms, legs, and hands were completely scratched up and I had a burning rash on my legs. You would be surprised at how much undergrowth and vegetation there is higher up, near the grey eminence and dark canyon. I was bushwacking the entire way up and having great difficulty staying on the extremely faint trail. The class 3/4 scramble that I kept reading about before I did it was not that bad.
Reviewed by Jared R. on 7/13/2011
This trail is extremely tough. I did it with a friend, we're both 23 and in decent shape, and it was still killer. Coming down was the most difficult part. We knew very little about the trail and going the wrong way 3 or 4 times made it all the more difficult. Took us 9.5 hours round trip. Other than taking plenty of water (I took 5 Liters) and some food, you must wear pants and legit hiking shoes. Great hike, worth the difficulty.
Reviewed by Steve S on 12/12/2010
Hiked it yesterday, it took 8:30hrs with rest stops and pics.Do not believe the guy that said he hiked it in 2:30hrs!! It is extremely difficult!! Prepare to get stuck with thorns and catus needles. Prepare to fall at least a couple of times coming down! Wear project gloves, take at least 4 bottles of water. Trail is difficult to trace in spots,and is not maintained or signed. There are small rock piles,and some survey tape, look for these.If you want to go to the very top you must go down between the two peaks, then there are two tech type climbs.They both have alittle exposer,I was by myself and am not a rock climber, so I got as high as the gap between the peaks and only explored the climbing routes. The one on the left looks easier.
Reviewed by Viewer on 5/22/2010
I hiked it from baylor canyon road also. It took us 2.5 hrs up and 2.5 hrs back. It was strenuous, but if you train for it, it shouldn't take you too long. Great view from the top.
Reviewed by Tai S. on 4/8/2010
this trail kicked my behind three ways from sunday, and we didn't start off the fillmore canyon trail, we went the other way from baylor canyon road taking the old mine trail. it took us 18 hrs to do. started at around 7:45am on memorial day 2009, got back down at about 1:30am the next day. I'll definitely do this trail again, but take the fillmore canyon route and camp up at 7778 so that i'm not hiking in the dark for 7-ish hours. Grey Eminence is hard on the knees, to be sure, and hair raising to come down in the dark. But it does make you feel like a rock star when you do it :)
Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
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