Las Cruces, NM
The National Recreation Trail over Baylor Pass roughly follows the route taken by the Confederate cavalry while engaging the Union infantry in 1862 during the Civil War. Near Las Cruces, Colonel John Baylor was attacked by Union troops under Major Isaac Lynde. Baylor’s inferior force nonetheless held its ground against the Union, and apparently the sight of blood was enough to send Lynde packing out of nearby Fort Fillmore, a supply base he considered indefensible. Legend has it that, as the Union soldiers destroyed the supplies at Fort Fillmore in preparation for their retreat, they were loath to pour out a store of good medicinal whisky, instead using it to fill their canteens. As they retreated toward San Augustin Pass, the July sun and whisky soon dehydrated the marchers. Baylor easily caught Lynde’s stragglers, who readily surrendered for a drink of water. Then Baylor and several hundred mounted troops dashed across the pass that would bear his name, and surprised Lynde’s main Union force at San Augustin Spring, where Lynde accepted Baylor’s demand for unconditional surrender. Most of the elevation gain to the pass is accomplished in the first mile as the trail winds through juniper-piñon woodland. In about a mile, pass directly beneath the lofty Rabbit Ears, twin peaks of craggy granite. Cross over a spur ridge to parallel a drainage leading to Baylor Pass. In spring, hikers will be jolted by a stiff head wind at this point. Reach the pass about 2 miles from the start and enjoy the long-distance views to the east of the city of Las Cruces, jagged volcanic peaks, and the Black Range on the far horizon.
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Directions to: Baylor Passprint directions
Trail Statistics & Information
|Nearby City||Las Cruces|
|Elevation Gain||750 ft|
|Top Elevation||6,380 ft|
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