Mexican poppies along the Baylor Canyon Pass trail.​ 

SHAKE OFF THE WINTER BLAHS on this 5.6-mile trail near Las Cruces that kicks off New Mexico’s wildflower season in spectacular fashion. After a wet winter, the trail flushes in early March with orange, yellow, and white Mexican poppies and a rainbow of other wildflowers.  

Start early at West Baylor Canyon Trailhead to beat the desert heat. Meander east along a gently sloping alluvial fan that showcases more than 40 flower species in spring. If you’re lucky, you can catch the delicate evening primroses before they close up after a night of pollination by sphinx moths. Climb from the alluvial plain to the bajadas to hunt for yellow, white, and magenta flowers tucked among the sotol, yucca, and mountain mahogany. To the east, throngs of Mexican poppies decorate White Sands Missile Range with orange stripes. At a cairn marking the high point, a faint side trail leads to the summit of Baylor Peak. 

Mexican poppies along the Baylor Canyon Pass trail, New Mexico Magazine
Mexican poppies along the Baylor Canyon Pass trail. 

Pass through the gate to descend under the towering Rabbit Ears formation to the campground. Weave around boulders, gnarled junipers, and oaks to benches offering shady respite. As the day wears on, you’ll appreciate the moisture in steep drainages and discover water-loving wildflowers like alumroot and Venus’s looking glass that cling to the rocks. With an almost endless potpourri of flowers in the Organ Mountains, it’s easy to spend hours here getting lost in their beauty.

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