Pine Tree Trail has been (rightfully) purported to be one of the premier hikes in the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument (OMDP) in Las Cruces, New Mexico
Loop hikes are of a special appeal; and a trail that provides an opportunity to experience new terrain with each step coupled with significant canopy is especially attractive. The trailhead starts at the Aguirre Springs Campground and the hike is fairly well marked.
Appropriate caveats are provided.
The trail gained 1000 feet in elevation via gradual switchbacks around the edge of a depression created by Anvil and Sotol Creeks.
The trail upward traversed lush vegetation, occasional rocky (dry) riverbeds, with some melt-off (in early May) noted seeping through some rocks. Varied wild flowers (Apache Plume and Blanket Flower (Gaillardia)) and ferns are evident on the trail.
A rock squirrel provided the requisite wildlife sighting!
Boulders along the path required some occasional negotiation.
The hollowed base of a dead tree conjured imagines of forest trolls!!
The treeless expanse of Sugarloaf to the south was occasionally visible.
To the east, White Sands Missile Range came into intermittent view.
A primitive camp located at the top of the trail offered comfortable seating (note horizontal log!). Signage provided the reassurance that the hike was halfway complete!
White Sands National Monument is clearly seen on the descent, but the trail still remains fairly well-forested.
Completing the second half of the hike in a fraction of the time of the ascent, Pine Tree Trail definitely warranted favored hike status in the OMDP!!