Friday, February 1, 2013

San Augustin Pass Historical Marker

San Augustin Pass sits on US Highway 70 about 10 miles east of Las Cruces, immediately east of the village of Organ. The pass, classified as a gap, sits between the Organ Mountains to the south and the San Augustin Mountains, a sub range of the San Andres Mountains, to the north. The pass peaks at 5,710 feet, and offers sweeping views of the White Sands Missile Range to the east, with the ability to even see the western slopes of the Sacramento Mountains some 40 miles across the basin floor. To the north, the world famous White Sands can be seen. To the west, views of Las Cruces all the way to the Gila National Forest, including the Robledo Mountains, Doña Ana Mountains, Picacho Peak, "A" (or Tortugas) Mountain, and even as far as the Portillo Mountains further off to the west on a clear day.

The pass is the primary route between Alamogordo and Las Cruces. Anyone traveling the pass may notice that the historical marker reads SAN AUGUSTIN PASS, while many other area signs read SAN AGUSTIN PASS. San Agustin is the Spanish translation for Saint Augustine, the namesake of the pass.

There are references in history of the gap being used by the Spanish and Natives to the area as far back as the 1500's. The pass in its current form has been utilized since the area grew in population in the mid-1800's. It was then, and still is today, the primary route between Las Cruces / Mesilla and Lincoln County, a prominent and important area in the 1800's.

If you're ever in the area, I recommend a drive to the top, it's the best view in the area, hands down. At 5,710 feet, it's not the highest point in the New Mexico highway system (the highest point is in northern New Mexico, and is almost twice as high), but it does stand nearly 2,000 feet above the valley floor, making the views quite impressive.

Here are the pages I referred to trying to find more history on the pass (it wasn't easy, there's not much out there):


  1. Hey there, just stumbled upon your sight. I too am collecting Historical Markers on my New Mexico travels. Enjoy!

  2. It's exciting to know that there are others out there who are also on this journey. Thanks for coming to the site!