PAISANO PASS. Paisano Pass is a gap (at 30°17' N, 103°49' W) between Twin Mountains and Paisano Peak, twelve miles east of Marfa in northeastern Presidio County. The pass, at an elevation of 5,074 feet above sea level, rises 228 feet above the nearby prairie. The surrounding terrain is desert mountain canyonland of volcanic deposits and alluvial washes of sands and gravels. The local soils are light reddish-brown to brown sands and clay loams; vegetation includes sparse grasses, cacti, and desert shrubs. The pass has long figured prominently in local transportation. When the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio built its tracks through the area in 1882, Paisano Pass was reportedly the highest point on the line between New Orleans, Louisiana, and Portland, Oregon. In 1929, the Kansas City, Mexico & Orient Railway contracted to use the existing tracks from Alpine to Paisano Pass and then construct its own extension southwest along the old Chihuahua Trail to Presidio. Work on the extension began on August 26, 1929, and was completed the following year. Construction of U.S. Highway 90, which connects Marfa and Alpine via Paisano Pass, began in March 1932.