Guadalupe Mountains National Park

McKittrick-Canyon-Trail-Guadalupe-Mountains

At 8,749 feet, Guadalupe Peak is the highest point in the state of Texas! The Guadalupe Mountains, once a reef in an ancient sea, are the southernmost part of the 40-mile-long Guadalupe range. The Apaches occupied these mountains for centuries. With over 80 miles of trails, hikers and backpackers will feel rewarded for making the trip to this “island in the desert.”

Guadalupe Mountains National Park is located off of US 62/180, 56 miles southwest of Carlsbad and 110 miles east of El Paso. Pine Springs Visitor Center is a vital first stop when arriving at the park.  Simple campgrounds are available at Pine Springs and Dog Canyon.  The park also offers ten backcountry camping locations.

Activities

Hiking

Visitors hiking along the trails will find contoured canyons, high elevation forests, abundant wildlife, and over 300 bird species that either nest in the park or migrate through it. Self-guided nature trails are located at McKittrick Canyon (McKittrick Canyon Nature Trail), at the Headquarters Visitor Center (Pinery Trail), and at Dog Canyon (Indian Meadow Trail). With lush vegetation, big tooth maples, and a rushing stream; McKittric Canyon stands as one of the most scenic spots in Texas. For experienced hikers, Guadalupe Peak is an 8.4 mile round-trip day hike, taking approximately 6-8 hours to complete.

Backpacking

The solitude and surrounding beauty that this park offers is sure to inspire all backpackers to commit to an overnight itinerary! Backcountry permits are free of charge. Spending more than three nights in the backcountry or having campfires is prohibited. Trails lead to Guadalupe Peak, around the base of El Capitan, up into the high country, and into McKittrick Canyon. Water is available at trailheads but not on the trails.

Know Before You Go

There is a $5 dollar entry fee for adults (16 and over). This is a remote location, packing wisely and checking for the latest weather forecast is highly recommended.  A gallon of water a day is suggested, especially during the summer. Pets on a leash are permitted on the campgrounds but are not allowed on hiking trails. Visiting the park during the fall and spring time is advised due to pleasant temperatures and seasonal color changes.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *