A true wilderness in the western United States in Texas is Guadalupe Mountains National Park. The Guadalupe National Park consists of desert and highlands with impressive majestic mountains of the Guadalupe Mountains and interesting rock formations.
The park was established in 1972. It covers 86,367 hectares and is located in the Guadalupe Mountains surrounded by the Chihuahuan Desert. In these southern foothills of the Rocky Mountains is also the Carlsbad Caverns National Park, which belongs to the state of New Mexico.
The national park is home to Guadalupe Peak, which is the highest mountain and point in Texas at 2,667 m.
The Guadalupe Peak Trail offers excellent views of the park, Mount El Capitan at 8,500 feet (2,464 meters), which used to be the landmark for stagecoaches, and the great Chihuahuan Desert. In terms of landscape, the park with its many greens differs significantly from the surrounding Chihuahua desert.
Butterfield stagecoaches once roamed the countryside of the Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Near the Pine Springs Visitor Center you can visit the ruins of an old stagecoach station.
A must-see attraction in Guadalupe National Park is McKittrick Canyon, with its 2,000-foot limestone walls. It is considered the most beautiful place in Texas. In autumn, the trees in McKittrick Canyon offer a breathtaking sea of color.
You are not allowed to drive in Guadalupe National Park. You can only explore the interior of the park on foot. There are many hiking trails available to visitors in Guadalupe Park, whether on foot or on horseback.
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History of the Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Archaeological finds show that people lived in Guadalupe National Park more than 10,000 years ago. The first people to live here were hunter-gatherers, the Mescalero Apaches.
Felix McKittrick was one of the first European settlers in the Guadalupe Mountains in the 1870s. McKittrick Canyon was named after him. The Frijole Ranch was the first permanent ranch, serving as a community center and regional post office from 1916 to 1942. After restorations, the Frijole Ranch House is now used as a cultural museum.
Frijole Ranch is located 1 mile east of the Pine Springs Visitor Center off US Highway 62/180. The Frijole Ranch History Museum used to serve as a ranching headquarters in the Guadalupes Mountains. Today, the Frijole Ranch showcases the human history of the Guadalupes.
The Federn Smith Trail begins at Frijole Ranch.
Dog Canyon Dog Canyon
is located in a quiet, wooded canyon at thenorth end of the park at an elevation of 6,300 feet. An ideal place for quiet camping, bird watching, hiking and lots of solitude.
A lonely 7.5 mile road leads to Williams Ranch. At the base of a 3,000-foot cliff on the west side of Guadalupe Mountains National Park stands the Williams Ranch’s only surviving home. Behind is the canyon with the oldest rocks of the Guadalupe Mountains. To get to the Williams Ranch, you must borrow a key for the front gate at the visitor center.
McKittrick Canyon is an awe-inspiring place with its 2,000-foot limestone walls, rich variety of plants and rugged rock landscape. It is not considered the most beautiful place in Texas for nothing. Especially in autumn when the trees have different colors of leaves, it is a splendour.
The access road to McKittrick Gorge begins 7 miles east of the park’s Pine Springs Visitor Center on US Highway 62/180.
Climate & Weather in Guadalupe National Park
In the Guadalupe Mountain National Park one experiences hot summers, mild autumn weather and cool to cold days in winter and spring.
Snowstorms, slickness due to rain or fog can occur in winter or spring. High wind warnings are also frequent from winter to spring. Nights in Guadalupe Mountain National Park are cool, both in winter and summer.
Hiking in the Guadalupe National Park is therefore best done in spring and autumn, because otherwise you have to carry a lot of water with you in the great heat.
Activities in Guadalupe Mountains National Park
The park is equipped with many hiking trails with a vegetation of desert plants and montane forests consisting of cacti, agaves, ferns, walnut trees and pines. Animals such as foxes and coyotes, as well as mountain lions, deer, rabbits and porcupines can be spotted.
The park is known for having many fossils to be found. In addition, tours on horseback through the wilderness of the Guadalupe Mountains are offered.
Hiking trails lead to Guadalupe Peak, around the base of El Capitan and McKittrick Canyon. Guided nature trails are at McKittrick Canyon (McKittrick Canyon Nature Trail), at the Headquarters Visitor Center (Pinery Trail), and at Dog Canyon (Indian Meadow Trail).
Camping in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Guadalupe National Park has 2 campgrounds: Pine Spring Campground and Dog Canyon Campground. The campsites in Guadalupe National Park do not have water. Both courses are open all year round.
There are no other accommodation options such as hotels and catering options such as restaurants in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park.
Directions & Getting to Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Guadalupe Mountains National Park in West Texas can be reached by car via US Highway 62/180. The distance to east of El Paso in Texas is 110 miles or 56 miles southwest to Carlsbad in New Mexico.
Visitors can travel to Dog Canyon via New Mexico State Road 137 on the north side of the park.
You can get close to the park by plane by flying into El Paso, Texas. Buses will take you to the park from there.
There is no public transport or a shuttle service in Guadalupe Park.
Entrance fees & opening times in the Guadalupe National Park
Admission to Guadalupe Mountains National Park is $5.00 per person for adults 16 and older. This admission ticket is valid for 7 days.
The Guadalupe Mountains Annual Pass costs $20 and allows unlimited entry into Guadalupe Mountains National Park for one year.
Backcountry camping permits are free and are issued at the Pine Springs Visitor Center.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park is open year-round and offers a variety of outdoor activities including hiking, camping and horseback riding.
Visitor Center in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park
The Pine Springs Visitor Center is located in Pine Springs and can be reached via US Highway 62/180 between Carlsbad and El Paso. The visitor center is open every day except Christmas from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Here you can get maps and brochures for the Guadalupe Mountains National Park. But also a slide show and an exhibition inform you about the park.
Another attraction near Guadalupe Mountains National Park is the nearby Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, where bats can be seen.
Address of Guadalupe Mountains National Park in the state of Texas
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
400 Pine Canyon Dr
Salt Flat, Texas 79847