Plan your Visit to
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Small but Worth the Journey
Guadalupe Mountains National Park is a perfect example of this. The site only measures 86,367 acres of Texas real estate, but the mountains make it a journey to remember. People can often neglect visiting some of the smaller national parks because they believe that bigger is always better. Guadalupe Mountains National Park is a perfect example of this. The site only measures 86,367 acres of Texas real estate, but the mountains make it a journey to remember. This small park is very large on personality and offers some of the most scenic hikes that can be found. The best thing about the park is that it is accessible to people from all levels of hiking experience. It offers more rigorous hikes as well as simple, fun nature walks through the park.
When to go
March – April – May – June – July – August – September – October
Hiking – Climbing – Bird-Watching – Wildlife
Devil’s Hall Trail
Among the many different hiking trails found throughout Guadalupe Mountains National Park you will find a very unique trail that begins from Pine Springs Trailhead and meanders through rock formations for 3.8 miles of relatively easy hiking. The unique part about the trail is the fact that a portion of it allows hikers to walk directly through a wash where two steep rock formations lay in either side. At the end of the wash you will be presented with a natural staircase that to hike to the top of the trail. The natural erosion of the area has given Devil’s Hall Trail its unique features.
Smith Spring Loop
Although this hike is relatively small compared to many of the trails you may have hiked in the past, it gives the hiker a view of Guadalupe Mountains National Park that is unique to the area. Texas is known for its vast desert climates, but the entire state proves to be quite a conundrum with the desert mixing with rich vegetation. It is also prone to both extreme heat during the summer and snowstorms during the winter making it a unique area in America. Smith Spring Loop brings all of that diversity into a 2.3 mile round trip loop. Hikers are able to see the desert areas change dramatically and open up into the richest area of lush greenery to be found. It is a hike that should not be missed.
McKittrick Canyon Trail
For most hikes that you take in any national park you are likely to see many different species of animals, but manmade objects are not present apart from the occasional erected structure having to do with the running of the park such as a visitor’s center or ranger station. McKittrick Canyon Trail is a little different. The 3-mile hike celebrates the settlers that were here far before the area was made into a national park. The historic Pratt Cabin is on the hike giving visitors a glimpse into the land’s past lives. Hikers will also enjoy the rich atmosphere of the Grotto as well. The hike through McKittrick Canyon Trail is one that is well tolerated by most hikers regardless of hiking experience.
Guadalupe Peak Trail
If you are among the more experienced hikers, you will get a chance to hike to a place that is referred to as the Top of Texas. The Guadalupe Peak Trail takes visitors through some of the best views that Guadalupe Mountains National Park has to offer, but by the end of this hike you will come to the highest point within the park and will have hiked to 3,000 feet above sea level. This is one of the longest trails in the park, so it is recommended that you allow between 6 and 8 hours depending on your hiking speed to complete the trail.
Things to Know
Guadalupe National Park is one of the smallest parks within the national park registry and therefore it is not always staffed like some of the larger ones. There are visitor’s centers that are staffed, but entrance fees are largely on the honor scale. When you arrive, you will need to put your $5 per person 16 years of age of older entrance fee into one of the envelopes provided at the entrance to the park. Place the envelope in the safe provided, but maintain the removable ticket for verification that you paid the fee. The ticket needs to be displayed in the windshield of your vehicle, so rangers can verify that you have paid the for the privilege of use of the park.
There is camping available at Guadalupe National Park, but space is limited. There are no reservations so arrive early to ensure that you get a campsite for your group. Paying for the site is done much the same way as the entrance fee and costs $8 per night per campsite. If paying with a credit card, you can pay at the visitor’s center. The park is a wonderful experience for all who visit and there are also some dates throughout the year that the entrance fee is waived, so be sure to see if your dates of visit line up with any of the free entrance dates posted on the park website.