Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Guadalupe Mountains National Park is located on US Hwys 180/62 in West Texas along the Texas-New Mexico state line. The Park includes much of the Guadalupe Mountain range, which was once a reef at the edge of a shallow Permian sea. Guadalupe Mountains National Park is a hikers park, with some 80 miles of trails. Day hikes will take you through different climate zones, from a Chihuahuan desert environment to high country forests. The pictures presented here are from trips to the park in 1989, 1992, and 1998.

Park sign

Parking Lot
Pine Springs Campground

Campsite (1992)
Pine Springs Campground

Campsite (1998)
Pine Springs Campground

Hunter Peak (8368 ft)
View from campground (1992)

Hunter Peak
View from campground (1998)

Frijole Ranch

Frijole Ranch was started about 1876 by the Rader Brothers, who left in the late 1880's. The Smith Family occupied the ranch from 1906 to 1942, adding the bunkhouse and schoolhouse. The Smiths sold the ranch to Judge Jesse Hunter. Hunter's son inherited the ranch and sold it to the National Park Service in 1966. Today the ranch complex is known as the Frijole Ranch Cultural Museum. It includes the restored ranch house, bunkhouse, barn, a double outhouse, springhouse, shed, and schoolhouse.

Frijole Ranch

Frijole Ranch House

Schoolhouse at Frijole Ranch

Smith Spring Trail

Smith Spring Trail is a moderate, 2.3 mile loop trail. The trailhead is at Frijole Ranch. Most of the trail traverses desert until it reaches a little oasis at Smith Spring.

View SE along Smith Spring Trail

Cholla Cactus

View along Smith Spring Trail

Not so good photo of Smith Spring

Smith Spring Trail

Back in the desert

Devil's Hall Trail

Devil's Hall Trail is a moderate, 4 mile out and back trail starting at Pine Springs Campgroud. This rocky trail initially crosses desert terrain, then follows the streambed in Pine Springs Canyon. Fianlly it climbs the Hiker's Staircase to the Devil's Hall (very little elevation gain).

Start of Devil's Hall Trail

Flowers and rocks along Devil's Hall Trail

Hikers Staircase in Devil's Hall

Devil's Hall

Devil's Hall

View from Devil's Hall trail

Alligator Juniper
Devil's Hall Trail

Guadalupe Peak

The hike to Guadalupe Peak is a difficult 8 mile out and back trip. A 3,000 ft elevation gain make this a strenuous hike. That said, the trek is well worth it as the views from the summit are fantastic. The trailhead is located at the Pine Springs Campground. Guadalupe Peak, at an elevation of 8,751 feet, is the tallest point in Texas.

Mule Deer buck in velvet
(Odocoileus hemionus)

Mule Deer doe
(Odocoileus hemionus)

View from Guadalupe Peak trail

El Capitan
View from Guadalupe Peak Trail

El Capitan summit (8,085 ft)

Obelisk on summit of Guadalupe Peak

View toward salt flats from Guadalupe Peak

View S-SE from summit of Guadalupe Peak

Indian Paintbrush

Chamisa (Rabbitbrush)

Could be Tejas Trail leading to the Bowl and Hunter Peak

McKitrick Canyon Trail

The McKitrick Canyon Trail begins at the parking lot of the McKitrick Canyon Visitor Center (which may or may not be manned) and ends in the high country at the junction with Tejas Trail. The trail quickly passes out of the desert and into the canyon, following an intermittent stream most of the way. After 2.5 miles the trail reaches Pratt Lodge, the former home of Wallace Pratt who owned much of McKitrick Canyon back in the day. The grotto is about a mile past Pratt Lodge, and is a good stopping point for a day hike. From the Grotto the trail climbs steeply out of the canyon into the back country to join with the Tejas Trail.

View along McKitrick Canyon trail

Could be Agave lechuguilla

McKitrick Canyon

McKitrick Canyon

Stephanie at
Wallace E. Pratt Lodge

McKitrick Canyon

Dry stream bed
McKitrick Canyon trail

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