Park Tally: 13/59
Orientation: Guadalupe Mountains National Park is located in West Texas, 35 miles from Carlsbad Caverns National Park and the New Mexico state line. The park contains the highest part of the 40-mile-long Guadalupe Mountain range, reaching an elevation of 8,751 feet. The park traditionally has low visitation numbers but those who do make the effort to explore Guadalupe Mountains will not be disappointed.
Most iconic view: Guadalupe Peak is the most well-known feature of the park and boasts spectacular views from the summit. Known as the ‘Roof of Texas’, Guadalupe Peak sits at 8,751 feet and can be completed during a day hike or overnight backcountry trip. The peak can also be viewed from most other sections in the park, providing the perfect backdrop to explore the area.
Accessible activity: There are numerous short and easy day hikes in the park. The Pinery Trail is a beautiful .75-mile round-trip desert walk that is accessible to wheelchairs. We chose to stroll the nearby Smith Spring Trail, a 2.3-mile round-trip hike to a shady oasis. We didn’t come across another soul on the trail, which is definitely one of the best things about Guadalupe Mountains – the solitude.
For the adventurous: Those after a bigger adventure should consider hiking the 8.4-mile (roundtrip) trail to Guadalupe Peak. Be prepared to get a sweat up with 3000 feet of elevation gain and scorching sunshine. There are 85 miles of trails that lead through the park, providing ample opportunity for those wishing to hit the backcountry. Wilderness camping permits are issued at the Pine Springs Visitor Center and the Dog Canyon Ranger Station.
Best photo opportunities: There are numerous areas inside and nearby the park which allow photographers to capture the Guadalupe Mountain range, particularly Guadalupe Peak. Be sure to head out at sunset for the most magical light.
- Guadalupe Mountains National Park was formally established in 1972.
- The Guadalupe Mountains were once a reef (Capitan Reef) developing beneath the waters of an ancient inland sea.
- The park is home to the highest peak in Texas – Guadalupe Peak, sitting at 8,751 feet.
- Guadalupe’s lowest section is 3,636 feet above sea level, near Williams Road.
- Archaeological evidence suggests that humans have been living in the Guadalupe Mountains area for 10,000+ years.
- Wildlife that can be found in the park includes gray foxes, black bears, mountain lions, mule deer, badgers, skunks, bobcats, coyotes, and elk.
- Many reptiles inhabit the park, with snakes including bullsnakes, coachwhips, and 5 types of rattlesnakes, the largest being the western diamondback.
- In 2016 the park had 181,839 visitors, 36,169 more than in 2013.