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4.6
14 votes

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

400 Pine Canyon Road, Texas 79847 USA

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Open Now
Mon 12a-12a
  • Independent
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“One of the nation's most pristine wilderness areas ”

Guadalupe Mountains National Park is the world's premier example of a fossil reef from the Permian Era.  The park is known for its extensive hiking and backpacking opportunities in one of the nation's most pristine wilderness areas.  Birding, history, and many other opportunities to learn and have fun await visitors in this hidden gem of West Texas.

For over 10,000 years, the Guadalupes Mountains have witnessed a constant stream of human history, including bloody conflicts between Mescalero Apaches and Buffalo Soldiers, the passing of the Butterfield Overland Mail, the coming of ranchers and settlers, and finally, the making of a national park. Today, the history is preserved at the Frijole and Williams Ranches, and at the ruins of the Pinery Station.

No one knows exactly when the first people came to the Guadalupes, but archaeological evidence dates back over 10,000 years ago. The earliest inhabitants were hunter-gathers who followed available game and ripening vegetation, and lived in and among the many caves and alcoves common throughout the range. Scattered evidence of their existence, including projectile points, baskets, pottery, and rock art has been found throughout the park.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park is located in the Guadalupe Mountains of West Texas and contains Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas at 8,749 feet (2,667 m) in elevation. It also contains El Capitan, long used as a landmark by people traveling along the old route later followed by the Butterfield Overland Mail stagecoach line. Visitors can see the ruins of an old stagecoach station near the Pine Springs Visitor Center. Camping is available nearby at the Pine Springs Campground. The restored Frijole Ranch House is now a small museum of local ranching history and is the trailhead for Smith Spring. The park covers 86,367 acres and is in the same mountain range as Carlsbad Caverns National Park which is located about 25 miles (40 km) to the north in New Mexico. Numerous well-established trails exist in the park for hiking and horse-riding. The Guadalupe Peak Trail offers perhaps the most outstanding views in the park. Climbing over 3,000 feet (910 m) to the summit of Guadalupe Peak, the trail winds through pinyon pine and Douglas-fir forests and offers spectacular views of El Capitan and the vast Chihuahuan Desert.

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Reviewed by
Kevin Wenrick

  • Road Warrior
  • 28 Reviews
  • 25 Helpful
October 5, 2014

Another highlight of our 2 week RV road trip. Only a 35 minute drive (one way) from the Carlsbad Caverns. The views are so worth it. We easily did both the caverns and the drive to the Guadalupe Mountains National Park Visitor Center, also stopping to visit McKittrick Canyon on the return trip to Carlsbad.

We did not get to do any hiking, as that would have required much more time than we had.

My only regret is that we did not spend a night at the campground (room for RV's) near the visitor center.

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
PrideTrip

  • 4 Reviews
  • 11 Helpful
May 31, 2014

This was the first stop on our honeymoon trip. We climbed to 2,000 ft to the back country camp near the summit and thoroughly enjoyed. Really nice trip for the self sufficient camper.

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
osailb

  • 9 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
July 23, 2016

Nice place to visit. Very small visitor center, but the ranger was very knowledgable and friendly. Nice exhibits in visitor center. I thought it was worth the stop. Allow for an hour to hour and a half visit.

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Reviewed by
osailb

  • 9 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
July 8, 2016

Enjoyed visiting here. The staff at the visitor center was very helpful and knowledgeable. The mini museum at the visitor center was interesting. We took the two shortest trails, as time was limited, and enjoyed the sights.

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Reviewed by
barryscott

  • 6 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
June 15, 2016

This place is awesome! We were there in March and it was perfect. Great hikes and beautiful wildflowers.

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Reviewed by
LBusby82

  • 16 Reviews
  • 1 Helpful
April 18, 2016

We only stopped since we were driving right by it. We didn't do any hiking because we didn't have the time but we have a National park passport and got a stamp.

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Reviewed by
levin123

  • 12 Reviews
  • 5 Helpful
May 5, 2015

My cousin and I are taking a road trip of the southwest United States and this was our first stop. It is about 50 minutes outside of the city of Carlsbad and 35 minutes from the Carlsbad Caverns. The Guadalupe mountains are definitely a small mountain range, but definitely worth your time. We camped out at the Guadalupe campground which is pleasant but doesn't have much when it comes to amenities (showers being the big one). We stayed for one night and hiked the Guadalupe peak trail which was pretty freakin sweet. It is the highest point in all of Texas and it had some pretty quality views. Once you hit the peak you can see for miles and miles. Overall, this park is very unknown and underrated. If you can make it out, I would suggest it.

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