Guadalupe Mountains National Park is known for its extensive hiking and backpacking trails in one of the nation’s most pristine wilderness areas. As you hike and backpack through the world’s premier example of a fossil reef from the Permian Era. You will experience birding, fantastic scenery, history, and many other opportunities to learn and have fun in this hidden gem of West Texas. So what are you waiting for, plan a hiking trip to enjoy the 6 best Guadalupe Mountain Hiking Trails.
The following hiking trails are some of Laurence Parent’s favorite hikes in the Guadalupe Mountains from years ago and recently.
McKittrick Canyon Trail
This easy 6.8 mile round trip to the Grotto is in one of the most beautiful places in Texas. Enjoy the colorful maples along the way. They will lead you to the historic Pratt Lodge, Grotto picnic area, and Hunter Cabin. Hikers will also have the option of continuing further beyond the Grotto to the Notch where the trail climbs in elevation. Outside Magazine named this trail the best in Texas.
Smith Spring Trail
Another easy 2.3 mile loop first offers the hiker sites of the historic Frijole Ranch house and spring. Then you can see Manzanita Spring, and then climb to the Smith Spring. Small cascades into clear pools under a canopy of pines, madrones, oaks and maples offers great color in the fall and shady coolness in summer.
Devil’s Hall Trail
Leaving from the Pine Springs Trailhead, the hiker will climb about 500 feet for the 4.2 mile round trip. Ascending into Pine Springs Canyon and then to the rocky canyon bottom the route then leads upstream into the deep slot of Devil’s Hall. A good hike for the summertime. Here is a link to some great information on hiking Devil’s Hall Trail.
The High Country
Options are available for the hike up to the Bowl which are Bush Mountain or Blue Ridge. The hike will cover 10 to 17 miles. The views from these trails are almost as good as from Guadalupe Peak. Another trip is the 17 mile loop up the Tejas Trail which offer heavy forest and many views.
Salt Basin Dunes
The dunes were formed from a dried up Pleistocene lake. It left salt and gypsum which with time and west winds the gypsum sand was deposited as dunes. The flat 2 mile hike is an easy one which is best taken during the cooler months. Take care to stay on the trail.
Guadalupe Peak Trail
On a clear day, the view from the “Top of Texas” (8,751 feet) is outstanding. The trail is very steep, but is well established. Some areas are exposed to cliff edges. It is rated strenuous, with 3,000 feet of elevation gain. The round trip distance is 8.4 miles with views from the trail and summit could be the best in Texas.