Guadalupe Mountains National Park

4point5stars (4.59)23
3point5stars (3.76)
3point5stars (3.83)
Pine Springs
More Info
At The Peak!
Something I've wanted to do and now I've done it! Don't think I'll be back though. (Photo by MikeHikes)
The View of South McKittrick Canyon from The Notch
At the turnaround point for this hike. Very nice views on both sides of the crest. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Butterfield Stagecoach - Pinery Trail Ruins
Just a few parts of walls are left of the rest area. Nice informative signs detailing the types of vegetation though. (Photo by MikeHikes)
Devil's Hall Staircase
This is at the end of the creek and must be climbed to finish the hike. When dirt is on the "stairs" they can be slippery - even if dry. (Photo by MikeHikes)
The Bowl
Once you get to the bowl, you still have to climb to get to Bear Canyon, which is the route we took down. (Photo by Eveline)
Bear Canyon
Late afternoon coming down from The Bowl via Bear Canyon. (Photo by Eveline)
View of Devil's Hall
View of the trail climbing Devil's Hall in the Guadalupe Mtns (Photo by omgjoz)
Log Entries
Guadalupe Peak
By MikeHikes on 11/11/2014
Rating: 5stars Difficulty: 4point5stars Solitude: 2point5stars
Distance: 8.40 Miles Duration: 7 hours

See the NPS website for Guadalupe Mtns NP to get detailed trail information - this is my impression of the hike.

Make sure you wear sturdy hiking boots and have plenty of water - no water is available other than at the trailhead. 

This hike is the main reason I came to the park and I'm glad I did!  Originally, I planned to hike this route the day prior but with 50 mph winds predicted, I delayed this hike by a day and instead went to McKittrick Canyon (see other report).  Anyway, the trail is 90% rocky - small, medium and large rocks of varied shapes. As can be imagined, you are climbing most of the way up along a trail that is not very wide but wide enough to walk easily on.  The trail is easy to see and you cannot get lost.

I stopped numerous times to take photos and just look around.  The altitude didn't bother me too much (I'm used to 2000 ft elevation) but a couple of times, I had to stop and take some deep breaths.  The wind was blowing the entire time yet I was soaked in sweat by the time I reached the summit 3 hours and 45 minutes after I started. 

I found a nice flat piece of rock and sat with some bushes behind me letting the sun dry my jacket and shirt.  There were hikers already at the peak when I got there but when they left 20 minutes or so after I arrived, I had the peak to myself for 10 minutes before the next group arrived - solitude was not to be had.  Nonetheless, I stayed another 5 - 10 minutes before heading back down myself.  The return time was much shorter and I encountered no difficulties heading back. 

Of note - while walking back, I was in a section of the trail that has coniferous trees on both sides when I smelled "cat".  Looking around, I did not see either a bobcat or mountain lion but the smell was definitely in the air.  The smell had not been there on my way up so I can only assume a cat of some size had passed by and marked his turf at two places separated by about a half mile or so.

I strongly suggest to anyone contemplating this hike to be as physically prepared as possible - hike as much as possible in rocky terrain with hills.  Make sure you have plenty of water!!  Unless you are trying to set some personal speed record, remember you are there to enjoy Nature - stop, look around and enjoy the sights!


The Pinery Trail
By MikeHikes on 11/10/2014
Rating: 5stars Difficulty: halfstar Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 0.75 Mile Duration: 30 minutes

For detailed description - look at the NPS website for Guadalupe Mtns NP.

This trail is paved and wheelchair accessible - very simple to walk.  This is a nice trail to walk and pick up some information about the vegetation and history of the area.  there are some ruins of the Butterfield Stagecoach rest area at the end of the trail.

Not much to see of the ruins but the walk is very enjoyable!

McKittrick Canyon - The Notch
By MikeHikes on 11/10/2014
Rating: 5stars Difficulty: 3point5stars Solitude: 4point5stars
Distance: 10.20 Miles Duration: 5 hours, 15 minutes

Please look at the NPS website for Guadalupe Mtns NP for trail descriptions.  This is my impression of the hike.

Make sure you wear hiking boots and have plenty of water - there is no water available other than at the trailhead.

There are three portions of this hike - the Pratt Lodge, The Grotto and The Notch.  If you go all the way to The Notch, you will see all three sights.  The first portion to Pratt's Lodge is fairly level and relatively easy to hike on mostly gravel/rock, nice wide trail in most places.  The second leg to The Grotto/Hunter Line Shack is mostly level and a mixture of dirt and rock.  LOTS of Fall color when I hikes and the main reason I wanted to see the canyon.  At The Grotto, there are tables to relax at.

Prior to going to the notch, the trail branches left to The Grotto and right to The Notch.  When you go right, you will be on a series of switchbacks going mostly up for about 1.75 miles.  The trail is rocky but as you climb higher you can see down the canyon quite a ways.  When you get to The Notch, the trail continues on the other side of the crest but I didn't go any further.  The attached photo shows the view of South McKittrick Canyon from The Notch.

This route was very enjoyable and this hike was one of the reasons I went to the park.  Nice Fall colors as well!

Devil's Hall
By MikeHikes on 11/9/2014
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 3point5stars Solitude: 4point5stars
Distance: 4.20 Miles Duration: 3 hours

There are numerous descriptions of the trail and on the NPS website for Guadalupe Mtns so I won't repeat that information - I will give my impression of the trail.

Make sure you wear hiking boots with thick soles that will give a good grip on the rocks throughout the trail.  The trail has some dirt but is mostly rocks - all sizes and shapes, not just riverbed rocks.  The trail is marked by rock cairns and colored tape so keep your eyes open.  You will walk in the creek bed for a good portion of the hike and when you come to the end of the creek - look to the left and you will see some natural rock "stairs". (Photo attached)  Climb those and go another 1/4 to 1/2 mile where you will find trail tapes signifying the end of the trail.  Return along the same route.

The hike was enjoyable but the constant looking for tapes and/or rock cairns, the fact I did this in late afternoon and this was the first time on the trail made this an "OK" hike rather than a "great" hike. 


By jtmcheck on 2/27/2010
Rating: 5stars Difficulty: 4stars Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 8.20 Miles Duration: N/A
McKittrick Canyon and Historic Pratt Cabin
By hawaiiantaz on 3/30/2008
Rating: 5stars Difficulty: 4stars Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 5.10 Miles Duration: 2 hours, 34 minutes

Before leaving Guadalupe Mountains, we hike the McKittrick Canyon trail to the Pratt Cabin... it was like a hike in the desert canyons with tall mountain walls surrounding us and desert plants ... the landscape was beautiful .... the hike takes you through two natural streambeds (the waters were clear and cold.... in one of the streams, we even saw a fish)... The Pratt Cabin is surrounded by mountain walls and lies deep in the woods... while we could not go inside the cabin, we were able to look inside the windows at the furnishings and architect.  What a beautiful escape from the city!!!

Frijole Trail, Frijole Ranch, Smith Spring Trail
By hawaiiantaz on 3/29/2008
Rating: 5stars Difficulty: 4stars Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 9.09 Miles Duration: 3 hours, 30 minutes

We started at Pine Springs Campsite and hike the Frijole Trail for 3.1 miles... starting elevation of 5,750 and climbed to 6,000 feet.  Along the way we saw golden eagles and red-tail hawks flying above us... the trail was a mixture of dirt/grass, rocks and step-like rocks that ascended and descended and a few switchbacks.  The trail led to the Frijoles Ranch History Museum which includes a springhouse, milkhouse, schoolhouse, bunkhouse and a barn.  From the Ranch, we hiked to the Smith and Manzanita Springs (another 1.88 miles)...The Smith Spring sits back against the mountain and hidden under the canopy of trees.... clear spring water with the soothing sound of the water flowing downstream along the streambed and rocks.  From the Smith Spring trail, we hiked along the Foothills trail back to the Pine Springs campsite (another 2.57 miles) that was mostly dirt/grass with few rocky trail.... and few uphill/downhill hikes.... during the entire hike, we saw only a handful of hikers, but very sporadic....

Guadalupe Peak
By hawaiiantaz on 3/28/2008
Rating: 5stars Difficulty: 5stars Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 9.45 Miles Duration: 8 hours, 34 minutes

We started at an elevation of 5,870 feet and hiked to the peak (8,762 feet).  The trail starts at the Pine Springs Campsite.  The trail started off dirt/grass and eventually becomes dirt/grass, rocky, and stair-step layers of rock with many switchbacks and occassional shady trees.... the day we hike, the temperature was in the 70s and the winds were mild (we were told the winds topped 100 mph the previous weeks).  The view from the top of the peak was absolutely breathtaking.  At the summit, there is a small monument honoring the 100th anniversary of the completion of the first transcontinental mail route... don't forget to sign the visitors book!! 

Devils Hall Trail
By hawaiiantaz on 3/27/2008
Rating: 5stars Difficulty: 4stars Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 4.27 Miles Duration: 1 hour, 52 minutes

The Devil's Hall trail follows the Guadalupe Peak horse trail for about a mile and then follows the rocky streambed leading to the dry streambed of Pine Canyon.  The trail is dirt/grass and rocky with stair-step layers of rock.  We only saw one couple at Devil's Hall, but were the only ones on the trail.

Tough, but rewarding hike.
By omgjoz on 3/7/2008
Rating: 5stars Difficulty: 5stars Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 20.00 Miles Duration: 16 hours

Did Bush mtn...Tough, but rewarding hike.  My pack broke on the hike, took too much gear, but otherwise a nice hike.  Very pretty on the ridges.  Bring water!

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