Return to Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Guadalupe Peak
User: MikeHikes - 11/11/2014  [View Log Page]
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
User: MikeHikes - 11/10/2014  [View Log Page]
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
User: MikeHikes - 11/10/2014  [View Log Page]
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
User: MikeHikes - 11/9/2014  [View Log Page]
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. 


User: jtmcheck - 2/27/2010  [View Log Page]
Rating: 5stars Difficulty: 4stars Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 8.20 Miles Duration: N/A
McKittrick Canyon and Historic Pratt Cabin
User: hawaiiantaz - 3/30/2008  [View Log Page]
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
User: hawaiiantaz - 3/29/2008  [View Log Page]
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
User: hawaiiantaz - 3/28/2008  [View Log Page]
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
User: hawaiiantaz - 3/27/2008  [View Log Page]
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.
User: omgjoz - 3/7/2008  [View Log Page]
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!

User: chris_xg - 10/14/2006  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 3stars Solitude: 2stars
Distance: 8.00 Miles Duration: N/A

It was just great....everything about it was amazing.

Outstanding place to hike, grandeur amazing
User: aggiehiker92 - 9/5/2006  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 4stars Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 15.00 Miles Duration: N/A
I took my three older boys (12,8,6) on the trails from Dog Canyon Campground to McKitterick Canyon Visitor's Center with an overnight stay at McKitterick Ridge Primitive Campground, about halfway. The weather was in our favor; it quit raining the night before we hiked out, which made for some beautiful wildflowers along the trail. The trail up from Dog Canyon is a steady climb; we gained about 1900 feet in elevation before stopping for the night. The trail is good, and though strenuous, the views make up for the pain and suffering. The next morning, we hiked solid switchbacks for roughly 4 miles, dropping a whopping 2,600 feet in elevation before we reached the Grotto in McKitterick Canyon. Made a nice place for a lunchbreak. Large flagstone picnic tables are there, and McKitterick Creek flows nearby with clear, cold water (be sure you filter or treat it, and only use what you need). The hike from the Grotto to the Visitor Center is level and well maintained. Seven or eight creek crossings make for wet shoes if the creek is running high, as it was after the rains. Otherwise, the creek normally runs beneath the outwash gravel for most of the trail. As this is a desert, the most important thing to carry is water, and plenty of it. The recommended amount is 1 gallon per person per day, and I promise that you will use every drop of it, even when the weather is cooperative and cool.
3 days 2 nights in backcountry alone!
User: Sykohiker - 7/10/2006  [View Log Page]
Rating: 5stars Difficulty: 4stars Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 15.00 Miles Duration: 3 days

Started from Dog Canyon on the Tejas trail about 9 am and hiked to Mescalero campground the first day. Somewhat strenuous due to weight of backpack. Half the weight was water(3 gals.).Got to campground about 4 in the afternoon. The night was cool and clear and woke up to the sound of a woodpecker. Hiked next day to Blue Ridge campground. Watched the sunset from Bush Mountain trial. Wow, what a view. Camped that night at Blue Ridge and hiked all the way back to Dog Canyon the next day. I met the Park Ranger when I started out the first day and didn't see another person till I was a mile from Dog Canyon on the third day. Total Solitude. Got back with 12 oz of water.

Devil's Hall
User: LVX - 12/27/2005  [View Log Page]
Rating: 3point5stars Difficulty: 1point5stars Solitude: 2stars
Distance: 4.20 Miles Duration: N/A
My wife and I arrived at the Pine Springs Campground late in the afternoon but still wanted to get in a hike before sunset. We decided on the Devil's Hall Trail because it was short, flat and a good warm-up for the Guadalupe Peak trail the next morning.

This hike takes you through a streambed of Pine Springs canyon, then up through a natural rock formation called the Hiker's Staircase then finally to the finale - the Devil's Hall.

Although there is little elevation gained during this hike, it is very rocky. It will lead you through maples, ponderosa pine and many plant varieties of the Chihuahuan desert. This round trip hike could take you 3-5 hours so bring plenty of water.

A great hike! A must for all Texans!
User: johnbenton - 6/12/2005  [View Log Page]
Rating: 5stars Difficulty: 4stars Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 8.20 Miles Duration: 6 hours
This is probably my favorite hike in Texas. (Only difficulty is the drive from DFW to the park.) The trail up Guadalupe Peak is steep and rocky, but at 4.2 miles most can do it. The beginning and end are the hardest parts. Inbetween it is a very enjoyable stretch of hiking. The altitude is a problem for flatlanders like me, but less of a problem if you are in condition. If going in summer, start before sunrise so you don't bake in the desert heat. In spring time, be prepared for the winds. Be ready for the hike. It is a desert, there is no water on the trail, it is steep, hot and sunny in summer, and the footing is rough due to the rocks. But, I beleive it is probably the best hike in Texas (or tied with some Big Bend hikes.)
Very much worth the drive and effort
User: jfdevoge - 5/1/2005  [View Log Page]
Rating: 5stars Difficulty: 4stars Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 14.00 Miles Duration: N/A
Lost Peak was a fantastic hike, and very quiet. The wind and sun were very nice, and the Mescalero campsite was quite agreeable. Mind the cold at the elevations, though. We slept in a thick cloud cover that night, and it was almost like being rained on all night. The views are fantastic. The ranger was very helpful and kind. I would gladly do this hike again.
Bowl Trail
User: Eveline - 10/9/2004  [View Log Page]
Rating: 3stars Difficulty: 5stars Solitude: 2point5stars
Distance: 9.30 Miles Duration: N/A
We started at 5822' and climbed to 7760'. If we thought it was hard going up, it was nothing compared to coming down via Bear Canyon. Plus it was sleeting when we got up top.
Guadalupe Peak
User: texasgrape - 10/25/2003  [View Log Page]
Rating: 5stars Difficulty: 4point5stars Solitude: 4stars
Distance: 9.40 Miles Duration: N/A
Although this hike is officially 8.4 miles roundtrip, two trips, back and forth, to the campsite added another mile. We camped overnight at the primitive campsite; my wife and I were the only ones camping. About 11 pm that night, it started to snow, about 3.5 inches total. The fresh, fallen snow made the walk down even more beautiful. The views are awesome especially this time of year with the fall foliage. I highly recommend this hike.
Mc Kittrick Canyon
User: texasgrape - 10/23/2003  [View Log Page]
Rating: 4stars Difficulty: 3stars Solitude: 1point5stars
Distance: 7.50 Miles Duration: N/A
One of the only places in West Texas that has premier fall foliage. It was our first trip, and it was everything we had anticipated. Truly a beautiful hike. The foliage was about 30-40% when we went. Although not at peak, we wouldn't have known any difference! Watched some wild javelina rooting along the other side of the stream. The visit to the Pratt lodge (along the way)was nice, too. This hike would probably be a 4.0 solitude any other time of year, but during foliage season, people come from all over to see this canyon's beauty.
Guadalupe Peak
User: Will Simmons - 2/23/2002  [View Log Page]
Rating: 5stars Difficulty: 5stars Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 9.00 Miles Duration: N/A

Long hike around the mountain going from one side to the other switching from desert and cactus trails to forests with snow. trail has a couple spots were the trail has eroded away and is wet or snowy can be a bit chalanging. a couple spots take a bit of a climb to get up but overall stading at the top gasping for air the view is worth it weather seeing for miles or looking over at el capitan a great view. Rolled my ankle on the way down on one of the big rock steps.

Devil's Hall trail
User: Eveline - 10/12/1997  [View Log Page]
Rating: 5stars Difficulty: 3stars Solitude: 1star
Distance: 6.20 Miles Duration: N/A
It was boulder climbing up a dry creek bed. I enjoyed it!
Apache Springs Trail
User: Eveline - 10/11/1997  [View Log Page]
Rating: 3point5stars Difficulty: 3point5stars Solitude: 1point5stars
Distance: 8.00 Miles Duration: N/A
We passed a ranch house (now museum)which had restrooms which was a nice perk. We visited 3 springs in all. Coming down from the last spring there were lots of roly rocks. Hiking stick is a great help in this area.
Family trip
User: maxrebo - 7/12/1989  [View Log Page]
Rating: N/A Difficulty: 4stars Solitude: 5stars
Distance: 5.00 Miles Duration: N/A
Went on a mini-vacation with the family, and hiked "almost" to the summit of Guadalupe Peak, Hey, I was just a kid, give me a break!!! Personally, I blame not finishing on my little brother....