This park has Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas, the scenic McKittrick Canyon full of Bigtooth Maples, part of the Chihuahuan Desert, and a fossilized reef from the Permian.
This hike is incredible, not an easy hike by any means but wow are the summit and views amazing. You absolutely need more water than expected and a good pair of shoes. The first mile and a half or so you are exposed to the sun so I reccomend sunscreen. Not a lot of wildlife on the trail on October 15th, the day I hiked but a diverse ecosystem with some amazing sights. I definitely encourage this hike and when it gets tough push through it because the peak is well worth it!
We have driven by this beautiful area several times .We have visited the McKittrick Canyon and hiked by the trials in the Guadalupe Mountains also several times. One of this times was on Sep 2014, just during rainy season. The area looked as a big lake, is worth a visit.
This was a great trail to hike. Took about 6 hours up and back. Beautiful the whole way and challenging. Definitely my favorite trail to climb so far. Make sure you bring a good pair of boots as there is ice and snow along the top of the path 3/4 of the year.
This hike must be done at the right time to get the best experience. Generally before Dec you check their website/FB page for an update on the color change..when the leaves turn. The first 1/4 of the hike is pretty uneventful, normal southwest terrain & scenery. The trail follows a riverbed until eventually crossing it. The canyon on your left is pretty cool, as are the layers of rock that have eroded in the riverbed. Once across it's just gravel trail for awhile with a few spots to sit. Again, the mountains looming on both sides are pretty neat. Eventually you start heading into the deeper part of the canyon where the whole topography changes. You start seeing the colors. You'll cross over the river bed (this time w/ water) back to the left bank. The scenery is gorgeous & the trail is surrounded by trees. Once again, you cross back to the right side of the bed & that's where the views are best. So much gold, orange & reds. The ranger station is off to the right. We continued on & were just amazed at the scenery. There are many trees like ash that are nowhere else in the region. We stayed to the right at the grotto/lodge junction, where the trail starts climbing the right side of the canyon. Looking down from up high, the whole canyon spread out, it's breathtaking. The trail gets steeper & winds up to the top of the canyon where you can go on to campsites. We were short on time so headed back. On the return we went to the old lodge & grotto. Both great places to rest & eat as there are picnic tables. Definitely recommend heading out early to make the most of the whole day. I will be returning to try & make it to the very top next time.
Other than climbing to the top of the peaks, I think this is the best trail in the park, Challenging, requires some boulder climbing in the wash, the kids had a good time, All it lacks is the big finish (No waterfall or gorgeous lake) Excels at adding a little more fun with a few slight climbing areas, could get hot if not started early enough, some shade but lots of sun too