Guadalupe Peak Texas Highpoint Trail is a 8.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Carlsbad, Texas that features a great forest setting and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and backpacking and is accessible year-round.
The hike up Guadalupe Peak is a rewarding, although very strenuous hike. It will take from 6 to 8 hours to complete the round trip hike. The hike provides fantastic views from the highest point in the state of Texas (8,749). It also introduces hikers to several of the parks ecosystems including the high desert and the high elevation forests. The trail starts at the RV section of the Pine Springs Campground (1/2 mile from the Pine Springs Visitor Center check in at the visitor center, then turn right out of the visitor center parking lot). Follow the signs for Guadalupe Peak Trail. Follow the hiker trail; the horse trail will add about 1 extra mile to the trip (although it is less steep). You will encounter the steepest part of the hike in the first mile and a half, as the trail switchbacks up the first steep slope. Be sure not to cut across the switchbacks, as this causes accelerated erosion. The views will get better with every switchback you climb. After about a mile and a half, the trail will become less steep as it passes a cliff and then turns around to the north-facing slope. Here, hikers will discover a small forest of pinion pine, south-western white pine, and Douglas fir. The forest exists here since on a north-facing slope there is not as much sunlight. The slightly cooler, shadier climate allows these pines to survive. After nearly three miles the trail will top out at a false summit. It is still a little more than a mile to the actual summit. The trail will flatten out for a short distance as it passes through a sparse forest of ponderosa pine. The backcountry campsite for overnight backpackers is on this summit. After passing the backcountry campsite, the trail descends slightly and crosses a wooden bridge. After the bridge, the trail begins the final climb to the summit. After only a few switchbacks, the top of El Capitan will dominate the view to the south. Eventually you will pass the horse hitching posts and arrive at the summit, where on a clear day you will be rewarded with a tremendous view of the surrounding mountains and desert.
Definite sense of accomplishment to complete this hike. Info says 6-8 hrs. We needed the full 8.
rocky and steep but the surroundings stay interesting the whole time
I hiked this one in late November. It's not as amazing as I hoped. Though, I'm sure freezing and the wind trying to shove me over cliffs, took away from the experience, lol! I seriously underestimated how cold it would be. Not just cold, but WINDY. Like. Serious freaking WIND. That can almost knock you over! It was good for the 1st half. Very hard work, but nice views, it was sunny and warm. But after a while it started getting windier and colder. By the time I got to the top I was froze, despite having a a long sleeve shirt, a sweater, coat, hat and gloves. My fingers were so cold I could barely take any photos. I don't own a windbreaker, but if I ever hike a mountain again I definitely will get one, as well as a warmer hat and warmer gloves. Just warmer everything.
Don't forget to bring food. I brought a small bag of jerky, wished I had brought a lot more by the time I got to the top. Water, you are supposed to have a gallon per person in the summer, but three bottles sufficed in the cold weather, as I was freezing.
I stupidly thought starting in the afternoon would be fine, the sun doesn't go down until 6 right? WRONG, it's in the mountains. So, I froze even more on the way down walking in shade. And I kept falling down, and almost falling, from the loose rock. The large steps did a number on my knees. Even if you don't have knee problems (I do) the walk down is gonna HURT. Both my knees were in serious pain, and shaking so bad, I could hardly walk, by the time I got down.
Now, I'm NOT saying this is a bad hike. This was my first "hard" hike. (gotta start somewhere right?) But I was very unprepared... despite having everything you need for a normal hike. So, if you've never done a hike this hard you might want to bring a lot more than you need. For someone used to this difficult of hikes I'm sure it's great. But damn... never underestimating "hard" again!!
This was my first bacpack experience. It was strenuous and tough but totally worth the views. We camped up top on the guadalupe peak trail campsites. the morning sunrise was amazing. I wanted to stop a couple times but i drove 6hrs to hike to the top and now im addicted to it.
3h45m out, 1h45m back
It's the top of Texas. What more can you ask for.
It was hard had to stop to catch my breath several times. We made it to the peak in over 2 hours. It got really chilly in some spots but definitely chilly at the peak. Take layers of clothing so u can feel free to adjust the different climate.
Anyone can do it you will just have to rest more then others.
Breath taking! But seriously breath taking