Explore Permian Basin - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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This hike was amazing. Gorgeous views, but dont get fooled by the 7.5 mile round trip it's a lot longer than that just one way due to all the switchbacks you traverse. So some trail training is a must before attempt to tackle this trail. When you get to the top it's all worth the effort.

What a thrill to stand at the highest point in Texas! This was my birthday hike, fortunately delayed from August as the temperature was perfect in early November at mid 60s F. According to my GPS, this trail is closer to 9 miles, most of which is quite steep and rocky. The wind was strong and consistent throughout. There are few signs, but only one place near the summit had us tracing the trail visually from above us to find our way. Take extra water - my daughter drank 3 liters and ran out a mile from the trailhead on the descent. Start early to finish before dark as the days are shorter, and bring a headlamp/flashlight in case you don’t. Poles are a big bonus on the way down. Expect a challenging and very rewarding hike!

Heavily graveled, easy to follow. Gravel difficult to walk in like sand is.
Scenery and Pratt Lodge Cabin Worth it.

Very easy worthwhile hike. Beautiful spring at the end - surrounded by October colors. Go counterclockwise - better for knees on way back.
Good warm up for the peak the next day.

Memorable hike.

Trip from Houston
Drove from Houston - hiked next day - drove back. Overnight each way. DO NOT TAKE Pecos Highway, 285 or HWY 62 - large potholes and 100 miles of oil drilling trucks, fields, etc.
Stayyed at Super 8 in Sonora - very nicely refurbished and inexpensive.

60 year old ok shape male. Left before dawn at 6:40. Hike for me took about 8 hours plus an hour on top. Glad we left in the morning before it got hot. Had hiking poles - a must if you are not 20-30 something. Had plenty of water and the foul weather gear but the day was beautiful. Day before they had 50 mph winds.

We were going to hike up to the wilderness campsites - but the campsites were full. But we got the last site at the campgrounds at the base - bring ear plugs.
So glad we did not take the 35 pound pack up 2000 feet to the wilderness campsites especially since we would have had a late start.

Brought Nikon D-90 and got some great pics. Picnic on top great.

What is amazing is the perspective - for instance, you will look down on El Capitan and the mini mountains look like dots. So I at once see the immensity of God’s creation and realize how small I am - even yet for one moment when I was the tallest person in Texas. Have fun.

Good trail that is easy to follow. Finished RT right around 4 hours. All levels can do this trail but time will vary. It’s steep in a lot of places and your legs will feel it. It was very windy during certain sections and at the very top.

15 days ago

Amazing

A view well earned. Trail is is difficult with lots of loose rocks. Start early. Slow and steady will get you there.

Hiked on 10/29/18. Fall foliage is at near peak color and absolutely gorgeous!

Great hike. The initial switchbacks were challenging, but overall the hike was enjoyable. It took me 5 hours total including a break at the top. The weather was cool and the fog created some great scenes. Unfortunately, the clouds obscured the view at the summit, but there were views along the way.

... One of my all time favorite hikes. There is a lot of variety on this trail, especially if you pay attention to small details.

hiking
20 days ago

Loved the view of fall colors throughout the hike!

After doing observation point just 3 weeks earlier, this hike was much tougher than expected. I went in early October and the winds and cold temperatures made it a challenge.

I entered the cave from the Natural Entrance and WOW! My mouth was slack-jawed the entire journey down. The trail is incredibly smooth so you don't ever need to worry about tripping even though it gets rather dark.

The cave floor is rather crowded with people who took the elevator down but the sights were so amazing that I hardly noticed.

Lots of fun to follow the wash up, and the Hiker's Staircase and Devil's Hall were amazing sights. Spotted a tarantula and a few deer.

Well-maintained and not very steep. Spectacular views the entire way up. Super windy around a few corners when I hiked it last week - definitely bring a jacket.

Always cool to go here , do the walk down from the bat entrance its way funner!

I am an unfit 26 year old who likes to hike occasionally, but otherwise I am inactive. These reviews definitely made me feel ill prepared for this hike, along with the park ranger who advised we not start the hike as late in the afternoon as we did, but we chose not to listen. I’m glad we went ahead!

We started our hike on 10/14 at 2:20pm, reached the summit at 5:07pm, started our trek back down at 5:35pm, and were back at 7:15pm. Lots of stops on the way up, just a couple on the way down. We each took two liters of water. A third probably would have been good to have.

The weather was PERFECT. The wind kept us cool most of the hike. We started in shorts and tank tops. Brought pants and pullovers that we changed into at the summit, but we didn’t need to because it didn’t cool off until after we left the park. It got chilly at times, but the weather was consistent for our hike up and down. The wind wasn’t 50 miles per hour at the summit for us, but barely blowing while we were there. The views were clear, and we could see everything! So amazing!

Passed maybe 25 people who were coming down the mountain on our way up. Passed two people who were going up on our way down. Very peaceful and quiet trail that we had to ourselves most of the hike, so I’m glad we chose that time to go!

It wasn’t as hard as a lot of these reviews make
it seem, but it was hard. Also, our Apple devices said we hiked 10 miles total. We did the hikers only trail, not the horse/hiker trail. Something to keep in mind as well. The trail is well marked, so staying on it is easy. There is a lot of loose gravel/rocks, but it didn’t really seem to be an issue. Just wear hiking shoes.

If you’re planning on doing Carlsbad Caverns and Guadalupe Mountains in the same day, like we did, there’s a time change. Guadalupe is an hour behind Carlsbad.

*This rating is the trail up to and back from the Notch.*

I originally planned only to go to the Grotto (which is pretty damn cool, btw), which is a pretty easy hike), and then figured I'd go on up to the Notch since I had a couple extra hours. That part of the hike (above the Grotto) is much more difficult, lots of elevation gain in a short distance, but SO worth it for the view of the south canyon, which is much more breathtaking than that of the north canyon.

My group loved this trail! Be prepared for crazy weather changes! we started off hiking in minimal clothing to bundled up on top and wet! Such an adventure and so much fun!

1 month ago

Not my normal type hiking trail, but after yesterday, I needed something easy. Lots of desert plants, well marked.

hiking
1 month ago

Great little hike with my younger son. Labor Day weekend 2018

Hard to rate it well b/c the top part of the mountain was covered in clouds (and cold wind!) all day when I hiked it. So I got no view AND the hike up was pretty miserable b/c of the weather. I can imagine w/o that issue, it would have been a spectacular, five-star hike. The trail is hard b/c of the elevation gain, but the trail is really well-maintained with plenty of switchbacks, so no scrambling necessary! I would love to do the hike again if I could be sure it was going to be a clear day at elevation. (The weather forecast for today was all sunny. NOT.)

This is a great trail to get you acquainted with the area. The best bit is going into the dunes afterwards and hiking out in a loop. Plan to walk at least a mile to get a real "dunes" experience. I've started coming here at least once a year. Definitely well worth it!

Climbed it on September 15. Weather was fantastic. It was more difficult than I anticipated, but definitely worth it.

hiking
1 month ago

Very interesting hike along the base of the mountain along a washed out river bed. The Devil's hall and the stairs leading to it are quite a sight. Great for those who want a hike without much elevation gain.

Certainly a unique hike that you won't find anywhere else. The descent is long but the trail is quite pleasant - the views along the way will have all your attention. The chambers at the bottom are spectacular. Even with the lights, it is quite dark. If you're planning on taking nice pictures bring a decent flash or a camera with good low-light capabilities.

If possible, try to go during the week. The crowds aren't a deal-breaker, but you might have to maneuver around others on the path and wait a while for the elevator back up. Hiking back up gives a nice alternate view.

You work hard for the summit but it's so worth it. The views from the top are breathtaking. The walk down is a lot easier. Take water.

hiking
1 month ago

This "trail" (if you'd like to call it a trail, it's really just the cave system) was what got me truly hooked on hiking. We made the 7 hour drive from Dallas, TX, and I was completely floored by all the beautiful mountains and wildlife on the way up to the caverns entrance (we even saw mountain goats!). I guess the park guides thought that my boyfriend and I were pretty experienced - which we ARE, but not incredibly physically fit haha - and he told us to take the elevators down and the natural entrance back up. We didn't have any knowledge of the cave systems and how they worked, so we just took his word for it! The hike through the general caves took us probably about 2 hours, and was very easy (the caves are around 56 degrees and totally comfortable). It was nice and quiet because you have to keep your voice down, but be warned - it's a very touristy park so prepare yourself for crowds. The hike back UP the natural entrance was killer. It's a 79 story, steep incline. We had to take multiple breaks but the challenge was 100% worth it (and we avoided the MASSIVE elevator line back up). Amazing views from start to finish, and who doesn't love the cute little bats?

Outstanding hike, the pictures do not do justice. Myself 22M and my father 54M made this hike Friday night and Saturday morning. The hike up is quite challenging unless you are frequently doing this level of hike. Camping on the mountain is very worth it as it gives you a break between hiking up and down, and starting at 10AM the trail gets heavily trafficked which can be annoying. We summoned at 9am and there was no one else around, it was amazing. Only complaint is that the amount of loose rock on this trail makes for very easy trips and rolled ankles. Happy hiking!

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