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A very nice hike with great views. Mileage listing for the FULL Plateau Loop hike is a bit misleading. From the lake parking lot trailhead the hike to the beginning of the loop at the plateau would be be about 7.6 miles out and back. However, the "loop" trail at the plateau adds another 3.4 miles for a total of 11 miles out and back. Hiking the plateau was almost completely flat with second half the the loop much prettier than the first half which had been heavily forested and was burned. We saw four wild mustang horses that didn't seem to like us being there but we're beautiful to see

trail running
6 days ago

Toughest mile and change I’ve hiked in a very long time. Took me 35 minutes to power hike to the top and maybe 15 minutes down. Lightly trafficked trail with zero switchbacks and some light bushwhacking. Take heed that about halfway up to the summit there is a fork which might be missed because there’s the actual trail to the summit is narrow and overgrown with trees and bushes. If you find yourself going downhill, you’ve missed the cutoff. Views at the top are bitching. Got some great panos and can see for at least 100 miles in each direction.

I entered the caves from Natural Entrance. It's very large inside the caves. Beautiful and amazing! the humidity is very high inside and I'm not very adapt it.

$5 “parking fee” and worth every penny. The trail itself was very gravely, making me wish I’d opted for my actual hiking boots rather than tennis shoes. There was a moderate climb (600ft in about a 1.5 miles). The spring was indeed dripping, albeit softly and slowly...but nonetheless dripping. Altogether a good break from freeway driving that won’t kill your ETA.

Awesome trail! Great one to do early in the AM and to take visiting friends and family. I'd go on it again.

Very beautiful. I suggest going on a weekday and when school is in session. We went during the summer on a Saturday afternoon and it was pretty busy. But very beautiful scenery! The waterfall was awesome. We climbed to the top of the waterfall and the springs are at the top that is feeding the waterfall. The water is clear and clean. Tastes so fresh! Water is ice cold though. It was about 95 outside and the water felt about 40. Overall it was awesome. *** you do have to pay to get in the state park. $5 or $10 for a bus.

In our 60's now, my husband and I walked all the way to the old sanitorium. It is well worth the hike to see the history that exists in those mountains. The structures, for the most part, are well preserved. It's amazing to even think how people could live up there so many years ago. As a side note, the office personel are very friendly and excited to speak about the history of the area. Taking family up there next time. Loved it!

Really a god trip to connect with nature and amazing creations by nature.

leg burner at the top. great views once you get there.

Easy hikes through the general caverns.
I would suggest hiking in through the natural entrance, completing the Big Room, and then going up though the elevator for lunch (we didn't have any wait time). We packed our lunches, but they have a restaurant and gift shop on site. After, I would suggest making a reservation to go back down for any tours- FYI: King's Palace is the only one you can take a 4 year old on.
-Make reservations online as they fill up pretty quickly. I made mine online and then ran into truck problems and they were nice enough to reschedule us into open spots. The people there were very nice and accommodating, the people on the phone that I called to let them know what was going on- not so much. If you happen to have problems, get in touch with the actual people who work at that location, not the general national park services (that number was listed online).-
Anyway, after lunch, we left through the natural entrance to catch the bats leaving the caves, but it was moderate-strenuous. There was a woman who worked there that warned me that it was a strenuous 80 story ascent (probably because I had small children), but we were able to complete it. Just be aware there are a lot of switchbacks and it's a steep incline. But it was so beautiful and I definitely wouldn't skip out on this by taking the elevator both ways.
The temperature in the caves is 56° pretty much all the time, according to the rangers. We went in toward the end of June and it was cold enough that all my kids wanted sweaters, even with it being hot outside. So be prepared. In the regular caverns, you won't really need any flashlights. They have lights on pathways. But I read that if you do the lower caves (can't take children here), you will need them.

This hike was really cool. The park signs say it’s 4.2 miles and it took us 3 hours to complete it. You walk through a pretty rocky river bed but it’s not very difficult, just a lot of rock climbing. We saw some deer and lots of lizards along the way. I recommend this for people who want to see the mountains but don’t actually have time/want to climb them. We really enjoyed it! They view of the mountains is great along the way and the devils hall view is great too!

Love this Hike! The views from above the Sanatorium are amazing!

good hike last little bit is tough but it was worth it. I will be back with a flashlight to negotiate the actual mines

We went today. It wasn’t that busy...no wait at the elevators. It is a fun cool hike in the hot summer desert great for kids. See the caves they are awesome!

hiking
1 month ago

Excellent trail hike for a day trip. Not so hard, but challenging. The wash was amazing. The views were great. I recommend this hike.

hiking
1 month ago

Nice walk next to and through the dry creek bed. It is pretty rocky and you aren't always on a trail. so it can be slow going at time. The end has some great views when you are down in the canyon and the staircase at the end is fun, it is somewhat steep, so just use your hands. Not many people on the trail at all.

My friend and I are both in our 50s. We hiked this in the fall. This is a very beautiful trail but I would consider it hard. We had incredible views and saw several maples that were in the prime color of the fall season. About half of the trail was on the creek beds and we climbed countless boulders which left us quite tired and sore. The “staircase” scared us a bit-the stairs were too narrow and slippery for us to get good traction so we climbed along the ledges on the cliff by the stairs. This trail is stunning but also a bit daring. At our slow pace it took us six hours.

great hike. but alil to long for my kids. but we still made it.

hiking
1 month ago

Didn’t finish too hot but coming back with my bike!!!!!

Long and bumpy drive to get there. Sure am glad we brought our truck.. Pretty but will be much prettier in the summer when the trees are all green and there are more flowers.

Beautiful trail we awesome views. Also hike the Tejas trail to look down on Devil's Hall for a truly great site.

2 months ago

Good, challenging hike! I would rate harder than moderate.....

A great short-ish jaunt. You will see parts of the park not seen from peaks of El Capitan or Guadalupe. Worth it if you have a few hours to kill. Can be done much faster than avg hike time if needed

Loved this waterfall. Hike to the overlook to explore the basin and pools that form under the waterfall. The water was cool but the rocks were slippery. If you're going to get in be careful! Or bring watersocks. We hiked to the top of the waterfall, too. So worth it! Beautiful view.

This place will be packed and it will be busy. Don't let that deter you from this NP. It was a great experience to get an idea of what're inside of caves. We hiked down first then took the elevator up. I recommend bringing a flashlight/headlamp so you can see more details on the walls.

Had and amazing time and met some amazing people. I took the elevator down and came back up through the natural entrance. It was steep, but well worth the challenge. Be forewarned, most people take the elevator back up. If you are planning that, prepare for a long wait. The Big Room is just amazing. planning on hanging around for a little bit to see the bats go out at dusk.

Graveled trail

Most beautiful place yet. did this hike along with Smith Spring last year and cant wait to return.

Did the natural entrance trail. Lots of switchbacks & steep! Wanted to do the other loop, but since the elevators were out we had to walk back up the way we came. Very strenuous.
The cave is fabulous. We've been in a lot of caves. This is the first one they just turn you loose without a tour. We were able to set our own pace.

hiking
3 months ago

Took me a little over 2.5 hours roundtrip but I began hiking up the service road. I recommend either starting at the bottom of 108 or parking at one of the two clearings along the road if you want a longer and more challenging hike. The final steep is tricky due to loose rocks but definitely worth the effort and part of the fun. Should have packed a second layer as it was super windy at the summit, otherwise it was a great hike.

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