Explore the most popular camping trails in Guadalupe Mountains National Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Did this several years ago. Found an old school bell about halfway up. Rangers said a guy had wanted to see what it sounded like up there but had dumped it (it weighed about 70lbs). The summit was awesome, though. Highly recommend being in good shape before you go, it's a burner.

Great hike! It was around 100 degrees but plenty of shady spots to take a quick break if needed. Took us 2 hours up and an 1 hour and 15 minutes down. Took about a 20 minute rest at the top for snacks. Gorgeous views! Definitely glad we did this one!

backpacking
13 days ago

Backpacked from McKittrick Canyon Day Use Area to McKittrick Ridge Campground. You can park overnight in this day use only area with a backcountry permit, which you put on the dash of your car. The trip was approximately 7.6 miles and 2800 ft elevation gain. The first 3.5 miles to The Grotto are very moderate, but consist of hiking through a substantial amount of riverbed wash. The next 4 miles are much more strenuous, especially with a pack. 1 mile past The Grotto is The Notch, which offers some great views of the canyon and would be good for a day hike. Importantly, The Notch is not marked on the trail, so you will have to keep an eye out. It is distinguished from the trail as an outcropping of rocks on either side of the trail (going up from McKittrick Day use area, about a 10 ft tall pillar on your left and a canyon wall on your right). The views of the canyon become increasingly beautiful as you hike past The Notch. We did this in the dead of summer, and it was a pretty hot day. That being said, if backpacking during this time of year, I recommend taking about 5 liters per person per day, because both my hiking partner and I drank a little more than the 1 gallon recommended per day by the park. It makes for a heavy pack, but it was better to be safe during this time of year. We hiked up in 6.5 hours and down in 4, but were moving pretty fast on the way down. The campground is marked along the trail, so you can't miss it. There are at least 10 campgrounds. We were the only ones there overnight and were visited throughout the evening and night by a small group of very curious mule deer.

I hiked this November 22, 2017. The weather was partly cloudy and windy. My friend and I started around 9:00. My friend had a double bypass open heart surgery 14 months earlier. He was stopping every 10 minutes so at 0.5 miles from the trailhead i told him to go back to the car. I was 65 and Scott was 62 at the time. We both had 25 to 30 pound packs, 1-1/4 gallons of water each. We used up most of the water because it’s necessary at altitude.

We are both from Arizona and 560 miles from the trailhead.

I continued up and reached the summit in very windy and cold conditions. My wind meter showed 57 mph on the summit. I had some food and took some photos and i did stop and take several photos on the way up and down. At 500’ vertical feet below the summit here was Scott. This totally surprised me and i was impressed. I continued down about 1/4 mile and waited for Scott. This was a place where i wasn’t blockIng the trail.

I never would allow any person i hike with to be behind me on the way down. Especially a person with a double bypass. If something went wrong then he would be up there on his own, not good. He summited and came down to me and continued down.

I told him to continue down and i stayed behind to help another hiker who had knee problems, i am a EMT. I wrapped his knee and helped him down.

Anyway the man i was helping needed help
to walk out even with his knee being wrapped. The trail is extremely rocky with large steps which are hard on you. I had to use my headlamp and it took me over 4 hours to descend from where i helped the hiker. We didn’t get down until around 7:00 pm over 90 minutes after dark. Scott got down just as daylight was fading.

The view is great from on the summit and as stated earlier lots of wind. I have over 45 years of mountaineering including Mt McKinley
and Mt Rainer via 6 different routes including Liberty Ridge. Even though this is a trail i take any mountain seriously. This isn’t for bragging but to show that i never treat trips like this lightly. I lived in Washington State for 60 years until i retired.

I suggest good boots and hiking poles to
help with the decent which is tedious because your always stepping downs 12 to 24”. There is one small traverse on a mildly exposed slab 150’ below the summit. Two hikers in front of me turned around there because they didn’t want to risk a fall. Nothing wrong with knowing your limits and staying with them.

4.5 hours to summit because of issues with Scott the first 0.5 mile, 30 minutes on summit. Waiting for Scott to summit and to descend to where i was waiting 80 minutes. Helped another hiker with a knee issue and wrapped it, 30 minutes. Then another 4 hours to descend with him to his vehicle. Almost two hours in darkness with my headlamp. I will always help anyone with a issue even if it cost me the summit.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, and i hope the message is clear. Also that times can almost double, if issues occur in your party, or with another.

Ron

Very difficult. Trail signs say more like 8.4 mi, loose rocks for much of the trail, no real leveling off or let up from the incline. With that said great views. Booked it and took 2.5hrs up, 2 down.

Took me and a friend 2.5 hours to summit. Another 2 to return with lots of stops. Definitely worth the work, amazing views of the desert.

Catching up on my AllTrails reviews. Did this in April 2017 with my then 12 year old son. First mile to mile and a half was no joke, incline got me. I’m a pretty tall 300 pound guy but made it up and down with no real issue. Beautiful hike, beautiful weather, beautiful view at top. Started around 8am, couple of rest stops, finished around 5pm, but detoured on the way down and added an hour. Great hike!

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!

backpacking
1 month ago

Worth the view, but the incline is no joke. I did this with a 50lb pack and camped near the peak. This is an difficult day hike but so amazing, breath taking views!

This was my boyfriend and I’d first summit together. It was really foggy on the way up. We are both new hikers but we’re pretty fit. It took us around 6 1/2 hours to do the trail. We made it up in 3 1/2 hours with multiple breaks. We ate lunch at the top and rested our legs for a little bit until we made our way back down. The fog cleared on our way down and the views were incredible. Definitely worth it!

A little late getting this in, so here goes: I did my annual Freedom Hike (4th of July) this year. Decided to backpack this as, this is part of my training for Mount Whitney. Just getting through the first 1.5 miles of switchbacks was exhausting.

I started out at 10am on July 4th, the temperature was around 95. I weighed by backpack, it came in at 40lbs. Had about 30lbs of gear and carrying 5 liters of water made it weigh right around 40lbs.

The goal was to make to the summit campsite. Right about the turn that it goes from the switchbacks to the wooded area, I said that I would not mind if it rained. Low and behold, it started to rain, for about 3 hours. Stopped several times as the rain was getting heavier and I was keeping an eye out for lightning. This was around noon.

Saw some lightning, and I decided to move forward as the rain was going the other way. The temperature dropped about 20 degrees. It was 95 when I started, and it was 75 when the rains came in. About mile 2.75, saw several day hikers making their way down as they did not summit because of the rain. The Volunteer Ranger (and at this point, he had summited 194 times) was like, "Camp at your own risk." I took that warning.

Got the campsite at around 3 1/2 - 4hrs later, and broke camp. The rain was letting up and it came to a complete stop at around 4pm. At this point, I was napping.

Decided to hike to the summit at 6:30pm and made it up by 7:10pm. I was the only one up there. Signed the book at 7:22pm. I was going to catch the sunset, but didn't want to hike in the dark (I did have my headlamp).

Got back ate dinner. I was the only one there. It was a great way to collect your thoughts, and banjos. Luckily, no banjos were playing.

Headed back the next morning at 7 and made it to my car at around 9:30am. I would recommend camping up there. 5 liters was plenty as i ran out when i got the car.

Ran/walked the trail to the grotto at high noon on a 100+ day. A pause at the Pratt cabin and the at the grotto was much needed, but the dip in the cool spring on the return trip truly saved us from combusting. The change in topography and views made this one of my favorite runs ever. Can’t wait to return to explore more of the park in cooler weather.

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.

so fun and great views that will make you so surprised you’re in texas! it was very tiring- we took a few breaks before we reached the campsite but then we dropped our packs and went for the peak! highly recommend doing this as no one is trying to mess with your stuff and what’s better than reaching a peak without all those pounds on your back?! we had a great time but would consider returning when it’s not summer lol it was miserably hot out but well worth it!

The best of Texas! An overall trek but not particularly difficult trail to hike. Took me approx. 2 hrs at a steady pace with a few breaks to reach the top. At the summit is a rewarding view, with plenty of areas for a potential nap. Be careful though, there are several areas that the trail drops off a cliff several hundred feet on the exposed side(no fence or rails), so watching your step along the trip-hazard prone rocky path is very important. A great short summit hike.

backpacking
1 month ago

It’s necessary to pack all of your water, which makes the initial ascent quite challenging. Nice trail once you’re on top of the mountain. In spring or fall, I’d recommend planning for a variety of temperatures due to the elevation differences. Climbing the mountain was boiling hot, however when camping at Tejas that night, our gallon water bottles froze solid.

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

I hiked this trail 6 years ago as training for the Grand Canyon. Up and down is equivalent to half the canyon. I did up and down in 6 hours with a 35 pound pack. the same time it took to hike down the Grand Canyon. very similar type of hike and great views and training. I did this in September. very hot.

This a must do. The view from the top is incredible. Make sure you leave your name in the book at the top!!!

One of my favorite hikes in Texas. I loved it so much I wrote an entire story about it, found here: http://willingnesstowander.com/willingness/posts/Guadalupe/

It is hard, but amazingly worth it. The views are great, the temperature not too bad, and the space is mostly to yourself.

One of the best in Texas. I wrote about the whole trail (and more about Gaudalupe) here: http://willingnesstowander.com/willingness/posts/Guadalupe_Peak/

Great hike with great friends! This is a beautiful part of Texas. I would highly recommend it! We did this in early June and would encourage plenty of water and food. It was really hot on the way down, but it was incredible! All of it!

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

Much harder than imagine.

Awesome hike. Great views the entire way. Awesome sunrise. Completed with 10 year old daughter in around 7 1/2 hours from base to summit with lots of breaks and a long lunch at the top

Great hike! My wife and I set out at sunrise which allowed us to get almost all the way up with great shade. We are decently fit. We took our time on the way up, took several short breaks, and it took us 3.25 hours. We had a a short break on the top and then kept a healthy pace on the way down (pretty much no breaks) and it took about 2 hours to get back to the parking lot. It was pretty rocky most of the way. Trekking poles helped save our knees. Great views all the way up. Good shade spots scattered all the way to the summit. Really enjoyed this hike!

Very well maintained trail. Rough hike but well worth it. We camped overnight, got up in time to hike to the top and see the sunrise.

backpacking
2 months ago

Backpacking this trail is made much more difficult by the water requirements. This is a fairly steep trail, whichever side you start it from and there's also very little shade, regardless of which side you start from.

The best way to do this trail is to start early in the morning (during the warm season at least), so as to avoid the sun when doing your ascent up the mountains into the forest. If you start early enough, you can be through the incline before the sun comes up over the mountains.

I'd also recommend staying at Tejas. The sites there are not exposed to the strong winds that regularly hit GMNP.

My wife and I did the trail in three days, starting from Pine Springs. We went to Tejas the first day, then walked to Dog Canyon and back on the second day to get more water, finally we descended back to Pine Springs on the third day. This was a fairly difficult itinerary and I wouldn't recommend it to others, unless one really wanted a challenge.

Load More