Guadalupe Peak Texas Highpoint Trail

HARD 370 reviews

Guadalupe Peak Texas Highpoint Trail is a 7.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Pine Springs, Texas that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
7.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2952 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

views

wildlife

rocky

no dogs

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.

3 days ago

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.

hiking
5 days ago

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

hiking
7 days ago

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

11 days ago

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!

14 days ago

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

hiking
18 days ago

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!

20 days ago

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.

hiking
25 days ago

Trail is maintained well, 4 hours to summit.

hiking
29 days ago

Very exhausting hike but well worth it - the view from the top is amazing. With each switchback the view just keeps getting better and better. The description says that the first 1-1.5 miles is the hardest, but I think it was all just very difficult. It's pretty much all switchbacks. Be prepared to work hard the entire trail. The trail is very rocky and is very difficult on the knees. I would highly recommend wearing boots with ankle support.

1 month ago

Very rewarding an exhausting when I completed this last year. i am excited to do it again and I am sure my skill level has increased where the hike will be more enjoyable.

1 month ago

Pretty, well signed and easy to follow. I love this part of Texas!

camping
1 month ago

As tough as it is awesome. The incline, wind, and unstable rocky terrain are what make it difficult. There are definitely some tough stretches on this hike. I don’t recommend the hike in the heat as there are large portions with no shade. All that being said it is well worth your time. We hiked to the high camp with full packs and spent a couple of days up around the peak - no place like it.

1 month ago

The first mile and the last half mile are pretty rough. My knees aren't what they used to be, so I used trekking poles. If you decide to use them, use the rubber tips as the trail is mostly rock. The views at the top are spectacular and the climb is exhilarating! I used all trails and map my walk to record, all trails hit 8 miles even, map my walk hit 8.1. Coming down was more difficult for me due to the knee and scree, but manageable. I wore trail runners instead of hiking boots, but if I do it again I would opt for the ankle support over weight savings due to the loose rock. Bring sunscreen, easy to get burnt at the higher altitude.

2 months ago

The sunrise views were AMAZING

hiking
2 months ago

Amazing hike, best I have done in West Texas/southern New Mexico so far. Trail is well maintained and easy to follow. You can wear shorts if you choose, no bushwhacking involved. Great view at the top and there was just a slight breeze the entire time I hiked, even with a strong wind on the drive up. 1.5hrs up, 1hr down (jogged a good portion down).
The route is closer to 8mi round trip.

hiking
2 months ago

I really enjoyed hiking to the top of Texas' highest peak. Thank you very much to the people responsible for building and maintaining this well-maintained trail. Thank you also to whoever was responsible for putting the shiny metal monument marker at the top of the mountain. It was very cool having such a prominent marker at the top of the mountain. Note: near the top of the trail, well above the camping area, there's a section of the trail where you can take it to the left or the right, and both places and up back on the trail, but you should take the left way that has you go over bed rock to the opposite side of the ridge, rather than the right side (muddy) which takes you needlessly over a short but steep "up and down" back to the trail. Both ways work, but you can save yourself a bit of needless aggravation by taking the correct trail path that goes left at the spot,

hiking
2 months ago

Kristen and I went to top and back in under 4 hours. I agree it is more like a 9 mike hike. Trail is perfectly marked. Saw deer on hillside above us. One super windy section near the Guadalupe campground. Great hike. Great view.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful but strenuous trail.
The last 500 feet is rocky with a fair amount of scree. I fell at the top when my boot caught the edge of a rock. Five miles of hiking, 3000 ft of elevation and sixty mile trip to Carlsbad ER who, I might add, were very caring and did a great job stitching me up.
Everyone at the summit agreed and compared GPS’s, this is a 10 mile hike not 8.8, 9.2... that trail signs and books claim.

2 months ago

This was a difficult hike but worth the view at the top! It is up hill most of the way there, with some flat breaks. Don’t be fooled by all the false peaks, we kept thinking we were close to the top and then we would see a higher peak.

2 months ago

I was able to pull it off took all day literally like 10 hrs but I wanted to enjoy it and I’m disabled. So if I’m able to do it surly most can

hiking
2 months ago

Terrific hike. 3 hours up, 2:15 down, plus time at the top. First third of the hike is the steepest. Last third and the peak were very windy - 40-50 mph gusts that day according to the folks at the visitor's center - so a fleece and windbreaker are highly advisable. Still, I wish I had been in shorts rather than long pants. On the advice of the visitor's center I had 3L of water, but 2L would have been plenty. Saw a number of hikers carrying only 1L, though that would be too little in my view. Depends on the temps, of course. The day I hiked it was about 50 degrees at the TH at 9 am. Bring sunscreen.

hiking
3 months ago

Awesome hike, took 2:30 getting to the peak for an 8 am sunrise. Most challenging part was the cold and windy conditions going up, but that dissipated after sunrise. Definitely felt the elevation the first half mile but got acclimated to it after that. Like others have said, very windy at the top. Quick and easy coming down. 5 hours round trip was tiring but easily doable. Sunrise from the peak is absolutely amazing!

3 months ago

Spectacular hike! Beautiful views from the beginning. The first mile is tough, pretty steep but its a good trail and well maintained. Top half was real windy, 30+mph so come prepared. Unbelievable views at the top make every step worth it. 5:11 up and down for our ave fit group. Highly recommend!

backpacking
3 months ago

A lot of hikes on here are rated as hard and a lot of times are more medium in my opinion. This one however is a hard hike. My wife and I both had our backpacking packs on 30-45lbs and both agreed even without our packs if we were just day hiking it, it still would have been a good workout. I highly recommend this hike! The views are incredible and the top is worth the struggle it takes to get there.!

If you camp up at Guadalupe peak campsite it’s around 8000ft it is poorly marked. So when you hit the trail marker that says camp site to the right of the main trail you need to follow what almost looks like a small game trail over the next ridge and then you will find the sites. I’d say it’s probably .1/8th mile from the main trail.

As we came down after camping the winds were around 50-60 mph gusts and hard to stay standing at times. We had winter gear and wind breakers otherwise it would have been pretty brutal up there.

Coming down we ran into people with hardly any water, wearing sandals, or very little clothes. Just make sure you check the weather and are prepared. I’m pretty sure a number of those people probably had to turn back before making the summit. Hopefully this helps. If you take the right gear this hike is amazing!!

backpacking
3 months ago

Great trail with spectacular views. I did it at age 60. Get out there.

hiking
4 months ago

Tough hike but it's definitely worth it once you make it to the top

hiking
4 months ago

Great trail. Extremely strenuous but totally worth it when you make it to the top. We completed it in 5 hours.

backpacking
4 months ago

Fantastic trail and a really great campsite near the top. Would definitely go again.

4 months ago

Great trail with nice view

hiking
4 months ago

Hiked to the summit on Thursday 1/25/18. No snow or ice on the trail but if there is I would be prepared to turn back at dicey spots and definitely come with trekking poles, proper footwear, and many layers for this amazing hike. Hat and gloves for sure right now for when the wind picks up.

Took the trail heading out to Devils Hall which adds mileage but gets you warmed up on some flat grade prior to the elevation gain. The other route sends you straight up but is shorter. I think it added at least a mile to my journey.
Call it 9.5 miles I reached the top and back down in a smidge over four hours but trucked it the whole way down and up and spent 15 at the top.

Sign the summit book and be ready to work. This hike is exactly what it says it is...3,000 foot elevation to the highest point in Texas. You earn the view by putting in the work.

A must for any seasoned in shape day hiker visiting GMNP.

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