Guadalupe Peak Texas Highpoint Trail

HARD 265 reviews

Guadalupe Peak Texas Highpoint Trail is a 8.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Carlsbad, 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
8.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2857 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.

hiking
7 days ago

This is a strenuous and rewarding hike. The views are amazing especially once you reach the summit. You are rewarded all along the way with beauty. Bring plenty of water and you might want a snack as well because this hike will take you at least 6 hours to complete. Bring a camera too :)

17 days ago

Awesome hike. The views can't be appreciated from pictures. I wore running shoes and by the end my feet were pretty sure from the rocks. would recommend some type of boot.

hiking
18 days ago

A good strenuous hike, but beautiful and i felt accomplished. My legs were done at the end, but werent too bad the next morning. Glad i did this!

hiking
21 days ago

Great trail and hike with shade. Starts out deserty and then gets more piney as you go on. Was awesome climbing to the highest peak in Texas.

25 days ago

Hiked up with my sister in law on 11/19. We did Carlsbad Caverns in the morning and started up the trail at about 1230. The wind higher up was incredible. On top it must have been over 50 mph and it was cold. We could barely stand for a few photos. The sun set about half way down - thank God for good headlamps. Finally staggered into the parking lot at about 6.

hiking
26 days ago

Allow yourself 4-5 hours up and 2 back down. The last 1200 yards are the most difficult but are absolutely worth the view. Breathtaking views all the way up. Will definitely be back.

hiking
1 month ago

Difficult but doable! I went Nov 12th, the high was like 55 degrees so very pleasant weather. We started at 10am and finished at 4pm. The beginning is very steep so don’t be discouraged if you stop a lot to catch your breath. Definitely recommend proper shoes and enough water. I took a hydration pack with 1.5 liters and I ran out of water going down.

1 month ago

Strenuous hike but very worth the views! Loved being at the highest point in Texas.

Loved everything about this challenging hike! Start early and take plenty of water!! Lots of resting spots that are out of your fellow hikers way and the camping spot (closer to the top) is nice for overnight hikers. Amazing views that are definitely worth it. Trekking poles are not a must however I wouldn’t do it again without them.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful day and great weather. Scenery is great! Well maintained trail. Took about six hours round-trip including a half hour at the top and several stops along the way.

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing hike and final view

hiking
1 month ago

Nice Saturday hike!!

1 month ago

Start early, the heat was the hardest part of the climb!

hiking
1 month ago

I hiked this in Oct 2010. A good & rugged one. An early start is recommended to avoid the heat of the day. A walking stick will help ease the ache of the knees upon the return back down. Very nice views from the top.

camping
2 months ago

We started our hike at around 5 pm. Arrived at camping ground on top of mountain at around 7pm. Spent the night there and around 8:30 am we started the hike to the peak. It took us 45 minutes to reach the peak. Finally from the peak to our car we descended in around two hours.

First mile and a half were the steepest and hardest, specially carrying our overnight camp gear. From there on it levels a little. Pace yourself the first mile and a half.

We took around 1.5 litters of water per person and had some left when we finished.

Since the trail starts on the east side of the mountain you can start the climb in mid afternoon and have shade.

2 months ago

Difficult, but worth it. Amazing views! Start early and avoid windy Spring days. October is ideal weather.

hiking
2 months ago

Very rewarding, but exhausting from the start.

hiking
2 months ago

Wonderful challenge

hiking
2 months ago

Amazing day! It’s been said before the first 1.5 miles are the hardest but the view from the top is worth all the work! Sunscreen and water are a must! Completed the trip in just over 5 hours with about 45 minutes at the peak.

2 months ago

In the clouds for the hike up. Clear sky on the hike down. I completed the hike in 4 hours and 50 minutes. The day was complete with hiking the trails near the primitive campground. What an awesome day.

Load More