Guadalupe Peak Texas Highpoint Trail

HARD 334 reviews

Guadalupe Peak Texas Highpoint Trail is a 7.5 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
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.

hiking
11 days 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
12 days 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.

15 days 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.

16 days 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
21 days 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
1 month 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!

1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month ago

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

hiking
2 months ago

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

hiking
2 months ago

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

backpacking
2 months ago

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

2 months ago

Great trail with nice view

hiking
2 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.

hiking
2 months ago

Definitely a hard hike, not for kids under 13, make sure you bring plenty of water and food. About 2.5 hours to the peak, and one hour fifty min out. We hustled and were tired. Well worth it though! There is a couple windy areas at this time, gusts up to 35, but press on.

hiking
3 months ago

Great Hike, starts out hard, levels out, and finishes hard. GREAT hike for the state of Texas. I've done this one twice, once in the summer and once in the winter. Both were great

hiking
3 months ago

Fun hike, our group got to the peak for sunrise. Pretty unrelenting elevation changes, but that is to be expected with a gain of 2857 feet. Well maintained trail with some exposed sections. I did not feel unsafe, however I would be wary of bringing children up there. We also lucked out with the weather, as when we went there were no icy patches.

3 months ago

well maintaned campsite and trail. excellent views with a pretty tough trail and amazing view at the end. would do again

trail running
3 months ago

Ran (mostly fast walked actually - very rocky) 1:20 up and 1:00 down. Great views, lots of interesting terrain & several ecosystems.

3 months ago

While the hike itself was strenuous at the end, it was not as difficult as others have reported. I had a fabulous weather day. 6 hours round trip.

3 months ago

12/30/2017!!! Great way to finish the year. A super fun challenge with amazing views!!

hiking
3 months ago

Monica’s review is spot on. It’s an incline the whole way but absolutely worth it. Bring plenty of water, snacks and layers. The weather was 65 at the base when we started at 8:20 am. When we reached the peak it was much much colder and the wind was around 40+ mph. Definitely worth the work. Stay safe and enjoy!

hiking
3 months ago

12/27/17 My first HARD trail. It was a challenge for me. There was very little wind, day started out foggy with frost on everything at base. It was like doing stairs 4 miles up and down while walking on rocks. Closer to the summit path is more narrow and parts you are just climbing the side of the mountain. It is a doable trail, just move at your own pace and watch your footing. You will feel a huge accomplishment after this trail. Other hikers said this was one of the harder trails they ever did. Views well worth it!!!

3 months ago

Great hike. Well marked and very scenic. The December winds were intense, but we made it through.

hiking
3 months ago

Started hike around 1015am. Slightly less than 2 hours up, about 1:35 down (Would rate this more of a moderate hike than strenuous). A bit slick in some areas closer to the peak that don't receive much sunshine, but other than that, smooth travels on the trail. Very windy at points during the hike, and especially at the peak. Strong enough to push you around if you don't have your footing!

hiking
3 months ago

Great hike. View and terrain varies quite allot which is great.

4 months ago

Took my family (wife and two kids, ages 9 and 14) on this hike. The first 1.5 miles were tough but certainly bearable. The weather in mid December was great until that 1.5 mile spot. At that point, you make a sharp turn and the wind hit like a hurricane. It was hard enough to knock my 9 year old over. The rest of the way up there was intermittent heavy, heavy winds and occasional snow and ice on the trail.

The hike is probably a little too difficult for a 9 year old. He made it to within about 200 feet of the summit, but just couldn’t go any more. My wife stayed behind with him while my older son and I hiked the last 20 minutes or so to the top. Incredibly rewarding to get there, with spectacular views, but it took everything we had to get there.

The hike down was far more treacherous than we anticipated. With more shade and falling temperatures, the snow and ice had become much more slippery. We all fell more than once on the way down. We were fortunate to make it down without anybody getting injured. We were prepared for the cold, but I don’t know what we could have done about the snow and ice. Even with hiking boots, we had to go very slow to stay on our feet in some places. Because of the slower pace, we made it down just as it got dark. All in all, this was an incredibly rewarding experience. If we had to do it over again, we would probably do it in the spring or earlier in the fall to avoid that bitterly cold wind.

hiking
4 months 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 :)

4 months 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
4 months ago

Strenuous but very worth it. Not well maintained at the time I hiked it but it’s rewarding.

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