Guadalupe Peak Texas Highpoint Trail

HARD 232 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
3038 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.

camping
1 day 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 days ago

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

hiking
4 days ago

hiking
5 days ago

hiking
5 days ago

Very rewarding, but exhausting from the start.

hiking
6 days ago

Wonderful challenge

hiking
7 days ago

hiking
8 days 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.

10 days 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.

hiking
10 days ago

hiking
10 days ago

13 days ago

it was amazing!!

16 days ago

Fun to say you've been to the highest point in Texas! My fiancé and I did this in 4 hrs 15 mins with a very quick (about 15 min) break for lunch. Like others say, the switchbacks for the first 1.5 or so are the hardest-- they are also tough on your knees on the way down. The scrambles at the end were very doable. Sunscreen is a must because of the exposure. I have a slight fear of heights/steep drop offs and didn't have any trouble with this hike. Definitely recommend, very clearly marked and lots of friendly passers by (including a park ranger).

21 days ago

loved this trail. start early!!

1 month ago

This trail was tough! The trail was very clear and the views were worth it.

1 month ago

1 month ago

A fun and challenging trail. Great views.

1 month ago

Did this one alone back in January. It was difficult but the views were absolutely worth it.

hiking
1 month ago

This is a great tough hike! Very rocky in spots with lots of steep steps. Be sure to bring your trekking poles for balance and to climb up and down the steep steps. There is no water available on this trail except at the trail head.. I took 3 liters with me and drank most of it. Views are magnificent from the first switchback and gets better and better as you climb. Be sure to bring a wide brimmed hat and lots of sun screen. There is almost no shade on the trail.