Guadalupe Peak Texas Highpoint Trail

HARD 393 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
2,952 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.

25 minutes ago

Bring more water than you think, we ran out. Awesome views throughout the hike!

hiking
11 hours ago

HARD - I do a fair amount of hiking, but this trail was no joke. lots of elevation gain and a pretty relentless climb for the first mile or two. we started early around 6:50AM and were done in a little over 4 hours. bring lots of water, more than you think you’ll need and then some - the heat gets to you pretty quickly. I highly suggest starting early as it both provides some solitude on the trail and a break from the high temperatures that you will experience on the descent. the summit offered some great views and provided a nice place to relax for a bit before heading back down the mountain. I would definitely do this hike again and definitely recommend it if you’re training for any sort of thru-hike. have fun!!!!

1 day ago

Hiked this on May 7, 2018.
it was hot, starting the day at 85 F and climbing to 100 F when we came off the mountain. Even with threr applications of sunscreen, I was burnt.

The views are amazing. The first mile is hard, becoming easier as you go on. Lots and lots of steps though.

thank you to the people that upkeep this trail!

backpacking
2 days ago

Amazing hike, absolutely beautiful. Trail is very well maintained and easy to follow. Lots of cool geologic structures and fossils in the rooks if you're into that sort of thing. It is tough, felt like I hiked 4 miles straight up. There's not much flatness, zigzags all the way up. Well worth it when you get to the top.

2 days ago

this mountain is huge! I hiked it back in 1983 with a few Army buddies before they invented the internet. it's amazing that it is in Texas. who would have thought such a big mountain is in Texas. The main thing I remember is the top of the mountain was covered with ladybugs. I've seen that a few other times in the Southwest. I remember being impatient as there are some false Peaks and it took forever to get up there. Does anyone else still see ladybugs at the top?

hiking
5 days ago

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.

hiking
11 days ago

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!

hiking
17 days ago

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

hiking
1 month ago

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.

1 month ago

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.

hiking
1 month ago

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!

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!

hiking
1 month ago

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!

backpacking
1 month ago

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.

backpacking
1 month ago

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!

hiking
1 month ago

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.

1 month 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
2 months 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
2 months 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/

2 months 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!

hiking
2 months ago

Much harder than imagine.

2 months 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
2 months 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!

2 months 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
2 months ago

Trail is maintained well, 4 hours to summit.

hiking
2 months 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.

2 months 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.

3 months ago

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

camping
3 months 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.

3 months 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.

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