Guadalupe Peak Texas Highpoint Trail

HARD 202 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.

hiking
18 minutes ago

Our family of four (ages 12 to 43) did this hike on a clear July day with some storms in the area and no wind. The first 1.5 miles is very steep, hotter than blazes, and not much fun (except for watching our tent quickly shrink to a tiny point of red far below us). After cresting the first ridgeline, there are breaks in the steep switchbacks and some trees to use as shade. The view from the top is outstanding. There is nothing in Texas to compete with it on sheer scale of view. The trail is rough with lots of loose rocks under foot. We carried lunch and 4 gallons of water. We spent almost an hour on top because of the perfect conditions. Less than 10 people made it to the top on the day we went, so there was no concern about overcrowding. You can make this hike even if moderately out of shape, but only if you come prepared for the conditions and start early. The people we saw that turned back had too little water, poor shoes, joint issues, or small children.

hiking
1 day ago

A great hike especially if you add in Devils Hall. A full day of great hiking. The view from the top is breathtaking and the history behind it is awesome as well.

hiking
13 days ago

Fun hike with great views. 2 hours up and 1 1/2 down.

hiking
15 days ago

hiking
15 days ago

hiking
16 days ago

16 days ago

4 hours up and 2.5 down on 20 June 15. There were ladybugs, at the top that were eating us up. We had a blast.

hiking
21 days ago

This is a challenging hike with great views from the top. We did this hike yesterday and took 2 hours and fifty minutes hiking up and 2 hours and 25 minutes coming down. We started at 7:45am with cloudy 65 degree weather. When we returned to the parking lot at 1:00pm, it was sunny and 90 degrees. Be sure to start early in the summer! There is not a flat spot on the trail. It is entirely lose and jagged rock. Be sure to bring bandages for your feet because the descent over the rocks will tear your feet up.

hiking
22 days ago

The ranger at the park said allow 6-8 hours for this hike, but my dad (age = 60) and I did the hike in 3 hours and 48 minutes. We walk/jogged the way down. The hike has numerous switchbacks and not much cover. Very rewarding 360-degree views at the summit.

24 days ago

hiking
28 days ago

This is a mean trail that will tease you all the way until the end! You will be tricked by the countless switchbacks and multiple false summits. It's a very strenuous hike and you'll legs will be hating you by the end, but it's worth it. Make sure you bring at least a gallon of water per person. I am not a fit person, but am healthy and completed the hike in seven hours. The hardest part is the first and last mile. Incredibly hike that's worth the exhaustion. Lastly, start early, bring extra water, and wear sunscreen and hiking shoes!

1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Best trail ever!

1 month ago

We were here in March. Started about 7am and had almost no traffic on the way up. 38 degrees and super windy on the summit. We actually felt the decent back was the tougher part of the hike. Be sure your toenails are clipped for this one. Highly recommended hike. One of our favorites.

1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

I did the trek by myself. Stayed Friday night at the campsite. The sunrise Sat morning was spectacular. The clouds were in the valley below. The trek to the summit was about an hour. I stayed at the campsite again Saturday night. It was around 40 degrees at night so I needed my warmer sleeping bag. The trail was strenuous but if you are in shape there is no problem making the trip in a day.

hiking
1 month ago

Terrific trail. Strenuous for sure but smooth with lots of switchbacks. First third of the hike a lot of elevation. Trail meanders around mountains and valleys providing stunning views. No water on trail, so take what you need. No trees for hanging a hammock at the campground but there are some up at the backcountry site. Really fun. Campsite area is nice too.

hiking
1 month ago

We attempted this on an unseasonably warm November weekend a year or 2 ago. It will test you. If you are in shape you will do well as long as you bring layers! Can't say that enough. We got about a mile from the peak before giving up partly from 40+ mph winds and wind chills (didn't bring our beanies or better jackets up) The other thing that got us was the time change. We were using our phones and they were still reading Dallas time so we thought we needed to haul ass down thinking sunset was coming sooner than we thought.
All and all it was amazing and should be on every Texans to do list. It is our Everest for now and will definitely be back to conquer it!

1 month ago