Guadalupe Peak Texas Highpoint Trail

HARD 288 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
5 days 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
7 days 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.

9 days ago

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

trail running
10 days ago

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

12 days 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.

hiking
18 days 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!

21 days ago

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

hiking
22 days 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
28 days ago

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

1 month 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
1 month 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 :)

1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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.

1 month 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
1 month 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
2 months 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.

2 months ago

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

2 months ago

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
2 months 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.

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