Guadalupe Peak Texas Highpoint Trail

HARD 171 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.

3 days ago

5 days ago

hiking
10 days ago

hiking
10 days ago

Great hike to the top of Texas! Views get better the whole way up. The hike is very strenuous for the first mile and a half or so and then gets more gradual. It's exposed for 90% of the hike so pack sunscreen.

hiking
11 days ago

Great little trail. We did this one in two days. There is a camp site area about 2/3 of the way up and off one flank of the mountain. A great place to hike.

hiking
15 days ago

hiking
15 days ago

Strenuous, but worth it! First mile and a half and the last half mile were the hardest. Bring the recommended amount of water and lots of snacks!

hiking
17 days ago

Stunning hike to the top of Texas! Hiked this trail with a couple of buddies in Sep 2014 and we still keep talking about it. Wished we had camped at the top. Strenuous day hike with amazing views. The peak itself and the view of the chihuahuan desert with the clouds beneath us was an amazing sight to see. Be sure to sign the register at the American Airlines pyramid at the summit!

hiking
18 days ago

fantastic trail!!!! Challenging, beautiful, relaxing and refreshing. Once you reach the peak you are greeted by a breathtaking view perfect for overnighting. Highly reccomend this one!!!

23 days ago

hiking
26 days ago

The first mile and a half was very difficult, both going up and coming down (very steep). The other two and a half miles were a mix of gradual and moderate inclines. From start to finish, it was just under seven hours round trip for me (which included several breaks, photo ops, and an enjoyable lunch at the top). Start fairly early, definitely before 10am. The weather varied greatly, so dress in layers. I experienced sunshine, drizzle, snow flurries, cold wind, cloudy conditions, and then sunshine at the summit. Next to the summit plaque, there was a log book inside an ammo box to record your experience. The first date in the book was from ten days earlier, so I don't know where the log books come from or where they go.
All in all, an excellent and attainable hike if you're willing to push through it. You will probably be exhausted and sore afterwards.
Bring plenty of water and food inside a backpack. You WILL get thirsty and you WILL get hungry. Wear rugged shoes since most of the trail is loose, jagged rock that will slide from underneath you.
It was my first high point and my most difficult hike so far. The view from the summit is extremely rewarding.

26 days ago

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26 days ago

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29 days ago

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30 days ago

I think the expected time frame to finish is for people who don't hike much, so if you're a hiker that's used to climbs, expect it to be a much shorter trip. It took me 2 hours to summit, and that was with 50 mph wind gusts. There were very few sections that were steep aside from the switchbacks at the very base, and the ones near the top. The hike takes you across both sides of a couple of ridges, so you get to see great views in all directions not only at the top, but along the way. Start early to avoid the crowds.

hiking
30 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiked it 3/16/17.. first 1000 ft. strenuous hard. made it up it 3 hrs. great hike.