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Guadalupe Peak Texas Highpoint Trail

HARD 865 reviews

Guadalupe Peak Texas Highpoint Trail is a 8.1 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Salt Flat, 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: 2,867 feet Route Type: Out & Back

backpacking

camping

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

forest

views

wildlife

rocky

scramble

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
rocky
3 days ago

Pretty straightforward hike. Consistently steep going up but there are steps and the trail is wide for most of the hike. There are a couple of areas along the trail that are a bit edgy but I’m afraid of heights and they didn’t bother me. The views at the top are incredible!!

hiking
7 days ago

Rewarding hike! Finished entire hike within 5-6 hours. Be prepared for the entire hike to be pretty steep and rocky but it does become more steep after you reach the campground.

hiking
rocky
11 days ago

The most beautiful views. Be careful after Campground at top as the trail gets rocky and isn't well marked.

hiking
rocky
11 days ago

hiking
11 days ago

Enjoyable little hike. Straightforward, steady uphill on a nicely marked trail. The beginning has several switchbacks. This is followed by a cruise through a pine forest, and finally a rocky portion. Takes ~5 hours to complete at a casual pace. The views are great. Did the hike on Nov 25th in 30ish degree weather which was comfortable with some layers. Zero ice, so no need for micro spikes or crampons.

hiking
12 days ago

12/02/19 Steep and rocky all the way up. The views are worth every laboring breath it takes to get to the top!

hiking
12 days ago

The hike was breathtaking, the first mile and a half was tiring but once you keep going it gets easier, once you get to the last mile it gets tough on your legs but once you make it to the peak you forget about everything...it’s definitely worth it. We went on Nov 17 2019. It’s was just perfect weather.

hiking
12 days ago

The first mile is punishing but gets easier from there.

hiking
13 days ago

To me this was a challenging hike at 307 lbs. This was a steady clip uphill, but very beautiful landscape as you traverse through the Pinyon forest. Bring lots of water and be prepared because the trail is very rocky. It's easy to slip without some good shoes. The trail is easily defined, except near the summit where there is some guesswork. Also, be mindful of the time spent hiking because sundown comes early; 6 pm. I'd pack a flashlight just in case. Wisdom dictates you should start early; perhaps 7 to 8 am. If you're a novice or beginner like me, the hike can take up to 7 to 8 hours.

hiking
rocky
13 days ago

We've been eyeing this trail for almost a year now. We skipped out earlier in the year due to high winds. Looks like that was our fate. I hiked up on Friday, November 29th with a ten-year-old and an eight-year-old. We were carrying a few small snacks and three quarts of water each. Besides an extra jacket and hat, that was our only weight. We left at 10:00 a.m., Mountain Time and reached the peak at 1:15 p.m. We spent 20 minutes at the top and reached the trail head at 4:00 on the dot. Not bad time considering the high winds (sustained around 25-30 mph) and gusts of 60+ mph. Great views at the top, a little cloudy. Winds picked up the whole day. We camped out at the Pine Spring campground. Made a good call hiking on Friday instead of Saturday. I would advise you to check with the guest station and the camp host before you hike it. Steep in some places, but definitely worth it.

hiking
14 days ago

Very Strenuous hike, even when in shape. Deciding to camp in the primitive area (3 miles in) made the trip 100% more enjoyable. I got to wake up to a beautiful sunset, over mountain ranges and with only 1 mile left to the top. I had beans and rice when I arrived, and conversed with the nice folks I met there. We are now Facebook friends :)

hiking
17 days ago

My husband, two daughters of ages six and nine, and myself completed this trail today, November 26, which is a Tuesday. We started at 9:00 am and ended at 1 PM. We took maybe a 10 minute break for lunch. The weather was clear of rain but crazy windy. The visitors center reported that there were surged at 70 mph, which I can believe. Nevertheless, it was never dangerous. It just felt every once in a while like someone was pushing you over – haha. So, the trail. It was absolutely gorgeous. You get the vistas/views from the moment that you begin the track. It is a up all the way and down all the way. You go up a fairly steep mountain for 1.5 miles. That took maybe an hour. Then you wrap around and go on I believe they called at the north side. The wind seems to always be pushing you into the mountain which was nice. Again, Godsmack views as you trekked up. There is never really any danger of falling but it gives you a little excitement with some cliff type edges. You cross the bridge at one point, which is a little perk. Right before you get to the tiptop there’s a cozy alpine area. I would take this as a chance to have your snack or lunch as it provides some shelter. The most exciting part of the hike was the very tip top at the steel pyramid which symbolizes that you have reach the peak. At that point, we did not spend much time up there, as it felt like we were being push - really exciting. We tucked into the crevices of the rocks and took our “adventure” videos. The view is 360 as u are at the top. You see the sunshine rays coming down on distance areas, the stratus clouds that seem touchable, and nearby mountains thin and thick (eye candy). So it took 2 1/2 hours to summit and an hour and a half to return down. We did go a pretty good pace as it was windy and and fairly cold. Obviously, you should take wind proof shells, gloves, warm layers if you were going on a windy fall day. Happy to say that we have stood on the highest point in Texas! By the way, we did McKittrick Canyon to the notch the day before, which was special as well. If you have to pick between the two though, I suppose I would do this one.

hiking
19 days ago

Great trail, very well groomed. Lots of switchbacks on this trail to get to the peak. Took me exactly 4 hours to roundtrip this hike. I’m in my late twenties, w/ a good fitness level. Took me 2 hrs to reach the summit, took a 20 minute break at the peak. Then 1hr & 40mins to get back to the start again going downhill.

hiking
19 days ago

Awesome hike and views. Trail is very challenging alone but add wind gusting to 50 mph and it was almost brutal. Pay attention to weather conditions and an avid hiker will really enjoy this trail.

Very challenging but even more rewarding. Bring lots of water and a camera. Don’t leave too late in fall/winter months so you have plenty of time before dusk.

hiking
25 days ago

We hiked this trail on Friday, November 15, 2019. We began at 7:50 am. Weather was clear, no wind and @ mid 40s at trail head. We had seen the postings of 6-8 hours round trip but weren’t sure how much time it would take us so we allowed the whole day. We are both over 50. I’m 6’ and 220 pounds. I was carrying @18 pounds including water. We haven’t hiked at all in 2 years and we live where the elevation is very low (100 ft) so altitude of any kind makes us breathless! I have to say that I don’t really work out much either. This hike was a tough one, probably one of the hardest we’ve done. We’ve hiked much further in a day at higher elevation but never experienced this much gain. We made the peak in 3 hours and 50 minutes. We stopped often to catch our breath! After a 45 minute break at the top to enjoy the view. We worked our way back down. My knees give me lots of issues so I broke out the sticks for the last two miles down. That slows me down a bit and I did stop several times to rest my knees. It took us right at 3 hours to be back in the parking lot. Hope this perspective is useful to others. Great hike! Well worth the time and effort!

hiking
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

Very strenuous hike with amazing views. Cried when I reached the top. The temps were only in the 60s, but drank an entire gallon of water. Going down was pretty rough, glad I had trekking poles. I would do again, but not any time soon!

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

hiking
rocky
scramble
washed out
1 month ago

great hike but extremely difficult,! only attempt if you are in great ahape

hiking
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

pretty easy hike for an avid hiker. excellent views.

hiking
1 month ago

Fun hike to the "top of Texas." I thought the time flew by on this hike, though the view at the top wasn't my favorite. Great weather.

hiking
1 month ago

What a hike! It took us 3:16 to summit. Weather was perfect-upper 40s-lower 50s-causing us to shed layers on the way up and layer back on the way down once we were out of the sun. Trail is in great condition. Packed about 3.5L of water but only drank about 2.5.

hiking
1 month ago

About 4.5 hours up and 2 hours down. The peak and a few faces are windy so wind-breakers are helpful, and it is nice to have a sweater just in case. Trekking poles would be useful for the descent if you have bad knees. Despite being in Texas, it was good hiking weather, though sunny and mostly exposed. We also ran into a number of people that had backpacked and camped the previous night, and seemed to have had a good time 2 L water was sufficient. The visitor center is open 8 - 4:30. The trail is not packed, but you will definitely run into other hikers if you are going solo. Great to rest at the top! Beautiful hike! There are a few other trails around that could be fun to explore as well!

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