McKittrick Canyon Trail is a 20.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Salt Flat, Texas that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and camping and is accessible year-round.

Length20.2 miElevation gain4,366 ftRoute typeOut & back
CampingHikingWalkingViewsWildflowersWildlifeFeeNo dogs
Description
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Contact
Getting There

There is an entrance fee of $10/person. There is also a park-specific annual pass available for $35

Texas Tourism Division, P.O. Box 12728 , Austin, TX, 78711-2728, Phone: 800-452-9292

Directions from Whites City, NM: Travel south along Highway 62/180

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Reviews (109)
Photos (622)
Activities (48)
Completed (334)
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Jason Glore
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMarch 24, 2021
Nature tripsGreat!Rocky

Nice scenic trail. Relativy flat for a long stretch before it goes up a steep incline. Nice water features and don't miss the grotto. Some hikers were wandering off trail and required help.

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Dash Williams
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMarch 13, 2021
Hiking

Beautiful but man was it tough. Battery played out before the end. 70mph wind gusts and crazy low temps camping McKitrick Ridge

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Val.lo2011 L
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 6, 2021
HikingGreat!No shade

Followed the trail to “The Notch” and it’s 2 hours uphill hugging a wall. Magnificent views as you ascend! You feel on top of the world

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Ivan Nieto
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HikingIcy
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Brian *Ensō* Harvey
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HikingGreat!
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Tom Meyer
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Hiking

Not much there too see.

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Brenda Payan
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Nature tripsGreat!

Fall colors are a bit still in tact. Pretty easy hike, not too steep. Mountain View’s are amazing.

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Kenny Yu
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 21, 2020
Hiking

Stunning views of the Guadalupe mountains as you meander back and forth along the gorge and dip in and out of the shadows. Terrific hike. Highly recommend. Footing was ok, and not much elevation to speak of. Plenty of distance if you want it though. I turned around at the notch.

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Memo Arango
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 14, 2020
Hiking

Great hike. We made it to the Grotto and back. That took us about 4 hours. Relatively little elevation change there and back. We wanted to make it to The Notch, which would have added another hour both ways, but not enough time as the park gate closes at 4:30. The Notch is at the top of the canyon ridge and we heard from other hikers that the views are amazing. Going to the Grotto and back was also beautiful though. Fall colors were in full effect. The first fourth of the trail is desert scrub but as you enter the canyon is changes to deciduous, oak, and cedar forest. There are 2-3 stream crosses and the water is clear and fresh. Trail is mostly gravel initially, changing to dirt and rock further in. View from Pratt cabin is also amazing. Memorable day, would recommend.

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luis cano
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Hiking
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Allen M
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Nature tripsFeeGreat!Rocky

Amazing Mountain View from Pratt Cabin.

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Jean-Claude Linossi
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 24, 2020
HikingFeeGreat!

This is a beautiful and well maintained trail, it is wide and not steep at all until the Pratt cabin. Great view of the canyon with great fall colors and lots of conifers. Enjoyed the water in the streams. There was an abundance of birds.

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Roxxi Li
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 17, 2020
Nature tripsGreat!

There is a clean restroom at McKittrick visitor center, a water fountain as well as a tap from the ground toward the beginning of the trail. We accidentally started off trail, in the right lower portion which was along a small creek and had to shuffle over smooth white rocks for about 2 miles, before we merged with the actual upper gravel trail to the left when we came upon the widest part of the stream. However, this part was very scenic and beautiful. We saw the cabin, then stepped down to the main trail to continue up the grotto. This was the part we saw the most trees that have changed color. The grotto was a cool cave with picnic tables nearby. We saw a deer. Aparently there is a smaller cabin behind the grotto as well. On the way back we remained on the gravel walking trail on the right.

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John Furton
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 11, 2020
HikingGreat!

This is probably the best hike in the entire park. We only went to Pratt cabin which is about 2.5 miles in, no significant elevation YET! Mid October and the sun was burning. But the shock is that even though the trail starts in a desert, gradually you walk into an awesome mix of conifers, evergreens and cacti. When I read about color change of foliage compared to the North-East, I did not believe it. But it's possibly even more beautiful because of the desert plans mixed in. We say a huge tarantula and even found some water in the riverbed. The stone cabin itself is a marvel. Mr. Pratt had an awesome taste!

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Tim Gray
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Hiking
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Vincent Michaels
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Hiking

Absolutely beautiful hike! This is one of the most gorgeous places in all of Texas. We had the chance to hike the canyon in October, and the foliage was eye-popping. Everyone thinks Northeast when it comes to fall colors, but I’d Mckittrick up against anything. Awesome trail.

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Katie Wilson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 13, 2020
Hiking

Loved this hike! This is a fantastic hike for the whole family. A great "go half as far as you want and turn around" kind of trail. The first 3.5 miles are basically flat with just a few gradual slopes, gravely, very well maintained trail, winding along the canyon and crossing a small stream here and there. Eventually you get to the pines and after the grotto, the trail will go up the ridge. Having hiked Guadalupe Peak the day before I didn't think my knees would handle another climb so I turned around at the grotto. Would love to go back home more. Saw lots of wildlife, including a fox! Highly recommend this trail! Note: they do lock the gate at 6pm so be sure you know what time zone you are in and get back to your car on time!

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Hannah Hagan
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Hiking

Probably my favorite hike I’ve ever done!

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Scott Jensen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 8, 2020
Hiking

Biked 12 miles from Pine Springs Visitor Center (separate recording) to McKittrick Canyon trailhead. Hiked back to Visitor Center where car was parked. Hike ended up being 2 miles longer than I thought it would. I was actually planning on hiking Guadalupe Peak this same day, but this hike ended up taking til dark at 6:30ish. Plus, I was pretty tired. Beautiful hike with spectacular vistas. Saw lots of deer. Saw cougar tracks. Saw grotto, Pratt cabin, and hunter's cabin. Was very windy along the ridge. Was exposed to the high winds maybe 25% of the time. There's several backcountry campsites along this route. If I was ever to camp there, I wouldn't camp at the McKittrick Ridge campground if there was wind in the forecast. It didn't provide any shelter from the wind. I didn't really check out the other campsites. There was a couple inches of snow in the shady sides of the mountain, but no snow boots were needed. If you go there again, maybe do the Permian Reef Trail to see the fossilized reef.

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Matthew Coble
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HikingRocky

Did a family hike to Pratt Cabin the weekend after thanksgiving. Very scenic and relaxing.

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Gretchen Haufler
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 26, 2019
Hiking

My husband, daughters of ages six and nine and myself completed this hike on Monday, November 25th, in sunny, but windy weather. We began at around 1015, and we’re back at 3 pm. We only went to the notch with detours to Pratt cabin, the Grotto, and Hunter Cabin. From the beginning to Pratt, and basically to the Grotto, is flat. This was an excellent opportunity for a trail run, which I did with my nine year old, at the end of the out and back starting at Pratt cabin. There was only one stream crossing which was easy to do. The walls of the canyon are beautiful as you travel inside. After the grotto, you ascend to the notch which gives you a view from where you came from and what’s on the other side. Really neat! You can see a river trickling through the mountains looking out to the other side. This is a great way to start Guadalupe Mountains National Park! I would follow up the next day with Guadalupe Peak. Have fun! I also enjoyed the short film at the trail head narrated by Pratt with scenes of the canyon.

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Lauren Spiegel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 22, 2019
Hiking

Beautiful trail - fairly easy hiking until you start the elevation gain to the ridge. Switchbacks make it more moderate than hard. The notch is spectacular - went past it a ways and were rewarded with incredible views. Took about 4.5 hours with breaks to eat and drink water (and detour to see the grotto). Highly recommend!

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STEPHANIE FENTER
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 27, 2019
HikingRocky

Hiked to the grotto. 3 hours and 7.55 miles round trip. Nice flat hike, but the smaller rocks will give your legs a nice workout.

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Christopher Reed
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HikingGreat!
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Marny Danz
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 2, 2019
Hiking

Beautiful scenery the whole hike. Not a lot of incline. The only negative was that you hike on small rocks almost the whole time which made walking difficult. The grotto was a great destination and lunch spot.

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