McKittrick Canyon Trail

MODERATE 61 reviews

McKittrick Canyon Trail is a 20.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Carlsbad, 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.

20.2 miles
4366 feet
Out & Back





wild flowers


no dogs

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

16 days ago

Kristen and I were first on the trail after gates opened at 8 am. Lots of scat. When you get to canyon the trees are amazing. Some water although looks like this may have been more in the past. Loved the Pratt cabin and the hunter cabin. Magic place.

26 days ago

Loved this hike. Beautiful scenery and the Grotto is a nice rest area. Be aware, after the Grotto, the hike gets tougher-not hazardous, just tough. Most of the elevation gain starts then. If you're planning on camping at the site at the top, you'll need to take water, which makes the hike a bit tougher. We went in late October. After the Notch, only saw 2 people.

1 month ago

Great trail no services, restrooms at trailhead but very good moderate hiking trail

2 months ago

Essentially flat walking along a river bed. Wind was howling through the canyon. scenery is spectacular.

Just beautiful and so well maintained

5 months ago

Gorgeous red maples in the fall. First part of trail is really easy. Getting to the grotto a little more work but doable. Nice picnic spot.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Nice hike, beautiful views of Guadalupe National Park. Minimal elevation change and well marked trail.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

great vista and foliage. .. the deer just walked up and crossed within a few feet of us

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Beautiful trail. The madrone trees are fantastic!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Hiked up to the Notch yesterday, last mile up was brutal!! We were hurrying on our way down to get back before 4:30 closing. It was too much! I hiked with 2 teenage boys and they were beat too! I'd just hike to the grotto if I did it again. Leaves were beautiful! Took us 4.5 hrs total with no significant breaks.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

My husband and I have been to McKittrick Canyon many times from visitor to Pratt Lodge in October, yet we were always too early for the fall foliage! This year I got to hike to the Grotto and see all the foliage! Beautiful!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Hiked from the visitor center to the Grotto and back in November. Easy hike with beautiful views of fall foliage. Take a picnic lunch to enjoy at the stone tables adjacent to the Grotto. Oh, and be sure to take your camera.

Monday, November 14, 2016

I have been twice in the last month and was wondering has anyone done an overnight???

Monday, November 07, 2016

beautiful for all ages very easy

Thursday, August 25, 2016

This hike must be done at the right time to get the best experience. Generally before Dec you check their website/FB page for an update on the color change..when the leaves turn. The first 1/4 of the hike is pretty uneventful, normal southwest terrain & scenery. The trail follows a riverbed until eventually crossing it. The canyon on your left is pretty cool, as are the layers of rock that have eroded in the riverbed. Once across it's just gravel trail for awhile with a few spots to sit. Again, the mountains looming on both sides are pretty neat. Eventually you start heading into the deeper part of the canyon where the whole topography changes. You start seeing the colors. You'll cross over the river bed (this time w/ water) back to the left bank. The scenery is gorgeous & the trail is surrounded by trees. Once again, you cross back to the right side of the bed & that's where the views are best. So much gold, orange & reds. The ranger station is off to the right. We continued on & were just amazed at the scenery. There are many trees like ash that are nowhere else in the region. We stayed to the right at the grotto/lodge junction, where the trail starts climbing the right side of the canyon. Looking down from up high, the whole canyon spread out, it's breathtaking. The trail gets steeper & winds up to the top of the canyon where you can go on to campsites. We were short on time so headed back. On the return we went to the old lodge & grotto. Both great places to rest & eat as there are picnic tables. Definitely recommend heading out early to make the most of the whole day. I will be returning to try & make it to the very top next time.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Monday, November 02, 2015

Easy going trail, and very beautiful scenery. I recommend checking out the grotto, and the hunting lodge as well

Monday, June 01, 2015

My wife, Matty-poo and 3 kids (10, 5 and 2) only made it as far as Pratt lodge. It's pretty cool that it's fully furnished. The views from the canyon floor up to the peaks was awesome! My kids loved the stream we had to cross but the heat of the day was exhausting for the kids. We all loved it though.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Nice relaxing hike. We started with McKittrick in the morning then hit Devil's Hall in the afternoon. There was quite a bit of snow on the ground left over from the storm the week before which made the canyon extra pretty. The highlight was seeing a herd of Javalina drinking at the creek crossing. They snorted a bit at us then went about their business.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

I only went to the cabin. It took 3 hours round trip but there was quite a bit of snow. The other times I've been on this trail you see multiple other people but this time I didn't see a single other person. Absolutely breathtaking.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Well maintained trails. Recent flooding has left some of the nature views a bit bare but great trip. Hiked up to "the notch". Beautiful.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Great hike, did it in fall, the colors were amazing, one of the best hikes in west Texas. the trail is very well maintained, it is a fairly easy hike. I highly recommend it. it is a nice family outing.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Did this trail 2 years ago, it's a very nice trail. Fairly easy but offers many neat features including wildlife, and cabin and pretty neat rock formations. I hiked this in the winter-time and I now see how Autumn may be a nicer time to visit.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Did this trail in September, 1990. It's an easy walk up the canyon. The trail splits at Pratt Cabin. Strange how the creek had water at times, then was dry.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Opened up our trip in Guadalupe Mtn. National Park by hiking in McKittrick Canyon. It rained lightly throughout our hike, but the sun peeked through as well. The Texas madrone trees were fantastic, in bloom. Other trees were also turning color. I would go late October to mid November to see the changing of the seasons. Groovy hike and not much elevation gain. It was a good hike to get acclimated to the climate and ready to bag Guadalupe Peak the following day. I would recommend taking this hike as part of my overall experience in the Park. Prepared us for adventure hike the next day.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Great easy hike. Don't wait to go too late in the Fall. Suggest mid to late October.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Go in the late fall - the colors are amazing!

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