Permian Reef Trail is a 9.2 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Salt Flat, Texas that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from October until May.

9.2 miles
2,391 feet
Out & Back



nature trips




wild flowers



no dogs

The Permian Reef Trail is located at the Guadalupe Mountains National Park in the McKittrick Canyon. To get there, from the entrance to the Guadalupe Mountain National Park, drive on the US62 NE for about 7 miles and you will find the McKittrick Road. Take this road and in about 3 miles you will arrive to the visitor center, the trailhead (31.97782, -104.75233) is there just crossing this center. Walk to your right heading north; just in front, you will see the Reef. The trail is rocky and steep but in good conditions, and not very difficult to walk. In about 2 miles the trail continues in the back side of the mountain for about a mile and a half until you arrive to the top. From here you start walking on a nice and almost flat trail in the pine tree forest. The trail continues by the edge of the reef but also touches the forest. Stop here and admire the beautiful view of the mountains and the valley, you are at the height of more than 2000 Ft from where you started to walk. Continue walking on the trail until you arrive to a fence where the state of Texas ends and the State of New Mexico begins, this point is the end of the trail, do not forget to sign on the notebook that is inside of a metal box. Then, return by the same route and enjoy from the top the beautiful views of the forest, the Guadalupe Mountains and the McKittrick Canyon. Walking down is easier than walking up but you also need to walk with care, there are many loose rocks. If you are lucky, you will see some herds of deer on the way up and in the forest area. You walk on this trail for a little more than 9 miles, so please carry plenty of water and wear a good pair of hiking boots.

1 month ago

Hiked this trail at the end of September. Beautiful views, deer, and interesting plants. Most importantly, a walk through a paleobathymetry which was incredible! Great place for geologists to visit. Was a fairly strenuous hike up and careful coming down with lots of loose rocks. Need lots of water! It was very warm coming down with little breeze.

3 months ago

Beautiful trail.... took about total 5 hours with stopping for pics and a couple snack & water breaks. The incline is gradual. Nice trail would definitely do it again and camp at the Wilderness Backcountry campsites

7 months ago

Excellent trail. Did this one in late March. Quite windy at times especially on the exposed cliffs. Pack for all weather conditions. We got to the top at camped at Wilderness Ridge where it hailed on us quite a bit. Chilly, upper 20's at night.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Although it was May when I walked this trail, the day was not too hot, and the wind refreshed me a lot. At this time of the year the dessert plants begin to bloom, and this made my trip more interesting. It was not easy to walk on this steep and rocky trail, but once at the top, the trail in the forest and the beautiful views helped me to forget those obstacles. A herd of 6 deer in the forest along with the beautiful dessert flowers was also part of the fascinating landscape. This was a long and somewhat difficult trail but also was a very nice experience.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Very nice trail, rocky and difficult in some sections, but with beautiful views of the mountains and the McKittrick canyon. Once we were at the top, walked on the pine tree forest trail and stopped near the reef on the rocks contemplating the magnificent landscape, we said that it was worth the effort.

8 months ago

Sunday, October 08, 2017