Explore the most popular trails near Carlsbad with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking

views

no dogs

wild flowers

camping

Carlsbad, Texas Map
VIEW FULL MAP

Heavily graveled, easy to follow. Gravel difficult to walk in like sand is.
Scenery and Pratt Lodge Cabin Worth it.

hiking
10 days ago

Very easy worthwhile hike. Beautiful spring at the end - surrounded by October colors. Go counterclockwise - better for knees on way back.
Good warm up for the peak the next day.

hiking
15 days ago

Beautiful and not that difficult trail. I finished in 5 hours. The views are great! Lightly trafficked is an understatement, there was nobody on the trail.

1 month ago

Favorite hike in GMNP. Far less busy than Guadalupe Mountain and pretty good views. The forest near the peak is beautiful. Saw many golden eagles on a late afternoon hike. Hot in summer.

1 month ago

Challenging trail with solitude. Views pretty good. I prefer Hunter Peak and Guadalupe Mountain for a hike and views. Very hot in summer with little shade.

*This rating is the trail up to and back from the Notch.*

I originally planned only to go to the Grotto (which is pretty damn cool, btw), which is a pretty easy hike), and then figured I'd go on up to the Notch since I had a couple extra hours. That part of the hike (above the Grotto) is much more difficult, lots of elevation gain in a short distance, but SO worth it for the view of the south canyon, which is much more breathtaking than that of the north canyon.

hiking
1 month ago

Great little hike with my younger son. Labor Day weekend 2018

hiking
1 month ago

Nice easy trail with some cool sights

nature trips
1 month ago

This trail isn’t difficult just long so you definitely want to pack a lunch and lots of water. But if you go during spring or fall(my personal favorite) you will fall in love with the view of the changes in color! Very beautiful and so relaxing! I’ve done this trail at least 4 times!

backpacking
2 months ago

Started in the pretty Dog Canyon campground and went up to Mescalero campground for one night. Very challenging hike. But it’s easier than from pine springs as dog canyon base is 500 feet higher elevation than pine springs.

Make sure you go to the top of lost peak that you pass along the trail. Drop your pack and climb the last 100 feet for fantastic 360 views.

Mescalero campground had a beautiful site facing east that overlooked the canyon and could see Carlsbad city lights in the distance.

We went Labor Day weekend and were the only people at dog canyon campground on Friday night and the only people at the 8 site Mescalero backcountry campground on Saturday night. It was like we reserved the entire park for Labor Day weekend. We finally saw another pair of backpackers on our way down.

It rained both nights on us but after midnight on night one and 10pm on night 2. The lighting display of the storms near the park were spectacular. Clouds Covered the stars for all but about an hour. That hour we spent staring at the Milky Way.

This hike is hard, but doable if you take your time and stop and enjoy the views along the way. About 1/3 of the hike was in the trees/ shade. Temps were comfortable. Chilly at night up top. Tons of wildflowers. Part of the hike is through the remnants of forest fire from 2 years ago. Sad and beautiful at the same time. As for wildlife, we saw a jackrabbit, 3 horny toads, about 5 mule deer and a couple white tail deer.

hiking
2 months ago

This trail is beautiful and easily accessible for kids when only hikimg part of the trail.

Great hike and not very strenuous.

2 months ago

Another great trail if you don’t want to have people around, I logged this trail just over 16 miles round trip - 4 more then the description. Trail is all on rock or lose rock but the view is worth it if you go to the cliff’s edge on the back side.

2 months ago

I like this trail, the further you go the better the views. Around mile 6 is when it gets spectacular and just gets better all the way to mile 9. Didn’t see a single person for the entire 18 mile round trip :•)

hiking
3 months ago

Nice simple trail, not very scenic or adventurous for us, have our 6 and 8 year old that wanted more challenging trials. Again This trail is nice but nothing compared to the rest. Definitely would rate as EASY not Moderate.

backpacking
3 months ago

Backpacked from McKittrick Canyon Day Use Area to McKittrick Ridge Campground. You can park overnight in this day use only area with a backcountry permit, which you put on the dash of your car. The trip was approximately 7.6 miles and 2800 ft elevation gain. The first 3.5 miles to The Grotto are very moderate, but consist of hiking through a substantial amount of riverbed wash. The next 4 miles are much more strenuous, especially with a pack. 1 mile past The Grotto is The Notch, which offers some great views of the canyon and would be good for a day hike. Importantly, The Notch is not marked on the trail, so you will have to keep an eye out. It is distinguished from the trail as an outcropping of rocks on either side of the trail (going up from McKittrick Day use area, about a 10 ft tall pillar on your left and a canyon wall on your right). The views of the canyon become increasingly beautiful as you hike past The Notch. We did this in the dead of summer, and it was a pretty hot day. That being said, if backpacking during this time of year, I recommend taking about 5 liters per person per day, because both my hiking partner and I drank a little more than the 1 gallon recommended per day by the park. It makes for a heavy pack, but it was better to be safe during this time of year. We hiked up in 6.5 hours and down in 4, but were moving pretty fast on the way down. The campground is marked along the trail, so you can't miss it. There are at least 10 campgrounds. We were the only ones there overnight and were visited throughout the evening and night by a small group of very curious mule deer.

Ran/walked the trail to the grotto at high noon on a 100+ day. A pause at the Pratt cabin and the at the grotto was much needed, but the dip in the cool spring on the return trip truly saved us from combusting. The change in topography and views made this one of my favorite runs ever. Can’t wait to return to explore more of the park in cooler weather.

hiking
4 months ago

Decent enough, not too much to see except for the vastness of the landscape, but there is some water and waterfalls in some shaded areas at the halfway point, otherwise you are in the sun most of the time.

This trail is perfect for those who want a more leisurely hike. It starts off with wide open spaces and an incredible view where you can “see forever.” We prefer to take the trail up the foothills to the left since it’s less of a strenuous climb. All the way up you will wonder at the variety of desert trees and plants. We traversed through at least 13 creeks. The surprise awaits in the grove of trees that are nestled against the mountain. In it you’ll find a stunning spring with small waterfalls, pools and bridges. The source of the spring is right there under a large boulder. It is especially beautiful in the fall when the trees turn orange, yellow, red, pink and purple. It’s like an enchanted forest! It’s one of my favorite trails!

backpacking
4 months ago

It’s necessary to pack all of your water, which makes the initial ascent quite challenging. Nice trail once you’re on top of the mountain. In spring or fall, I’d recommend planning for a variety of temperatures due to the elevation differences. Climbing the mountain was boiling hot, however when camping at Tejas that night, our gallon water bottles froze solid.

This is my favorite place in Texas! Best hike with an actual oasis!

backpacking
5 months ago

Backpacking this trail is made much more difficult by the water requirements. This is a fairly steep trail, whichever side you start it from and there's also very little shade, regardless of which side you start from.

The best way to do this trail is to start early in the morning (during the warm season at least), so as to avoid the sun when doing your ascent up the mountains into the forest. If you start early enough, you can be through the incline before the sun comes up over the mountains.

I'd also recommend staying at Tejas. The sites there are not exposed to the strong winds that regularly hit GMNP.

My wife and I did the trail in three days, starting from Pine Springs. We went to Tejas the first day, then walked to Dog Canyon and back on the second day to get more water, finally we descended back to Pine Springs on the third day. This was a fairly difficult itinerary and I wouldn't recommend it to others, unless one really wanted a challenge.

hiking
7 months ago

Went up and back Tejas Trail. Not too hard I would say moderate on hiking level. Some some mule and a small lizard. Great hike. 4-14-18.

hiking
7 months 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.

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.

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

Great views with wild life deer and aoudad

hiking
9 months ago

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

hiking
10 months ago

Great long hike. The Tejas Trail is gorgeous and the switchbacks are exposed on the mountainside. Got slightly lost: when you take the Bush Trail, you want to veer towards the Pine-something campground, if you don’t, then you’ll end up somewhere back on the Tejas Trail. You do hike four little peaks before Bush, but the incline is not intense. Great long hike.

Just beautiful and so well maintained

Load More