Guadalupe Peak Trail - Texas Highpoint, TX • Hike
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Guadalupe Peak Trail - Texas Highpoint, TX

Guide 32 Triplogs  0 Topics
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 8.3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,845 feet
Elevation Gain 2,918 feet
Accumulated Gain 3,300 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4-6 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 24.8
 Interest Peak
 Backpack Yes
 Dogs not allowed
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Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
11  2021-04-10
Guadalupe Peak and Devils Hall
15  2020-11-06 rvcarter
19  2020-09-26 Stoic
21  2020-09-20 DixieFlyer
27  2018-10-12
Guadalupe Peak
5  2018-09-22 Booneman
10  2018-05-25 nobert15
11  2017-04-17 fricknaley
Page 1,  2
author avatar Guides 64
Routes 75
Photos 9,059
Trips 2,066 map ( 12,534 miles )
Age Male Gender
Location Arizona, AZ
Associated Areas
list map done
Big Bend Region
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Preferred Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep → 9 AM
Seasons   ALL
Sun  7:11am - 7:07pm
Official Route
1 Alternative

Climb to the top of Texas
by Jim_H

At 8749' Guadalupe Peak isn't particularly high, but compared to many hikes in Arizona it is a pretty good climb with almost 3000' of elevation gain. The mountain and range are the remnants of a giant reef and are composed entirely of porous limestone. Consequently, there is no surface water anywhere on the hike and you'll need to bring plenty, especially if you do it as an overnighter. Pets are not allowed on any of the wilderness trails in Guadalupe Mountain National Park.

The Guadalupe Peak trail is a well marked and established trail. It gets lots of maintenance attention and is in excellent shape. This makes sense since it is the states highpoint. However, given the population of Texas the peak gets few visitors. This is probably due to it's isolation. Another reason may be the difficulty of the trail. For an in-shape Arizona hiker it would be nothing more than an enjoyable day hike, but I think for a sedentary person from Houston it may be the "hike of a lifetime".

The trail is pretty steep and rocky. In places you are walking along cliffs, and it is pretty obvious that the trail was blasted or jackhammered out of the rock in these spots. Out of the total 3000' of elevation gained, almost 1200' is gained in the just over the first mile and a half of hiking before the trail levels out a bit. Once it levels out it gains a modest 1800' over the next 3 miles. There are only two other ares on the trail that have switchbacks. The next area is midway between the initial climb and the campground, and the last section is just before you reach the summit.

There is a junction with a couple of other trails after the first 1000' of hiking. One of the side trails is a horse route that rejoins the main trail further up the mountain. It is less steep than the section it avoids, but you will still have to climb up a significant portion of the first 1200' of elevation. It is designed for horses, so it might not do you much good to take it. The other trail you will meet up with is the spur to the back country campground. This is about 1 & 1/2 miles before the summit. The campground is primitive and free (permit required). There is no water, no toilets, and it is pack-in pack-out. Still, it is a nice place to spend the night. I enjoyed it when I did so in July of 2007. The best part about it was that you can set up your camp and then hike on to the summit to cook dinner and watch the sunset. You'll need a camp stove to cook in the park as there are no fires allowed.

The summit is marked with a large metal pyramid to note the Butterfield Stage Route that ran near the base of the mountain. The peak seems very high. But it isn't even 9000'. Mostly, the desert that is 4000' below makes you feel really high. The vegetation will tell a different story- its Pinyon and Juniper on the summit. The thing I love about this mountain is that it is SMALLER than every other western mountain I have been up. So it would seem that unlike waistlines and gas guzzling vehicles, NOT everything in Texas is bigger. Ha!!

Actually, all the Texans I have met on the trail are very friendly and happy to be up on their highpoint. Come to think of it though, in the 3 times I have climbed the Peak I have barely ever met any people on the trail. Odds are you won't see many people either. From my personal experiences of climbing in August 2003, October of 2005, and July of 2007, the numbers of people on the trail is more like Humphrey in winter than in summer. Unless things have changed, relax enjoy some time alone.

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2008-10-05 Jim_H
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WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

 Permit $$

Guadalupe Mountains National Park
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Paved - Car Okay

To hike
Take interstate 10 from Arizona east towards El Paso, TX. In El Paso take US 180 east to Guadalupe Mountain National Park. Turn into the Pine Springs Visitor Center and proceed to the parking area for the trailhead which is next to the campground.
page created by Jim_H on Oct 05 2008 10:59 am

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