A Peak Experience at Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Photo credit: Leaflet, Wikimedia Commons

A new year is here, along with all of the resolutions that go along with it. If you’re like many people, you may have resolved to get in better shape and do more traveling. If so, read on, because I have a perfect way for you to accomplish both!

Last year, I took a wonderful road trip to Guadalupe Mountains National Park in Pine Springs, Texas, located about 110 miles east of El Paso.  My goal was to hike up Guadalupe Peak which, at 8,749 feet, is the highest point in all Texas! Let me tell you, if you’re looking for an incredible way to honor your New Year’s resolution, you’ve found it. I’m talking about a strenuous 8½ mile round-trip trek that will take you about 8 hours to accomplish.

The first mile and a half is the steepest part of the hike, but just when you think you might not be able to go on, the trail flattens out and you’ll discover a lovely, little evergreen forest. This is where I took my first break, catching my breath while breathing in nature’s pine-scented perfume, a fragrance I never tire of.

The trail up to the summit is rocky and can be narrow at times, which makes for slow going. But that’s O.K., because this way you won’t miss any of the wonders of the climb…and the wonders never cease! Besides the amazing vistas, you may also see black bear, mountain lions, coyote, rattlesnakes, and many other species of wildlife that call Guadalupe Mountains National Park home. I am happy to report I didn’t encounter any rattlesnakes along the way, and equally happy to have had the opportunity to see a pair of Golden Eagles circling overhead, along with many other incredible birds.

Once you reach the summit, you’ll be rewarded with amazing views of the Chihuahuan Desert, the surrounding mountains, and the stunning El Capitan, the eighth highest peak in Texas. Sign the guestbook in the ammo box, check out the stainless steel pyramid-shaped monument, take some pictures, and then take a moment to congratulate yourself; you made it to the top of the highest point in Texas!

Hiking Guadalupe Peak is not a walk in the park. But don’t let that stop you from visiting Guadalupe Mountains National Park, because the park has over 80 miles of trails for all skill levels. And no matter which trail you choose, it’ll be great start to a year of wonderful travels!

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