Hiking in the Guadalupe Mountains

Guadalupe Mountains National Park Travel Blog

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Drving Through Guadalupe Mt. NP

It is a short drive from Carlsbad Caverns NP to Guadalupe Mountains NP (I believe it was less than 1 hr).  We arrived at a campground late in the day, well after the sun had set.  I was a bit worried that all the sites would be taken, but to my surprise, there were plenty of open sites.  I set up my tent and went to bed shortly after, because I had big plans the next morning.  I woke up as the sun was rising in the morning, and flew up out of my tent, hoping to catch the sunrise.  Upon exiting my tent, I was awestruck by the site that lied in front of me.  The Guadalupe Mountain range was standing there smiling, right in front of my face.  It was magnificent!  I hurried my things together and after eating a light breakfast, I headed to the trailhead for Guadalupe Peak.

View from Guadalupe Mtn. Peak
 

It is approximately a 3000 ft ascent to get near Guadalupe peak.  The trail is fairly steep the entire way, but is is well worth it.  Eventualy the trail comes to a false summit, and then after a bit more vertical hiking, levels out shortly after.  Once at the top, you can see for many, many miles all around.  As you can see from the pictures, the clouds were climbing up the mountain range and collecting at the top.  I knew we couldn't stay up there for long.  It was just a matter of time before the storms would form.  We took a few pictures and then hurried down the trail to get to safety.  About three quarters of the way down, I felt the hair stand up on my arms and then it sounded like a bomb went off right behind us.

Hiking in McKittrick Canyon
  A lightning storm was chasing us down the mountain!!  We found a large rock an the side of the mountain, which covered about half of our bodies only, and hid there to wait out the storm.  The rock did not provide much protection from the rain, but at least I felt somewhat safe from the lightning.  We sat and watched (and got rained on) as the storm passed over our heads.  It seemd like it lasted forever, and the lightning was really violent.  I was a bit worried, because it is the first time I had ever been stuck on a mountain in a lighning storm.  Eventually the rain slowed down, and we headed down the mountain.  The rain actually was very refreshing, as temperatures in southern Texas in August are well into the 90's and even the 100's sometimes (F).
The Grotto in McKittrick Canyon
  We reached the bottom of the mountain and just stood in the rain and watched as another storm rolled over the mountain.  It was truly an unforgettable hike!!

The next day we decided to hike through McKittrick Canyon, which has been proclaimed by many as the most beautiful place in Texas.  I must admit, it is certainly very high on my list.  As you hike through the canyon, the mountains seem to grow taller and taller.  Eventually you are surrounded by magnificent, towering mountains on both sides.  Eventually you come to a cool, shady place called the Grotto, which is basically a small cave in the side of the mountain.  We sat and rested there, and tried to decide if we wanted to continue up the mountain trail, or head back to the car.  We were a bit short on time, so we hung our heads low and went back to the car.  I am always dissapointed when I cannot continue on, but it was still a maginificent hike.  

I highly recommend both Guadalupe Peak and McKittrick Canyon if you vist Guadalupe Mtn NP!!

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Drving Through Guadalupe Mt. NP
Drving Through Guadalupe Mt. NP
View from Guadalupe Mtn. Peak
View from Guadalupe Mtn. Peak
Hiking in McKittrick Canyon
Hiking in McKittrick Canyon
The Grotto in McKittrick Canyon
The Grotto in McKittrick Canyon
Driving through Guadalupe Mtn. NP
Driving through Guadalupe Mtn. NP
Driving through Guadalupe Mtn. NP
Driving through Guadalupe Mtn. NP
Drving Through Guadalupe Mt. NP
Drving Through Guadalupe Mt. NP
Driving through Guadalupe Mtn. NP
Driving through Guadalupe Mtn. NP
View from Guadalupe Mtn. Peak
View from Guadalupe Mtn. Peak
View from Guadalupe Mtn. Peak
View from Guadalupe Mtn. Peak
View from Guadalupe Mtn. Peak
View from Guadalupe Mtn. Peak
Hiking in McKittrick Canyon
Hiking in McKittrick Canyon
Hiking in in McKittrick Canyon
Hiking in in McKittrick Canyon
Hiking in in McKittrick Canyon
Hiking in in McKittrick Canyon
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
photo by: shadowflower