Guadalupe Peak Texas Highpoint Trail

HARD
#1 of 15 trails in Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Guadalupe Peak Texas Highpoint Trail is a 8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Salt Flat, TX that features a great forest setting and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and backpacking and is accessible year-round.

8.0 miles 2854 feet Out & Back
backpacking camping hiking forest views rocky no dogs
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The hike up Guadalupe Peak is a rewarding, although very strenuous 8 mile round trip hike with a 3,000 foot elevation gain. It will take from 6 to 8 hours to complete the round trip hike. The hike provides fantastic views from the highest point in the state of Texas (8,749). It also introduces hikers to several of the parks ecosystems including the high desert and the high elevation forests. The trail starts at the RV section of the Pine Springs Campground (1/2 mile from the Pine Springs Visitor Center check in at the visitor center, then turn right out of the visitor center parking lot). Follow the signs for Guadalupe Peak Trail. Follow the hiker trail; the horse trail will add about 1 extra mile to the trip (although it is less steep). You will encounter the steepest part of the hike in the first mile and a half, as the trail switchbacks up the first steep slope. Be sure not to cut across the switchbacks, as this causes accelerated erosion. The views will get better with every switchback you climb. After about a mile and a half, the trail will become less steep as it passes a cliff and then turns around to the north-facing slope. Here, hikers will discover a small forest of pinion pine, south-western white pine, and Douglas fir. The forest exists here since on a north-facing slope there is not as much sunlight. The slightly cooler, shadier climate allows these pines to survive. After nearly three miles the trail will top out at a false summit. It is still a little more than a mile to the actual summit. The trail will flatten out for a short distance as it passes through a sparse forest of ponderosa pine. The backcountry campsite for overnight backpackers is on this summit. After passing the backcountry campsite, the trail descends slightly and crosses a wooden bridge. After the bridge, the trail begins the final climb to the summit. After only a few switchbacks, the top of El Capitan will dominate the view to the south. Eventually you will pass the horse hitching posts and arrive at the summit, where on a clear day you will be rewarded with a tremendous view of the surrounding mountains and desert.

Jake Acton
14 days ago

62 Completed18 Reviews

Nothing beats baggin a summit in a national park.

Jenny Doyle
18 days ago

3 Completed3 Reviews

Ken Odom
28 days ago

5 Completed4 Reviews

steep and long, cloudy day but view should be awesome on a clear day.

Jorge Carrillo
1 month ago

30 Completed19 Reviews

This is one of the first interesting trails I completed. Was on October, 2012 when we enjoyed this trail, the view, the forest of pines that you do not expect exist. Very exciting all the trail, but when I was at the top of the mountain, at the mark point, It was an indescribable sensation. The view from the summit, amazing!

Bradley Bradley Andras
1 month ago

2 Completed2 Reviews

Niko Welch
1 month ago

7 Completed1 Reviews

3000' climb in just over 4 miles to the top. strenuous but worth the view. every good Texan/geologist should make the pilgrimage. very interesting geology along the way looking at the reef structures.

Juan Galvis
1 month ago

4 Completed3 Reviews

Very difficult, steep be prepare

Paul Morelli
1 month ago

41 Completed35 Reviews

Strenuous hike takes you Texas' highest point and incredible views! Wear good boots and don't be afraid to stop and rest. The whole trail switches back again and again as it races uphill, and is especially steep near the beginning.

Keith Berg
1 month ago

41 Completed23 Reviews

Busy trail. A lot of people do the peak but very few go into the back country. In mid-march it was windy but a overall beautidul day. Trail is steep in areas but overall a decent trail. Worth the hike.

Rusty Kirchner
2 months ago

87 Completed65 Reviews

Iris R.
2 months ago

DC Calderon
2 months ago

13 Completed15 Reviews

It was awesome! Hiked to Guadalupe peek. It's windy so be ready you'll love it!

Jason Lominac
2 months ago

2 Completed2 Reviews

It was amazing views and an excellent hike. It makes it all the better if your are in a little shape. The first is all switch backs (1.5 miles) and this is the killer. The final push to the peak is as well, but not as bad. The most important item I wish for you to take away from this review, if you child is under 12 then I would think real hard if this is the trail for them. I just did it (3/13) and there were constant 30 - 40 mph winds with gusts up to 50 plus. To this there , were a few spots that were pretty dangerous. There tons of trails here for the younger ones. I just experienced to many times yesterday kids having issues and that puts everyone at risk. I just told my kids when you turn 16 then we do the peak, but that is just me.

Jared Beasley
2 months ago

2 Completed2 Reviews

Wonderful experience. I grew up in Carlsbad and never took the opportunity to hike the peak. Traveled home for a weekend and took advantage of the great weather. Very gratifying once complete. I'll definitely hike this trail over and over again.

Conner Dobbs
2 months ago

2 Completed1 Reviews

Gary Taylor
3 months ago

9 Completed9 Reviews

We read the reviews before we went. We read that most people complete the hike in 7-8 hours and that the first mile is the hardest.

It lived up to expectations. The first mile is rockier, steeper and has bigger steps to start. Then it gets to the switchbacks which are pretty straightforward other than the increasing altitude. When we left the ranger station at around 10AM it was around 60 degrees. Part way up we crossed the snow line. The snow wasn't bad, the traffic wore most of it off the trail, though there were a few slick, icy spots.

As weekend warrior hikers the last half mile of the trail started wearing on us, and we found this section nearly as physically strenuous as the first mile. But that close to the top, there's now way you can turn back. The wind picked up in that last half mile as well, and by the time we reached the peak the wind was howling. It was probably in the 40's at the top but with the wind it felt much colder. We looked around for a few minutes, took some great photos and booked it out of there.

On the way up we kept telling ourselves that the hike down will be so easy. While it's less strenuous it introduced a different set of challenges. Your feet and knees take a beating on the way down, and any of the muddy or icy sections you passed on the way up are trickier to traverse on the way down as your momentum is different now.

All in all I am so glad we hiked this trail. For the casual hiker I think it's an achievement. There were times we thought we may have bit off more than we wanted to chew for a day hike, but once we were done we were proud of following it through to the end. Our total time was about 6.5 hours, at a pretty casual pace with a few rest stops.

Matt Pawlaczyk
3 months ago

1 Completed1 Reviews

Awesome trail. Pretty challenging but you're rewarded with some great views. I saw a desert bighorn sheep while crossing the bridge near the summit.

Judson Watkins
3 months ago

2 Completed2 Reviews

Awesome hike. Be careful with some loose gravel on the way down the switchbacks. And bring a camera.

Lisa Porter
4 months ago

7 Completed2 Reviews

chasity perry``
5 months ago

6 Completed6 Reviews

Great trail the campgrounds and trails were both well maintained. The winds got up to about 60 mph when we were a mile from the peak so we had to turn around but the views are amazing pretty much anywhere in the park. I highly recommend going. It's also only about thirty minutes from carlsbad cavern in NM which is a great experience as well.