Guadalupe Peak - Texas Highpoint

#1 of 21 trails in Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Guadalupe Peak - Texas Highpoint is a 8.4 mile out and back trail located near Salt Flat, Texas that features a great forest setting. The trail is rated as difficult and primarily used for hiking.

8.03 miles Out & Back 2930 feet
camping hiking forest rocky views
Hide Map
Sign up now to see this map!

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.

Doug Neidholdt

513 Completed543 Reviews

It was one of the hardest hikes I have done for awhile, but worth it. great views. Great scenery.

Marbeth R.

Beautiful hike! challenging if the weather is not on your favor but rewarding view at all times as you hike.

Andre von Twistern

1 Completed1 Reviews

Great hike ! Start early and beat the crowd

Drew Kiewit

1 Completed1 Reviews

It was a beautiful trail that went through evergreen forests. Not the norm for west Texas!

Ryan Wirick

1 Completed1 Reviews

It's a great hike it doesn't have the best scenery but the terrain keeps it interesting. I have now gone to the peak 4 times. Make sure to bring plenty of water it gets extremely hot.

Annette Smith

6 Completed5 Reviews

Well maintained trail for the most part. Start early cause it gets HOT!! Beautiful views from the top and well worth it.

Dicai Yang

31 Completed4 Reviews

Great hike! My GPS actually measured 11.25 miles round trip if you go all the way up to the monument. It's 4.2 miles one way reaching the camp site. Another mile and half to the peak. I'm a very slow hiker. I spent 9 hrs round trip with 1 hour resting at the peak. My friends saw two large rattlesnake, one at the peak, another near the peak on the way down. Watch out your steps. Hiking stick recommended.

Eric C.

Excellent trail. Hiked up and spent the night in a primitive tent site. Sunset and views from the top are EPIC.

Tom Landry

4 Completed1 Reviews

Loved this hike. Windy as all get out, but some Beautiful views.

Alicia Toombs

2 Completed2 Reviews

My partner and I backpacked this trail over 3 days and LOVED it. We hiked to the backcountry campground on Friday and set up. On Saturday we hiked the rest of the way to the top and spent a few hours hanging out on top (taking pictures, having lunch, signing the log, etc). Saturday afternoon/evening we hung out at camp, looked for wildlife on the nearby mountains with small binoculars, and got some much needed R&R. Sunday we hiked out early and headed to nearby Carlsbad Caverns (highly recommend).

It is really important that you carry plenty of water, sun screen (the trail has little shade) and are in pretty decent shape. Also, the wind was fierce! It often is so you may want to take a wind jacket. Even on Memorial Day weekend the wind made it seem chilly. BTW, the views are spectacular throughout!!