Guadalupe Mountains National Park covers an area of 349.5 km2 (134.94 sq mi) in the Big Bend region of Texas. It contains the southernmost part of the Guadalupe range, including the highest mountain in the range (and in Texas) – Guadalupe Peak, with an elevation of 2,667 m (8,749 ft).
Archaeological findings such as pottery, spear tips and rock art indicate that people first lived in the region over 10,000 years ago. Those first humans lived in caves and hunted the large game that lived here. The park’s natural history is equally impressive, dating back hundreds of millions of years. It is also one of the finest examples in the world of fossil reefs from the Permian Era.
From afar, the mountain and desert landscape appears barren and desolate, but up close the park reveals its truly diverse beauty. The remarkable scenery includes forests, meadows, streams and an enormous amount of vegetation and wildlife.
The park is pristine and unspoiled, offering excellent hiking opportunities. Views from the ground are fairly spectacular but from atop the mountains they are breathtaking. There are numerous trails for walking and horse-riding, ranging in difficulty and distance.
The Guadalupe Peak Trail is the ultimate hike, leading up over 914.4 m (3,000 ft) to the summit. It takes between 6 and 8 hours to complete, but the trail takes you through beautiful forests with plenty of opportunity for wildlife spotting. Of course, the real reward is the vast views of the park and surrounding areas from the top.
The McKittrick Canyon is another popular hike. Colourful maple forests, plentiful trout streams and Pratt Lodge, the park’s first ranch house are worthwhile sights along the trail.