Guadalupe Mountains National Park




Rising from the Chihuahuan Desert of western Texas, this mountain mass contains portions of the world's most extensive and significant Permian limestone fossil reef. Also featured are a tremendous earth fault, lofty peaks, unusual flora and fauna and a colorful record of the past. The park was established on September 30, 1972.

This 86,000-acre park preserves a number of unusual features including:

  • Guadalupe Peak, highest point in Texas at 8,749 feet
  • El Capitan, a massive limestone formation
  • McKittrick Canyon, with its unique flora and fauna
  • The "Bowl," located in a high country conifer forest

General Information

Seasons / Hours

The park is open 24 hours daily, all year.

Rates & Fees

  • The entrance fee is $5.00 per person for adults 16 years of age and older. This fee is good for 7 days.
  • Entrance Passes: - The following NPS/Federal Recreational Lands Passes are issued and accepted at Guadalupe Mountains National Park.
    • Guadalupe Mountains Annual Pass
      $20 - Allows unlimited entry to Guadalupe Mountains National Park for one year from the month of purchase.
    • National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass
      $80 - Allows unlimited entry to all federal recreational lands for one year from the month of purchase.
    • Senior Pass
      $10 - Lifetime pass to all federal entrance fee areas for US citizens 62 years of age or older.
    • Access Pass
      Free - Lifetime pass to all federal entrance fee areas for permanently disabled persons.
    • Volunteer Pass
      Free - Allows unlimited entry to all federal recreational lands for one year from the month of issue for volunteers who have acquired 500 service hours on a cumulative basis.

CAMPGROUND

  • Sites at Pine Springs and Dog Canyon campgrounds are $8.00 a night.
  • Group sites $3.00 per person, minimum $30.00. Minimum of 10 and a maximum of 20 people per site.
  • Free back-country camping permits available at Visitor Center.
  • Holders of Golden Access or Golden Age Passports receive a discount.

Visitor Centers

  • Headquarters Visitor Center is located at Pine Springs off U.S. 62/180 at the top of Gaudalupe Pass. Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. MST, and 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM MDT in summer, (Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend). Closed on Christmas Day.
  • McKittrick Canyon Visitor Center: The entrance road for McKittrick canyon is 7 miles east of the park's Headquarters Visitor Center on U.S. Highway 62/180. McKittrick Canyon is a day-use area; the entrance gate is open from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM (MST) and open until 6:00 PM during daylight savings time (MDT). The entrance gate on U.S.Highway 62/180 is locked each evening.

Facilities/Features

Stores/Museum
-
Headquarters Visitor Center at Pine Springs has natural history exhibits and auditorium slide program. The Carlsbad Caverns-Guadalupe Mountains Association operates a large bookstore in the Headquarters Visitor Center.
- Historic Frijole Ranch Museum features exhibits on local history.
- McKittrick Contact Station features outdoor exhibits and slide program on the history, geology and natural history of the canyon.

Programs/Events
Summer evening programs in campground amphitheater, frequent slide program and geology video showings in Visitor Center daily. Bi-lingual and sign language park ranger on staff. Visitor Center slide program captioned in English and Spanish.

Food/Supplies
No gas, food, ice or supplies available in park. Closest facilities are 35 miles northeast in White's City, NM. Water available at trailheads. There is no water in park's backcountry. No concessions in park.

Accessibility
Headquarters Visitor Center is fully accessible; accessible rest rooms; .75 mile round trip Pinery Trail from visitor center to Butterfield Stage Ruins is accessible. Wheelchair available. McKittrick Canyon Visitor Center is accessible.

Rules, Regulations, Precautions

  • Pets on a leash are permitted only in drive-in campgrounds, not in the backcountry or on trails.
  • Smoking is not permitted in any park building.
  • Visitors must stay on trail in McKittrick Canyon and entry to the canyon stream is prohibited.
  • No fires (including charcoal) allowed in park; horses not allowed in backcountry overnight.
  • Carry enough drinking water, one gallon (four liters) per person per day.
  • Pack out all litter.
  • Camp only in designated campsites.
  • Firearms and hunting are prohibited.

Location/Climate/Maps

Guadalupe Mountains National Park is located in west Texas near the New Mexico border. It is located 110 miles east of El Paso, TX on U.S. Highway 62/180; 55 miles southwest of Carlsbad, NM on U.S. highway 62/180; 65 miles north of Van Horn, TX on Texas highway 54.

Climate

Hot summers, mild winters. Sudden and extreme weather changes are common. Frequent high winds, especially in spring and early summer. Cool nights, even in summer. Loose, comfortable clothing, sturdy walking shoes, hat, sunscreen, and plenty of drinking water.

Getting There

To Park: Headquarters Visitor Center at Pine Springs accessed via U.S. highway 62/180 between Carlsbad, NM and El Paso, TX. Dog Canyon, on the park's north side, is accessed via New Mexico state road 137.
In Park: access roads to trailheads only.

Description

Cultural History

The presence of water in the Guadalupes -- the precious seeps and springs concealed by harsh and rugged surroundings, have lured people into these mountains for thousands of years. Paleo-Indians hunted mammoth in the region 10,000 years ago; much later, Mescalero Apaches from the north entered the region.

By the end of the 19th century, the Mescalero were expelled by the U.S. Army to make way for settlers who wanted the water and shelter. Early oil exploration of the large Permian Oilfield east of the Guadalupes prompted the first geological studies of the region.Thanks to the efforts of rancher J.C.Hunter and geologist Wallace E. Pratt, Guadalupe Mountains National Park was established September 30, 1972.

Natural History

The Guadalupe Mountains are part on what was once a 400-mile-long limestone reef, which formed along a shelf in a Permian sea 250 million years ago. During mountain building activity that uplifted the Gaudalupes 10 to 12 million years ago, the rock layers of the limestone reef were exposed to weathering forces.

Varying in elevation between 3,600 and 8,700 feet, creosote, agave and cactus, lizards, snakes and kangaroo rats occupy lower elevations. Douglas Fir, Ponderosa Pine and hardwood forests provided habitat for Elk, Mule Deer, Wild Turkey, Raccoons and Coyote at higher elevations.

Things To Do

Hiking, camping, bird watching, desert wildflowers, wildlife observations, horseback riding day use only (bring your own stock). Stock may not be kept in the backcountry overnight but corrals are available for visitor use at Frijole Ranch and Dog Canyon.

Bring everything you will need during your visit. No concessions or supplies available in the park; dress appropriately; be prepared for sudden weather changes; take adequate water into the backcountry (one gallon per person per day).

Magic in the Mountains. One of the most colorful displays of autumn color in the nation occurs in the Guadalupe Mountains.

Hiking & Trails

Eighty-plus miles of trails, ranging in difficulty from easy to strenuous. Trails are rocky and often steep and rugged. Trails lead to Guadalupe Peak, around the base of El Capitan, up into the high country and across the top of the escarpment, and into McKittrick Canyon. Self-guided nature trails are located at McKittrick Canyon, Pinery trail at Pine Springs and Indian Meadow Trail at Dog Canyon.

Lodging

Hotels/Motels

There are motels in Whites City and Carlsbad, NM with something for every taste and price range. For more information and a complete list, click on city above for Rates, availability and reservations online.
Camping & RV Parks

The park has RV parking without hookups, walk-in tent camping and bathrooms. No food or overnight facilities exist in the park. The nearest commercial campgrounds and tourist facilities are located in White City, New Mexico (35 miles northeast), and Carlsbad.

Ten back-country campgrounds. A free permit is required and may be obtained in person at the Headquarters Visitor Center or at the Dog Canyon Ranger Station. No fires (including charcoal) allowed in park.

No individual camping reservations accepted. Reservations accepted for front country groups of ten or more. Free backcountry camping permits required; horseback riding (bring your own stock) and free corral use (permits required). All permits must be obtained in person at the Headquarters Visitor Center or Dog Canyon Ranger Station on the day of or the day before they are to be used.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park
HC 60 Box 400
Salt Flat, Texas 79847
915-828-3251 ~ 915-828-3269 (fax)
Email: GUMO_SUPERINTENDENT@NPS.GOV





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