If you look on a map of Southwestern United States, New Mexico, Texas, and the country of Mexico are nestled together in the farthest, west section of the state of Texas. This where you will find El Paso, a very populated and modernized city. Haven flown to Texas many times to visit my best friend in Keller, Texas, I never thought I would be in this part of the state. I find myself intrigued by the fact that we are so close to Mexico. My mind keeps taking me to thoughts of a border wall. Crazy, right?
Guadalupe National Park is located just east of El Paso, Texas, and directly south of Carlsbad Canyons in New Mexico. The drive from Carlsbad to Guadalupe was only about a 45 minute ride away. From about 20 minutes away, you could see El Capitan (far left) and Guadalupe Peak (to the right of Capitan) in the distance.
We parked the trailer in the Pine Springs Trailhead parking lot for $15 per night. There were already quite a few RV’s parked there with only a few empty spaces. Nobody was around except for the workmen using heavy equipment not far from us. They were obviously doing work that was needed, but the noise really shot right through you. It was a beautiful, warm sunny day and we wanted to get away from the man-made noise. It was after 3:00 p.m. but we ventured out anyway on a short 4.2 mile round trip hike on Devil’s Hall. At this trailhead, there are four different hikes that you can choose from.
Guadalupe Peak Trail is what brought us to this National Park, but due to the time, we chose to hike Devil’s Hall Trail today. On the way up, we turned around to capture a picture of our campsite.
Devil’s Trail was rated a moderate hike, but it was really easy. Most of the terrain looks like the image below.
At the one mile mark, you drop into the wash (a dry streambed that only gets water when it rains), and the walking becomes more fun as you have to navigate over large boulders. Just below reaching Devil’s Hall, you have to climb a 15-foot wall to gain access to the hall.
At the end of the “hall”, there was a slight drop off. I was startled by a family of three that were quietly sitting off to the left enjoying their solitude. They told us that we could not hike any further as sensitive species grow beyond that point. She had read in a pamphlet that the park didn’t want anyone hiking up there during this time of year. We chatted for a little while, and then we retreated back to camp.
The next morning we got started early on the 8.4 mile hike to Guadalupe Peak at 8,751’ with a 3,000’ elevation gain. We were excited to catch the beautiful sunrise.
It wasn’t long before the morning light was upon us.
Although the sun was shining, it was extremely windy. The wind kept the temperature down. The higher we ascended, the windier it became. Long pants would have been a smarter choice for today, but we did have extra top layers – including our hoods which were up most of the time.
Shortly before you reach the peak, you have to cross over a small bridge. The long drop below reminded me of the Titantic.
Less than three hours from the start, we arrived at Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in the state of Texas.
At some mountain peaks, there is a register book so that you can record your name and the date of your hike. Here I am filling out the necessary information.
Enjoying the view.
In the picture above, I am looking down at El Capitan. Thank you, Scott, for modeling.
It was way too cold and windy to stay at the peak for long, so we quickly began our descent. Here is another view of the trail and the parking lot below.
On our way out of Guadalupe National Park, we stopped about four miles down the road to capture a picture of El Capitan from another angle. From this vantage point, it looks taller than Guadalupe Peak, but it is not. As you can see, the wind is still howling.