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Guadalupe Mountains National Park is the home of 8,749' tall Guadalupe Peak.
That elevation makes it the highest point in Texas and a very popular destination in the Lone Star State! There is a beautifully constructed trail that travels right from the park's main trailhead all the way to the summit, Regardless of the popularity of the trek, it is well worth the 9-mile roundtrip and 3,000 feet of elevation gain to stand on top of Texas.
The route is long enough that even when sharing the trail with 60 other hikers, the only real interactions happen when passing, being passed, and on the actual summit.
If relative solitude is desired, choose a weekday in the off-season; conversely, a weekend during holidays will guarantee lots of company! March is a wonderful month to visit Guadalupe Mountains National Park and to summit its namesake peak.
This is the desert and as such, can get extremely hot in the summer.
Not only can it be hot, but there is absolutely zero water out on the trail.
Those factors make March a lovely month to do this hike: it is warm and sunny, but not yet brutally hot.
The hike begins at the same trailhead as many other wonderful Guadalupe adventures.
If camping at the park's little campground, it is only 1/4-mile from tent to trailhead! The route is clearly signed, so route-finding is also easy. The scenery is stunning right out of the gate, as the trail gains elevation fairly quickly via many, many log and rock steps.
After the initial push, however, the trail gets a bit less steep and also gets narrower.
Every time it switchbacks, a new view bursts into sight.
Take the time to enjoy the sweeping views of the Chihuahuan Desert below. Just when it seems like the climbing will never end, the trail traverses gently through a lovely woods.
This is a good opportunity to catch one's breath and have a snack break before undertaking the edgy bit of trail that clings to the side of a rocky cliff.
Signs inform equestrians to dismount and walk their horses on this stretch! Another awe-inspiring bit of trail involves a short, aesthetically appealing bridge that spans a deep gorge.
Without it, the hike would be over without ever reaching the summit. After 4.5 miles and 3,000 feet of elevation gain, the route ends at the summit of 8,749' Guadalupe Peak.
It is impossible to mistake the location due to a huge metal pyramid on the summit.
In 1958, American Airlines placed it there to commemorate the 100th anniversary of transcontinental mail delivery, which went through Guadalupe Pass.
Take time to wander around this large summit and take in the views in every direction.
Look down at the unique rocks with fascinating plant and seed-like imprints on them.
The “Guadalupe Mountains” are actually not a mountain range, but rather a "Reef" that is comprised of algae, sort of like a coral reef that is no longer under an ocean.
The imprints on the rocks are fossilized algae! Take the same route back to the trailhead. https://www.nps.gov/gumo/index.htm