Located 2 hours from El Paso and far from any civilization, Guadalupe Mountains National Park protects a range towering 3,000 feet above the Chihuahuan Desert with a variety of plants and scenery, including vast desert, pine forest, and extensive canyons. Millions of years ago, this area was underwater and the mountains were known as the Permian Reef. Hiking, backpacking, and horseback riding the extensive trail network are the primary recreational opportunities here. Camping is available on a first-come, first-served basis at two campgrounds; other lodging is much further away in either El Paso or Carlsbad.
The flagship hike in the park is climbing the tallest mountain in Texas, Guadalupe Peak. This strenuous uphill journey takes you from the desert floor to a high-elevation pine forest with distant views from many angles throughout the hike. The Smith Springs Trail is an easy loop hike that is ideal for all hikers and provides an excellent introduction to the park featuring constant views of the desert, Guadalupe Mountains, and two natural springs. For a unique view of the mountains, visit the Salt Basin Dunes on the far west end of the range where you can also freely roam white gypsum dunes after a short, one-mile hike.