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  • Writer's pictureMick McMurray

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Updated: Feb 22

Guadalupe Mountains NP

Drove the 285 miles to the Pine Springs Campground in Guadalupe Mountains National Park. There are 13 sites with no hookups or dump station and all sites are reservable at recreation. gov. We stayed here for 4 nights. For the start of this road trip go to

Along the Southern Border

Our campsite at Guadalupe mountains, national  park, showing trucks and trailers
Our campsite

We drove to White’s City in New Mexico the following morning to get gas. It’s at the junction of Hwy 62 and Carlsbad Caverns Hwy. This is the closest gas station to the campground. After gassing up we drove back to Guadalupe Mt. National park and hiked Smith Spring Trail. It starts at The Frijole Ranch Trailhead and is paved to Manzanita Spring then turns into a well-maintained dirt trail to Smith Spring with views of the mountains and desert landscapes along the way. The spring is in a shaded area up against the mountain. From there the trail loops back to Frijole Ranch.

In the afternoon we drove through Dell City to the Salt Basin Dunes Trailhead. The Salt Basin Dunes are gypsum bright-white sand dunes that cover about 2,000 acres and range from 3 feet high to 60 feet high. There are views of Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas at 8,751 ft. in the background.

We made a drive outside the park to photograph the El Capitan formation. It is an iconic image from the park. These photos were taken on Highway 62 leading into the Park from the south. El Capitan is the prominent formation overlooking the valley.

On our last full day in the park, we hiked to the Pratt Cabin in Mckittrick Canyon. It is a 4.8-mile out-and-back hike. The trail does go past the cabin to higher elevations on the mountain. We had lunch on the porch before returning back to the trailhead. We saw deer and javelina on the way back. The cabin is named for Wallace Pratt. While on a business trip in 1921, he bought a quarter of the McCombs ranch and made the cabin his summer home. He eventually became the major donor of what is now Guadalupe Mountain NP.

Lorna’s Tips and Lessons

It is fun to immerse yourself in the history and culture of the area that you are visiting. One of the ways I enjoy doing that is by reading fiction, whose setting is where I am visiting. One such novel was written in the beauty of the Guadalupe Mountains. Track Of The Cat is a novel written by a former National Park Ranger, Nevada Barr. Her award-winning novels often feature an adventurous National Park Ranger, Anna Pigeon. Great audiobook to listen to while traveling.

Here is a list of novels set in National Parks.

Next: Carlsbad Caverns National Park


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