Dale Stenseth's Texas High Point Hike

Highpoint 40. Texas, Guadalupe Peak, 8,749 ft, 10/3/04

Guadalupe Peak is located in Guadalupe National Park in the West Texas panhandle, below Carlsbad, New Mexico. There is now a $3 day-use fee.
My ascent time was 3 hours. Descent was 2 hours, 15 minutes. Drank only 40 ounces of water on this hike.

Used Wingers' book and Zumwalt's book for guidance.

Flew into Albuquerque. Stayed in El Paso. Drove out of El Paso at 5:55 am. The short road from the highway to the trail-head is paved all the way, and is rental car 'safe'. Signed in on the hiker log and departed the trail-head at 8 am.

This part of Texas was not what I expected. While there had been recent rains, the area is often fogged in because of warm, humid air from the Gulf moving up over the mountains to meet the cooler air. You will pass thru several micro-climates on this hike, with more variety of green and growing things, including trees, than there are in much of Texas. This morning, the grass overhanging the path was heavy with dew. My hiking pants were soaked to the pockets after a few minutes. The temperature was comfortable all the way to the top. At times on the way up and down, there were small patches of clear blue sky. The summit was fogged in. It was a little cool on the summit, because of the wind. Signed the summit log in the ammo box. Looked for, but found no survey benchmarks.

There is another peak nearby, El Capitan, with a separate trail from the trail-head. The ranger lady told me it is ok to bushwhack from the Guadalupe Peak trail across to El Capitan, but difficult. If the fog had not obscured the view, I might have tried that. If I go again, I think I would hike El Capitan. A ridge connected to El Capitan has a 1500 feet vertical drop. The ranger suggested laying on your stomach and crawling up to the edge to look down the vertcal face.

I also asked the ranger if horses had been banned from the trails, because it had been kind of nice not having to dodge horse droppings on the trail. The ranger said horses were still allowed, but the recent heavy rains had washed all the manure away.

Park sign on US Hwy 62/180 from El Paso, or from Carlsbad, NM. Park sign on US Hwy 62/180
Sign in the park. Sign in park
Trail-head with sign-in log and pay box. Trail-head with sign-in log and pay box
Summit marker in the fog. Summit marker in the fog
Plaques on the Summit Marker: A different plaque is mounted on each side.
  American Airlines Plaque, Dedication Plaque.
American Airlines Plaque Dedication Plaque
  Flier Plaque, Pony Express Plaque. Flier Plaque  Pony Express Plaque
Texas flora. Texas flora Texas flora
View of the trail-head from about 1000 feet above. View of the trail-head from about 1000 feet above