Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Rising from the Chihuahuan Desert of western Texas, this mountain mass contains portions
of the world's most extensive and significant Permian limestone fossil reef. Also featured are
a tremendous earth fault, lofty peaks, unusual flora and fauna and a colorful record of the past
The park was established on September 30, 1972.
This 86,000-acre park preserves a number of unusual features including:
Guadalupe Peak, highest point in Texas at 8,749 feet
El Capitan, a massive limestone formation
McKittrick Canyon, with its unique flora and fauna
The "Bowl," located in a high country conifer forest
Seasons / Hours
The park is open 24 hours daily, all year.
Rates & Fees
The entrance fee is $5.00 per person for adults 16 years of age and older. This fee is good for 7 days.
Entrance Passes: - The following NPS/Federal Recreational Lands Passes are issued and accepted
at Guadalupe Mountains National Park.
Guadalupe Mountains Annual Pass
$20 - Allows unlimited entry to Guadalupe Mountains National Park for one year from the month of
National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass
$80 - Allows unlimited entry to all federal recreational lands for one year from the month of purchase.
$10 - Lifetime pass to all federal entrance fee areas for US citizens 62 years of age or older.
Free - Lifetime pass to all federal entrance fee areas for permanently disabled persons.
Free - Allows unlimited entry to all federal recreational lands for one year from the month of issue
for volunteers who have acquired 500 service hours on a cumulative basis.
Sites at Pine Springs and Dog Canyon campgrounds are $8.00 a night.
Group sites $3.00 per person, minimum $30.00. Minimum of 10 and a maximum of 20 people per site.
Free back-country camping permits available at Visitor Center.
Holders of Golden Access or Golden Age Passports receive a discount.
Headquarters Visitor Center is located at Pine Springs off U.S. 62/180 at the top of Gaudalupe Pass.
Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. MST, and 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM MDT in summer, (Memorial Day
weekend through Labor Day weekend). Closed on Christmas Day.
McKittrick Canyon Visitor Center: The entrance road for McKittrick canyon is 7 miles east of the
park's Headquarters Visitor Center on U.S. Highway 62/180. McKittrick Canyon is a day-use area;
the entrance gate is open from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM (MST) and open until 6:00 PM during daylight
savings time (MDT). The entrance gate on U.S.Highway 62/180 is locked each evening.
- Headquarters Visitor Center at Pine Springs has natural history exhibits and auditorium slide
program. The Carlsbad Caverns-Guadalupe Mountains Association operates a large bookstore
in the Headquarters Visitor Center.
- Historic Frijole Ranch Museum features exhibits on local history.
- McKittrick Contact Station features outdoor exhibits and slide program on the history, geology
and natural history of the canyon.
Summer evening programs in campground amphitheater, frequent slide program and geology
video showings in Visitor Center daily. Bi-lingual and sign language park ranger on staff. Visitor
Center slide program captioned in English and Spanish.
No gas, food, ice or supplies available in park. Closest facilities are 35 miles northeast in White's
City, NM. Water available at trailheads. There is no water in park's backcountry.
No concessions in park.
Headquarters Visitor Center is fully accessible; accessible rest rooms; .75 mile round trip Pinery
Trail from visitor center to Butterfield Stage Ruins is accessible. Wheelchair available. McKittrick
Canyon Visitor Center is accessible.
Rules, Regulations, Precautions
Pets on a leash are permitted only in drive-in campgrounds, not in the backcountry or on trails.
Smoking is not permitted in any park building.
Visitors must stay on trail in McKittrick Canyon and entry to the canyon stream is prohibited.
No fires (including charcoal) allowed in park; horses not allowed in backcountry overnight.
Carry enough drinking water, one gallon (four liters) per person per day.
Pack out all litter.
Camp only in designated campsites.
Firearms and hunting are prohibited.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park is located in west Texas near the New Mexico border. It is
located 110 miles east of El Paso, TX on U.S. Highway 62/180; 55 miles southwest of Carlsbad, NM
on U.S. highway 62/180; 65 miles north of Van Horn, TX on Texas highway 54.
Hot summers, mild winters. Sudden and extreme weather changes are common. Frequent high
winds, especially in spring and early summer. Cool nights, even in summer. Loose, comfortable
clothing, sturdy walking shoes, hat, sunscreen, and plenty of drinking water.
To Park: Headquarters Visitor Center at Pine Springs accessed via U.S. highway 62/180 between
Carlsbad, NM and El Paso, TX. Dog Canyon, on the park's north side, is accessed
via New Mexico state road 137.
In Park: access roads to trailheads only.
The presence of water in the Guadalupes -- the precious seeps and springs concealed by harsh
and rugged surroundings, have lured people into these mountains for thousands of years.
Paleo-Indians hunted mammoth in the region 10,000 years ago; much later, Mescalero Apaches
from the north entered the region.
By the end of the 19th century, the Mescalero were expelled by the U.S. Army to make way for
settlers who wanted the water and shelter. Early oil exploration of the large Permian Oilfield
east of the Guadalupes prompted the first geological studies of the region.Thanks to the efforts
of rancher J.C.Hunter and geologist Wallace E. Pratt, Guadalupe Mountains National Park was
established September 30, 1972.
The Guadalupe Mountains are part on what was once a 400-mile-long limestone reef, which
formed along a shelf in a Permian sea 250 million years ago. During mountain building activity
that uplifted the Gaudalupes 10 to 12 million years ago, the rock layers of the limestone reef
were exposed to weathering forces.
Varying in elevation between 3,600 and 8,700 feet, creosote, agave and cactus, lizards,
snakes and kangaroo rats occupy lower elevations. Douglas Fir, Ponderosa Pine and hardwood
forests provided habitat for Elk, Mule Deer, Wild Turkey, Raccoons and Coyote at higher elevations.
Things To Do
Hiking, camping, bird watching, desert wildflowers, wildlife observations, horseback riding day
use only (bring your own stock). Stock may not be kept in the backcountry overnight but corrals
are available for visitor use at Frijole Ranch and Dog Canyon.
Bring everything you will need during your visit. No concessions or supplies available in the park;
dress appropriately; be prepared for sudden weather changes; take adequate water into the
backcountry (one gallon per person per day).
Magic in the Mountains. One of the most colorful displays of autumn color in the nation occurs in
the Guadalupe Mountains.
Hiking & Trails
Eighty-plus miles of trails, ranging in difficulty from easy to strenuous. Trails are rocky and often
steep and rugged. Trails lead to Guadalupe Peak, around the base of El Capitan, up into the high
country and across the top of the escarpment, and into McKittrick Canyon. Self-guided nature
trails are located at McKittrick Canyon, Pinery trail at Pine Springs and Indian Meadow Trail at
There are motels in Whites City and Carlsbad, NM with something for every taste and price range.
For more information and a complete list, click on city above for Rates, availability and
Camping & RV Parks
The park has RV parking without hookups, walk-in tent camping and bathrooms. No food or overnight
facilities exist in the park. The nearest commercial campgrounds and tourist facilities are located in
White City, New Mexico (35 miles northeast), and Carlsbad.
Ten back-country campgrounds. A free permit is required and may be obtained in person at the
Headquarters Visitor Center or at the Dog Canyon Ranger Station. No fires (including charcoal)
allowed in park.
No individual camping reservations accepted. Reservations accepted for front country groups of
ten or more. Free backcountry camping permits required; horseback riding (bring your own stock)
and free corral use (permits required). All permits must be obtained in person at the Headquarters
Visitor Center or Dog Canyon Ranger Station on the day of or the day before they are to be used.
Guadalupe Mountain National Park
Of all of the RVers traveling around this beautiful country of ours and
enjoying every minute of it, about 5% of us (my estimation) want to
get off the paved road and out into the real country and do their
camping. Guadalupe Mountain National Park has the right
campground for you! I have never been there ( I amnot the
wilderness camping type, I like my comforts),but I did find some
good information that might help anyone wanting to head up
into the hills for somegood times.
When you leave your site, remember to clean up your camping
area & leave nothing but footprints.
Backcountry Camping Backcountry Campgrounds Campgrounds
Horseback Riding and Corrals Minimum Impact Camping
Regulations and Use Limit
Located just off Highway 62/180 near the Headquarters Visitor
Center, Pine Springs Campground is a simple desert camping
area for those wishing to explore the Guadalupe Mountains.
Water, wheelchair accessible restrooms , a service sink, and
pay telephone are available.
The Dog Canyon area lies in a secluded, forested canyon on
the north side of the park. Due to the higher elevation it remains
cooler than Pine Springs campground in the summer.
There are two campgrounds in Guadalupe Mountains National Park,
Pine Springs Campground and Dog Canyon Campground. They
are both on a first-come, first-served basis.
Campground Open Sites Water Restrooms Dump Station Group
Pine Springs All Year 20 - Tent, 19 - RV Yes Yes No Yes $8.00
Dog Canyon All Year 9 -Tent, 4 - RV Yes Yes No Yes $8.00
Additional Camping Information
When you arrive, select a campsite, then pay at the self-registration
board near the restrooms. The fee is $8.00 per night per site, $4.00
for Golden Age and Golden Access Passport holders. There is no
discount for Golden Eagle Passport holders. Both campgrounds
have tables. Cooking is allowed with camp stoves only. Group
sites are available for organized groups with a minimum of 10 and
a maximum of 20 people per site. The fee is $2.50 per person, a
minimum of $25.00 per site. Group sites are available for
reservation up to 60 days in advanced. Call 915-828-3251
extension 0 between 8:00 am and 4:30 pm daily, Mountain time.
Rules and Regulations
Wash dishes in the utility sink. Please do not use faucets in the
campground for dish washing. It is unsanitary and can attract
Discharge of dishwater or gray water onto the ground is prohibited.
Use the utility sinks for their disposal.
RV water tanks can be filled from an outside water faucet near
the registration board.
Skunks and other mammals roam the campground at night.
Place all garbage in receptacles. Store food, including pet food,
Pets must be leashed at all times.
Pets are not allowed on the trails because they disturb park
wildlife and other visitors.
Leashed pets may be exercised on the trail to the Visitor
Center and the Pinery Trail at the Visitor Center.
Please clean up after your pet.
Park wildlife may carry plague and rabies. Do not allow
your pet near animals or their dens or burrows.
Pets may not be left unattended. The nearest kennel
service is at Carlsbad Caverns.
Wood and charcoal fires are not allowed because of generally dry
conditions and intermittent high winds. Camp stoves are allowed.
Backcountry Camping - Open All Year
All overnight backpackers must obtain a free Backcountry Use
Permit, issued at the Headquarters Visitor Center (Pine Springs),
or the Dog Canyon Ranger Station. Permits are issued on a first
come, first serve basis. Permits must be obtained in person, the
day of or the day before the proposed trip. The permit authorizes
camping only in designated sites in the established backcountry
campgrounds. Adherence to your itinerary insures minimum
impact on resources, and prevents overcrowding.
Water available at trailheads. There is no water in park's backcountry.
No water is available in the backcountry. Carry one gallon per person per day in hot weather.
Trails are rocky; wear good boots.
Afternoon thunderstorms occur frequently in the summer; bring rain gear.
Fires are prohibited. Cooking is allowed only on camp stoves.
Wear a hat and use sunscreen.
Pack out all trash, including toilet paper.
Bury human waste away from trails and campsites.
Temperatures are cooler at higher elevations.
Pets are prohibited.
No collection of natural or historic objects.
Regulations and Use Limits
Camping is allowed only in the designated backcountry campgrounds
Tents must be pitched on the hardened tent pads provided. Tent pads are defined with wooden
borders that includes tie-downs
Fires, both wood and charcoal, are strictly prohibited. Containerized fuel is the only allowable
method to be used for cooking or warming
Possession of any firearm is prohibited
Pack out all litter including cigarette butts and toilet paper
Bury human waste properly, at least four to six inches deep, 100 feet from established trails,
and 150 feet from campsites
Pets are not allowed on trails or in the park's backcountry
Smoking is prohibited when posted at trailheads or other locations during periods of high
All plants, animals, rocks, minerals, cultural/historical sites, and artifacts are strictly protected
and will remain undisturbed
All natural water sources are restricted from human use.
For each backcountry site, a limit of four persons per site will be used. Each site will hold
two small tents or one large tent
Backcountry use permits will be issued for a maximum of seven (7) nights, with no more
than two consecutive nights in any campground
Organized groups (scouts, church groups, schools, etc.) are limited to ten persons,
(3 sites per group) per campground
Only one organized group will be allowed in any campground at one time.
Backcountry Campground Descriptions
Campground Sites Description
Guadalupe Peak 5 For those whose goal is to reach the highest peak in Texas, and relish the
moment, an overnight at the Guadalupe Peak campground is ideal. On a clear night the stars
may tempt you to lay awake for hours. The campground is located on the Guadalupe Peak trail,
3.1 miles from the Pine Springs trailhead, and 1 mile below the Peak. It is on a small knoll and
only minimally protected from high winds. Makeshift windbreaks and rocks left behind on tent
pads are a reminder to others to prepare for wind. Elevation gain is 2200 feet.
Pine Top 8 Located at the top of the ridge, Pine Top is the backcountry
campground in closest proximity to the Bowl, and offers excellent views of the park's highest
peaks (a short walk to the edge of the escarpment). Pine Top is an excellent choice for a
single night backpack trip. It is 4.2 miles from Pine Springs trailhead via Tejas and Bush
Mountain trails. Elevation gain is 2300 feet. Though secluded in trees, the campground is
susceptible to high winds and lightning.
Tejas 4 The extra distance to Tejas is worth the time for those who wish to
stay in a more densely forested surrounding. The tall trees provide deep shade in the
morning and late afternoon and protection from high winds aloft. Centrally located,
Tejas campground is 5.5 miles from Pine Springs trailhead or 6.2 miles from Dog Canyon.
Bush Mountain 5 A favorite of many for the exceptional vistas and western sunsets.
Though the campsites at Bush Mountain are semi-protected from high winds, backpackers
will find hiking on the exposed trails to reach the campground difficult during periods of high
wind activity. Bush Mountain campground is 6.2 miles from Pine Springs trailhead via Tejas
and Bush Mountain trails.
Mescalero 8 This campground is near several trails leading in different directions,
making it an excellent choice for a "base camp" while exploring the highcountry.
(Listen for wild turkeys off in the distance.) Mescalero is situated in ponderosa pine and
brush, and is on a slope overlooking a small drainage. Located on the Tejas trail, Mescalero
is 6.2 miles from Pine Springs trailhead or 4.7 miles from Dog Canyon.
McKittrick Ridge 8 Travel through the beautiful McKittrick Canyon before beginning
the very steep climb up to the ridge. This hike isn't for everyone, but if your endurance is up
to it, the views along the climb and on top are breath-taking. From McKittrick Canyon
trailhead, the distance is 7.6 miles, with the elevation gain (significant for quite some distance)
of over 2700 feet. If you'd like to visit this beautiful ridge without quite the workout, begin
instead at Dog Canyon. Though the distance is roughly equal (7.4 miles), the elevation gain
is much less (under 1500 feet)!
Blue Ridge 5 Blue Ridge campground is less frequently used than some of the more
"popular" ones, and may offer a greater opportunity of solitude for hikers willing to go the extra
distance. The campground is surrounded by ponderosa pine and Douglas fir; wild roses and
grassy areas are nearby - a beautiful location and very remote. The distance from Pine Springs
trailhead: via Tejas/Blue Ridge 7.8 miles, via Tejas/Bush Mountain 8.9 miles.
Marcus 5 From Dog Canyon, hikers travel through grassy areas and the
remnants of recent wildland fire, then cross Manzanita Ridge to view West Dog Canyon
before descending to an elevation equivalent to the starting point. Not frequently used; some
of the trails leading away from this campground may be difficult to follow at times. Pay
attention to the trail and rock cairns marking the way. The campground is in pinion and j
uniper, shaded and protected from the wind. The distance from Dog Canyon is 3.7 miles.
Wilderness Ridge 5 An interesting hike along the Permian Reef geology trail meanders up
2000 feet to Wilderness Ridge where the sudden transition from rock to trees is refreshing.
Once on top, the trail is level through forested and open areas and takes you to the edge
of the escarpment where the view is outstanding. Though it's tempting to pitch camp on
top of the ridge prior to reaching the campground, it is illegal to camp anywhere other than
the designated campgrounds. Wilderness Ridge campground is in trees, and worth the
extra distance to save the resource from unnecessary damage.
Shumard 5 ALmost hikers head straight for the highcountry, and avoid this desert
hike as an overnight adventure. If you enjoy arid Chihuahuan desert or you find yourself
fascinated by the geology of the Guadalupes, consider a backpack trip to this remote location.
Though it is 9.2 miles from Pine Springs trailhead, the elevation gain is much less significant
than many of the other trails. Do make sure you are prepared for sun, wind, and weather
exposure. The trail is not protected by trees along the way..
Minimum Impact Camping
With more and more visitors coming into the national parks each year, it becomes increasingly
more important to learn and practice minimum impact ethics. Though we may be lucky enough
to enjoy some moments of solitude while hiking or camping, we must not forget that hundreds
of others will come to experience the same. Our overwhelming numbers alone make it tough to preserve and protect those resources we love so much.
Please follow these simple principles of Leave No Trace:
Plan Ahead and Prepare
Appropriate equipment, understanding the terrain you travel through, and leaving enough time to
reach you destination are ways of reducing impact on the land. Proper protection from wind,
for example, means you won't be forced to use native materials to build unnecessary windbreaks.
Eliminating (by recycling) unnecessary packaging of food products (prior to leaving) reduces the potential for litter on trails or at campsites.
Camp and Travel on Durable Surfaces
The desert is fragile and recovers from human impact much more slowly than many other
ecosystems. Roads, trails and campgrounds leave lasting scars. To minimize these scars,
designated campgrounds with hardened tent pads have been established in the wilderness
of Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Respect the land - do not camp outside these
designated areas. Stay on established trails, and as you enjoy the view, remember it would
not be as pretty if each of us trammeled wherever we chose. When off-trail, use durable
surfaces - step lightly. Travel on established trails between campsites, don't make new ones.
Pack It In, Pack It Out
What would seem a common sense principle is often very misunderstood. Pack out not only your
inorganic waste or trash, but also organic waste or garbage. A clear distinction should be made
between native, natural, and beneficial. Garbage such as peanut shells, apple cores, or orange
peels, though natural, are not native and therefore not necessarily beneficial. The arid climate
means they decompose slowly, they may be harmful to wildlife and are unsightly. If your pack
is light, help by packing out the litter left by others.
Leave What You Find
All plants, animals, rocks, minerals, cultural/historical sites and artifacts are strictly protected
and will remain undisturbed. Don't let a temptation to take something stand in the way of
preservation and protection of resources. Avoid disturbing wildlife. Our entry into the wilderness
should not be at their expense.
Protect and Conserve Water Resources
Water is a precious and finite resource in Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Recognized as
such, it is strictly prohibited to disturb any water source in any way. As you enter the backcountry,
be prepared by carrying at least one gallon of water per person per day, and do not carry a filter
to take advantage of
Pine Springs (Elevation 5,822')
Located just off U.S. Highway 62/180 near the Headquarters Visitor Center, Pine Springs
Campground is a simple, desert camping area situated at the base of the mountain.
Campground conveniences include: potable water, accessible flush-toilet restrooms , utility sink,
pay telephones, and a drink machine. There are no showers available in the campground.
Tent campers have a choice of 20 leveled, gravel sites. Small junipers and oaks partially shade
most of the sites and each site has a picnic table. Numbers are limited to 6 people or
2 tents per site.
The RV camping area is a paved parking lot with 19 sites to choose from. RV sites are defined
by painted lines and numbers on the pavement. There are no hook-ups and there is no dump
station. RV water tanks can be filled from an outside water faucet near the registration board.
RV campsite #21 is wheelchair accessible.
Dog Canyon (Elevation 6,280')
Dog Canyon is in a secluded, forested canyon on the north side of the park. Due to a slightly
higher elevation, and protected location beneath steep cliff walls, it remains cooler than Pine
Springs campground in the summer, and sheltered from strong gusty winds in winter and spring.
The campground has 9 tent sites and 4 RV sites (no hookups, no dump station). Restrooms
have sinks and flush toilets, but no showers.
When you arrive, select a campsite, then pay at the self-registration board near the restrooms.
The fee is $8.00 per night per site, $4.00 for Golden Age and Golden Access Passport holders.
There is no discount for Golden Eagle or National Park Passport holders.
There are two group campsites available at Pine Springs, and one at Dog Canyon for organized
groups with a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 20 people per site. The fee is $3.00 per person.
The fee for Golden Age and Golden Access Passport holders is $1.50 per person. Group
campsites are available by reservation up to 60 days in advance. Call (915) 828-3251,
between 8:00 AM and 4:30 PM daily, Mountain Standard Time. Due to the small size of park
campgrounds, group campsite users may not overflow into family campsites.
Skunks and other small mammals roam the campground at night. These animals are attracted to
food odors. Prevent encounters by keeping campsites free of food scraps.
Dispose of scraps and other garbage in trash receptacles.
Store food, including pet food, in vehicles, not in tents.
Please refrain from using faucets in the campground for dish washing or bathing. Wash dishes in
the utility sink beside the restrooms.
Discharge of dishwater or gray water on the ground is prohibited. Use the utility sinks for their
The closest free RV dump station is off Canyon Street in Carlsbad, NM (behind the TNM&O bus
Pets on leash are permitted in the campground, but please abide by the following with regard to
your pet's welfare, the protection of park wildlife, and consideration of other park visitors:
Leashed pets may be exercised on the trail between the campground and Headquarters Visitor
Center, and the Pinery Trail at the Visitor Center. Pets are not allowed on other park trails
because they may disturb park wildlife or be harmed themselves by wild animals. There are
many rattlesnakes in the park, and park wildlife may carry plague or rabies. Do not allow
your pet near animals or their dens or burrows.
Please clean up after your pet.
Pets may not be left unattended. The nearest kennel service (with limited hours) is at
Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
Wood and charcoal fires are strictly prohibited due to generally dry weather conditions
and intermittent high winds. Containerized fuel camp stoves are permitted.
Quiet hours are from 8:00 PM to 8:00 AM. RV's may not run generators during these hours.