Hello! Thanks for taking the time to check out my article on Guadalupe Mountains National Park in Texas. My name is Andrew Fisher and I’m a photographer currently living in North Dakota. I spent my first 10 years in Virginia but I consider Texas my home. I lived in the Lone Star State through college and immediately fell in love with its wild places.
Living in San Antonio, I was close to the hill country and about a six hour drive from the national parks of Texas. I have always enjoyed taking photos, even when all I had was a phone! My friends and I went on a few week long Spring Break road trips and that really sparked my love for travel. Pairing these two passions seemed like the obvious next step, so I made it happen!
Why I Love the Great State of Texas
I think Texas has much more to offer than people realize. It’s a gorgeous state and it never fails to captivate me. Between the Gulf Coast, the mountains in Big Bend Country and the Central Plains – there is something to see around every corner. Flowing rivers, streams and springs connect these regions – creating an incredible outdoor scene throughout the state.
I love all of these areas but West Texas has my heart. The mountains at the national parks of Texas fall within the Chihuahuan Desert, creating an epic high desert region. Small towns like Marfa, Marathon and Terlingua are home to local artists, chic vacation rentals and eclectic music scenes. These are the perfect stopping points for all my amazing West Texas adventures.
My Experiences at Guadalupe Mountains National Park
I first visited Guadalupe Mountains National Park in 2016. It was a quick trip to hike Guadalupe Peak and have two nights of car camping in the Pine Springs Campground. I have been to the park several times since, finding something new to love each time. My latest visit was with my fiance. It was a small part of a much larger West Texas trip but it was our favorite stop.
This park offers many experiences. I have hiked, car camped, backpacked and star gazed here. I have seen the sunset and sunrise from the highest point in Texas, a mountainside full of bighorn sheep, the Milky Way cutting the sky in half, the triangular shadow of Guadalupe Peak, javelinas chasing each other in the woods and fall colors – all within the confines of this park!
Best Things To Do at Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Planning a trip to Guadalupe Mountains National Park can be dependent on a few different things like how much time you have, what time of year you are going and what your comfort level in the outdoors is. For the average traveler, car camping and hiking to the peak may be enough.
For those who visit during November, a hike through McKittrick Canyon to view the fall colors is a must! If you are more experienced and feel comfortable backpacking, a multi-day backcountry trip might be the best way to spend your time. If you visit with plenty of time, you can do all of these activities: bird watch, stargaze and maybe add in a few other hikes.
Guadalupe Peak is unforgettable during the day but even better during golden hour. Close your eyes and imagine – the warm colors of a desert sunrise creeping in beneath you, as you feel the crisp mountain air under the night’s fading stars. It truly amazes me every time I’m up there. So if there is one thing you absolutely must-do it’s this epic peak at sunset!
Favorite Memory from Guadalupe Mountains National Park
The best memory I have from the Guadalupe Mountains came from my most recent trip. I went backpacking with my fiance. We set up camp near the peak and watched distant thunderstorms roll over New Mexico during dinner. The next morning, we hiked to the peak. This was one of the most beautiful sunrises I have ever seen. I often look back on this moment fondly.
Accommodation at Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Whites City and Carlsbad are both in New Mexico. These towns are the closest to the Guadalupe Mountains. However, if you are visiting the park, I recommend camping either in the developed campground or in the backcountry. Unlike Big Bend National Park on the south Texas border, this park doesn’t have a huge Airbnb scene nearby, or cabins inside the park.
Visiting Big Bend National Park Along the Way
While there is nothing in super close proximity to the park, all of West Texas should be on your bucket list as well! Driving from Guadalupe Mountains National Park to Big Bend National Park is a fantastic trip in itself. As previously mentioned, there are many small towns all throughout the Big Bend region with outdoor activities in between. It makes for a fantastic trip!
Need to Know Before you Go
For most folks visiting this park, it would be best experienced as part of a larger trip. Not because it doesn’t have enough to offer but because I say go big or go home! There is so much to do in West Texas. Take advantage of being here and see as much as you can. Visit Guadalupe Mountains, Big Bend and Carlsbad Caverns. This is doable and will be a trip well spent.