Guadalupe Mountains National Park Photos: A Collection of Pics From the Park

The Guadalupe Mountains of western Texas surprised me a lot. I wasn’t expecting a lot from this somewhat remote desert region, but the hiking and the views were pretty incredible.

This collection of Guadalupe Mountains National Park photos includes images from the very top of Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas, at nearly 9000 feet high.

pine springs visitor center

I also have pics from numerous hiking trails in the park, and glimpses from the campgrounds, visitor centers, and other points of interest in the park.

Plus plenty of autumn photos when the leaves are bright red and orange!

All photos by Quirky Travel Guy, except where noted.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park Photos: Hiking Trails

Pics From the Guadalupe Peak Hike

The most epic hike in the park is Guadalupe Peak. Up here, at 8751 feet elevation, you can see for miles into the distance.

guadalupe mountains sunrise photo

I hiked this trail first thing in the morning, which meant I got gorgeous sunrise views as I began to ascend the mountain.

It’s about 3000 feet of elevation gain on this trek, which is significant. Some parts of the hike are pretty strenuous, with a steep uphill grade:

guadalupe peak hike

Steep drop around this curve!

peak trail ridge

Here’s a portion of the Guadalupe Peak Trail revealing the autumn colors of late October:

guadalupe mountains national park photos - autumn view

The marker at the summit signifies the highest point in the state of Texas!

guadalupe peak marker summit

Bring a lunch and sit up here as long as you like to enjoy the incredible views.

peak view

Pics From the Devil’s Hall Trail

Fun fact: Did you know that Texas was underneath an ocean 260 million years ago? You can see evidence of this on hikes like Devil’s Hall.

devil's hall trail - guadalupe mountains national park photos

Check out this natural staircase! It’s such a perfect set of stairs that it feels man-made, but it’s totally natural. Imagine water flowing over these stairs millions of years ago.

natural staircase

Here’s a view of the Devil’s Hall hike, as the trail passes through sections with taller trees.

best hiking trails

And then once you make it to the end, the Devil’s Hall corridor is such a cool sight!

guadalupe mountains - devil's hall canyon

Photos From Other Guadalupe Mountains NP Hiking Trails

The Bear Canyon Trail is a steep uphill climb that leads to some great views. It’s one of the few hikes here with a lot of shade.

And, in one case, a boulder lodged against the mountain. You have to walk under it to pass through this section and continue up the trail.

bear canyon boulder hike

I visited in late October and got to see some of those beautiful colors high up on the Bear Canyon Trail.

bear canyon trail fall colors

The Permian Reef Trail is a hike with several markers that denote interesting geologic sights.

permian reef trail - guadalupe mountains np photos

From the Permian Reef Trail, you can look down to see the McKittrick Canyon Trail in the valley below:

guadalupe mountains pictures - mckittrick canyon

The Smith Spring Trail leads to a tiny spring, which is essentially a small pond with a trickle of a waterfall.

smith spring trail

A selfie while surrounded by awesome scenery on the Tejas Trail.

tejas trail selfie

If you follow the Tejas Trail from the Pine Springs Trailhead, these two boulders will be among the first landmarks on the hike:

tejas trail boulders

More Attractions in Guadalupe Mountains NP

Guadalupe Mountains NP isn’t located near any big cities except El Paso, which is two hours west. Because of its somewhat remote location, it’s one of the least-visited national parks in America.

The good news about the drive is that you’ll be able to see the park from a great distance away. In fact, the prominent El Capitan rock is visible from 45 miles away when you’re driving in from the west on Route 62/180!

el capitan distant

El Capitan is the most photogenic spot in the park. It’s hard to take a bad picture of this famous peak.

el capitan guadalupe mountains

El Capitan looks very different when you view it from above! It looks like bare rock, but the top of it is covered by forest.

When I hiked to Guadalupe Peak, I had a chance to look down on El Capitan from above:

el capitan peak

Even at night, there’s no mistaking El Capitan.

el capitan at night

Frijole Ranch

The Frijole Ranch Cultural Museum is among the park’s highlights, although the museum itself rarely seems to be open.

frijole ranch museum

This ranch dates back to the 1870s. Even if the museum is closed, you can walk around to see the old buildings.

The bright red building is the old schoolhouse.

frijole ranch schoolhouse

Pinery Station

This historic 1850s mail station is just a short walk or drive from the main visitor center. Not much is left, but you can still see part of the mail route path, plus one wall that remains standing from the station building.

This is one of only a few U.S. national parks with sand dunes, including Kobuk Valley National Park in Alaska, Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado, White Sand Dunes National Park in New Mexico, Indiana Dunes National Park, and Death Valley National Park in California.

From the top of Guadalupe Peak, I could just make out the Guadalupe Mountains NP sand dunes in the distance, behind the summit marker.

sand dunes distant

Sunset Photos From Guadalupe Mountains

The sunsets in this part of Texas can be spectacular! That’s true no matter what part of the park you’re in.

guadalupe mountains national park sunset

I can personally recommend a good sunset spot. It’s just west of the Pine Springs Visitor Center.

If you drive between Pine Springs and Route 54 toward Van Horn, you’ll spot a small picnic pullout as you head away from the mountain.

watching sunset guadalupe mts

Wait here as the sun retreats behind the horizon, and you’ll see the brilliant red and orange hues.

sunset image

Visitor Center Photos

The Pine Springs Visitor Center serves as the park headquarters and gift shop.

guadalupe visitor centers

There is a small gift shop in the Pine Springs Visitor Center where you can buy park souvenirs and magnets.

gift shop magnets

The visitor center has some exhibits related to its mountains and wildlife. The only coyote I got to see while I was in the park was this stuffed one inside the visitor center:

coyotes guadalupe mountains national park

There are two large welcome signs near the visitor center, so you can take selfies with your friends and family to commemorate the visit!

guadalupe mountains national park sign
guadalupe mountains welcome sign

Wildlife and Plants of the Park

I can’t say a saw a huge amount of wildlife here. But I definitely kept my eyes open. The signage constantly reminds you that you’re in mountain lion territory.

mountain lions guadalupe

The park advises visitors on how to identify animal tracks:

wildlife tracks

I saw plenty of animal scat on some of the trails. Most of it had berries in it. I was hoping it came from a coyote or squirrel rather than a bear, but I guess I’ll never know for sure.

animal scat

A note at the visitor center said that a lot of the scat seen in the area came from the ringtail, a relative of the raccoon which loves to eat berries.

The main animals I encountered here were birds. They love the Frijole Ranch and Smith Spring areas, since they have so much water. I also saw a surprising number of birds up high on the Guadalupe Peak hike.

This photo from the National Park Service shows a Mexican owl lurking in one of the trees. They are spotted here occasionally. You can see how well they blend in.

mexican owl guadalupe mountains
A Mexican owl in Guadalupe Mountains National Park. (NPS)

There aren’t a ton of colorful plants in the desert, but you can find a few here and there.

cacti guadalupe np
cactus fruit

Getting Here and Nearby Attractions

Guadalupe Mountains National Park is located in the western end of Texas, where New Mexico meets the Lone Star state.

You have to be really motivated to make it to this part of Texas. The drive from El Paso is two hours. You could stop here on a road trip from Los Angeles to Austin.

guadalupe mountains

Guadalupe Mountains NP is actually just a 45-minute drive from Carlsbad Caverns, the much more popular national park in New Mexico.

Many people visit Carlsbad Caverns without making it down to Guadalupe Mountains NP. I was guilty of that the first time I visited the caverns.

But I made up for it with a belated visit this year. It’s so easy to combine both into a single trip!

See VisitGuadalupeMountains.com for a more thorough explanation of things to do at Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

Also, Prada Marfa, the famous art installation designed to look like a Prada store in the desert, is about an hour south of the park. Make sure to stop by there if you are in the area.

Thanks for checking out my Guadalupe Mountains National Park photos!

Check Out My Other National Park Guides:
Great Basin (Nevada)
Isle Royale (Michigan)
Voyageurs (Minnesota)
Great Smoky Mountains (Tennessee)
Mammoth Cave (Kentucky)

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