Guadalupe Mountains National Park is in the Guadalupe Mountains of West Texas and contains Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas at 8,749 feet in elevation. Located east of El Paso, it also contains El Capitan, long used as a landmark by people traveling along the old route later followed by the Butterfield Overland Mail stagecoach line. The restored Frijole Ranch House is now a small museum of local ranching history and is the trailhead for Smith Spring. The park covers 86,367 acres and is in the same mountain range as Carlsbad Caverns National Park which is located about 25 miles to the north in New Mexico. Numerous well-established trails exist in the park for hiking and horse-riding. The Guadalupe Peak Trail offers perhaps the most outstanding views in the park. Climbing over 3,000 feet to the summit of Guadalupe Peak, the trail winds through pinyon pine and Douglas-fir forests and offers spectacular views of El Capitan and the vast Chihuahuan Desert.
The park also contains McKittrick Canyon. During the Fall, McKittrick comes alive with a blaze of color from the turning Bigtooth Maples, in stark contrast with the surrounding Chihuahuan Desert. A trail in the canyon leads to a stone cabin built in the early 1930s, formerly the vacation home of Wallace Pratt, a petroleum geologist who donated the land in order to establish the park.
Altitude Gain: 11680.1', Loss: -11686.6', Start: 5851.5', End: 5845.0'
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