Spring in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas

While on our way to the Trinity Site in New Mexico, I poured over our route.  Texas… well. Texas is big. And while I’ve been to a lot of it, I had never traveled to the West Texas area near El Paso. It is sometimes called “Big Bend Country” after our flashiest national park. But Big Bend is down on the border of Mexico, and we have another often forgotten national park in Texas called the Guadalupe Mountains up on the border of New Mexico.  And I was determined to get there!

Located in the Guadalupe Mountains, Guadalupe Mountains National Park contains the highest spot in Texas. – Guadalupe Peak.  Clearly, there is a naming structure at work here.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park is one of the least visited National Parks in the US, ranking #12.   With five of those being hard to get to parks in Alaska, and one being American Samoa way out in the Pacific, that’s pretty significant.

Guadalupe National Park in Spring
Blooming yucca in front of El Capitan

What does that mean?  It means there aren’t many people to run into.  It also means there aren’t a lot of amenities.  You know how there are a crazy amount of hotels and places to eat at the Grand Canyon?  Yeah – don’t expect that.  There aren’t places to stay near there if you don’t want to camp.   We stayed in Carlsbad, NM and we drove all the way to El Paso to have lunch.

But it was absolutely worth the trip.

El Capitan in Spring
Prickly Pear Cactus against the Guadalupe Mountains

I loved Guadalupe National Park, even if we were only able to spend a few hours there while driving through. It’s a hard park to get to, and an even harder park to stay near, but it’s beautiful.  I wish we could have stayed longer, and I definitely want to return. It would be great to visit in the fall when the leaves are changing in McKittrick Canyon, or when we have more time and can hike up El Capitan. It is very close to Carlsbad Caverns National Park, so it would be a great joint trip for the family to visit both of those parks in the same swoop.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park
There are miles of trails to explore.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
El Capitan is one of my favorite landscapes to photograph in Texas.