Guadalupe National Park - McKittrick Canyon - Member Hike

Hike Name: Guadalupe National Park - McKittrick Canyon
Country: United States
State: Texas
Nearby Town: Carlsbad, NM
Rating: 4 stars
Directions: 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.
Total Hike Distance: 18.95 miles
Hike Difficulty: Moderate
Permit Required: Yes
Hike Type: Roundtrip, Loop Hike
Hike Starts/Ends: Visitor Center
Trails Used: McKittrick Canyon and Permian Reef Trail
Backcountry Campsites: Yes
Backcountry Water Sources: None
Management: National Park Service
Contact Information: Guadalupe Mountains National Park
HC 60 Box 400
Salt Flat, Texas 79847
915-828-3251 ~ 915-828-3269 (fax)
Best Season: Spring, Fall
Users: Hikers
Road Conditions: Primary Paved Roads, Maintained Gravel or Dirt Roads
Hike Summary: This is an interesting overnight hike which takes you to the highest point in Texas, Guadalupe Peak. McKittrick Canyon itself is an isolated bowl shaped valley with an eco-system all its own. Pine forests, beautiful little streams, historic ruins (including a Butterfield Stage line stop) gelogical formations from the time this area was under the sea, this area has it all. Conditions are a little strange, because no fires are allowed at any time of year, and you are not allowed to take water from the stream that runs through the canyon. All backcountry camping must be done at pre-approved sites, and tents must be set up on pre-existing hard spots. The Pecos River also runs through this area, and you are allowed to use it as a water source. In McKittrick Canyon itself, the water is clear enough that you can actually see the Rainbow Trout swimming in it. During the Fall months, the changing leaves in the Canyon make for great photo opportunities. Camping is not permitted in McKittrick Canyon, as it is a day-use area. However, it makes for a great place to spend the day, and camp sites are only a couple of miles away as darkness approaches.

Permits for camping are free, but they are issued in limited numbers, and are first come, first serve. Thunderstorms come almost every afternoon in the height of the Summer, and daytime temperatures are 95 +. Winds of over 45 mph can come out of nowhere. However in the Spring and Fall, this is a great trip with tremendous scenery.



10,450 points


Trip Reports

  Date Rating Duration Hiker
Guadalupe National Park - McKittrick Canyon - May 22, 2004 May 22, 2004 4 stars 6 hours NationalParkHiker
Guadalupe National Park - McKittrick Canyon - October 3, 2000 October 3, 2000 4 stars 2 days, 8 hours Oshow


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