"Guadalupe Mountain National Park by Kimberlyann" Top 5 Page for this destination Guadalupe Mountains National Park by KimberlyAnn
Guadalupe Mountains National Park Travel Guide: 110 reviews and 251 photos
Located in western Texas, only about 40 miles from Carlsbad Caverns, this 86,416 acre-park is one of the lesser-visited parks in the United States. The Guadalupe Mountains are the remnants of one of the finest examples of an ancient marine fossil reef on Earth. This reef formed about 260-270 million years ago, and geologists from around the world visit here. These mountains have often been called the "Island in the Desert." The mountains are a rugged limestone reef that rises up over 5,000 feet from the Chihuahuan Desert that surrounds it. Here you will find tall mountains, dramatically carved canyons, desert scrub, and shady groves, as well as wildlife and many birds. The mountains raise up with sheer straight walls, the vegetation seems sparse, but put on your hiking boots and hit the trails. You will find springs surrounded with maples, oaks, and walnut trees, wooded canyons, and high-mountain slopes. The highest point in Texas, Guadalupe Peek, at 8,749 ft lies within this mountain park. Within the desert you will find creosote bush, agave, and cactus as well as lizards, snakes, kangaroo rats, and many other mainly nocturnal animals. In the canyons you will find trees such as ponderosa pines and the Texas madrone. Higher up you will find areas of Douglas fir, ponderosa, and limber pine trees. This park is open all year, with occasional closures due to weather.
The Pratt Lodge may be found by hiking 2.3 miles (one way) along the McKittrick Canyon trail. As you walk you will cross the stream twice before you arrive at this historic lodge. William Pratt, a petroleum geologist loved the beauty and geology of the Guadalupe Mountains. In the l930s he purchased land in the canyon where he build a stone lodge. This cabin became his part time home and summer retreat. In 1957 Pratt donated 5,632 acres of his land to the National Park Service so that the environment would be protected and enjoyed by others. His gift along with the purchase of 70,000 acres from J.C. Hunter Jr.'s Guadalupe Mountain Ranch ensured that Guadalupe Mountains National Park would be authorized by congress in 1966. This national park officially opened to the public in 1972. Wallace Pratt died at the age of 96 on Christmas Day, 1981, but his stone cabin remains as a monument to this pioneer conservationist. Volunteers staff the Pratt Lodge for most of the year. In April when we were there we found a knowledgeable volunteer at the lodge, who told us about the history of the area. You may look inside this stone cabin or picnic on the outside tables nearby. Water and restrooms are also available, except during the coldest winter months.
- Pros:This is Texas's largest designated wilderness, and is mostly backcountry.
- Cons:If you are unable to hike or do not enjoy hiking you will find very little to do in Guadalupe.
- In a nutshell:This park is for people who love to hike and backpack, being filled with wonderful hiking trails.
Actually, if you are in Guadalupe, you are off the beaten path. But since you are there, you should take the time to... more travel advice
Watch out for harmful desert animals such as rattlesnakes. Bring maps with you if you are planning on hiking as the park... more travel advice
KimberlyAnn's Related Pages
Guadalupe Mountains National Park Travel Guide
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- "Guadalupe Mountains National Park: Two Itineraries"
- "Guadalupe Mountain National Park by Kimberlyann"
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