GUADALUPE MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK
Short hikes, long hikes, or go for the big one, all the way to the top of the tallest mountain in Texas! But be prepared for a MAJOR hike to get to the top of 8,749 foot Guadalupe Peak. I didn't make it.
I tried, but a long winter of sitting around the house looking out at the snow had flabbed more muscles than I thought.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park is almost as far west as you can go in the state of Texas. It's on highway 62/180 110 miles east of El Paso and 55 miles sw of Carlsbad, New Mexico. SO, if you're visiting Carlsbad caverns, this is a short side trip. Come on down for picnic, if nothing else.
The premier hike, of course, is up to Guadalupe Peak, but there are a lot of shorter and almost as interesting hikes.
There are 10 back country campsites, you have to have a permit, but they're free at the park headquarters. There is a 4-wheeler drive, seven pretty rough miles to an historic ranch.
If you're going to do the Guadalupe Peak hike, check the weather and get an early morning start. This is a moderately difficult hike, about 8 1/2 miles round trip. Going up is just that, the trail does nothing but go UP, and steeply so. The average hiker in GOOD shape will take 5 hours to make the hike, but 6 or more hours is not anything to be ashamed of.
The Park's website is here.