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Free Traveling Guides » States » Texas » Greater Texas

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Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas

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Roughly one hundred miles east of El Paso, Highway 62/180 climbs toward Carlsbad Caverns along the southern fringes of the Guadalupe Mountains, once a stronghold of the Mescalero Apache. Guadalupe Mountains National Park contains the southern end of the Guadalupe Mountains, an isolated range surrounded in all directions by desert. Guadalupe is known for its varied wildlife, interesting geology, and photogenic views.

The national park is very much a hiking and camping destination, barely penetrated by roads and without accommodation, food or even gas. It is possible to hike right to the top of Guadalupe Peak, at 8749 ft the highest point in Texas, but most walkers head for the painlessly flat trek through McKittrick Canyon, passing from bare desert into lush mountain forests beside sheer canyon walls. Hiking in Guadalupe is a great way to both see and experience the park. Self-guided nature trails are located at Pine Springs and Dog Canyon.

The park has a climate typical of colder regions, with pine, fir and aspen trees. The creatures which roam here include elk, mountain lions and black bears. Surrounding the mountains lie the plains of the Chihuahuan Desert, where several species of cacti grow. The canyons of the park support a rich mixture of many kinds of trees, bushes and wildlife.

A number of beautiful wildflowers bloom in early spring in McKittrick Canyon. Many, such as Lion Heart and Chapline Columbine are only found in this region and nowhere else because of its unique geography and climate.

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