Guadalupe Ridge Trail (GRT) In Texas

Here is everything you need to know about the Guadalupe Ridge Trail (GRT):

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: Texas
  • Length: 100 miles.
  • Type: Hiking.
  • Surface: Dirt
  • Managed By: National Park Service
  • Permit Required?: Yes
  • Website: Info not available.

The Guadalupe Ridge Trail (GRT) holds a significant place in the history of the southwestern United States. This trail, located in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, stretches for approximately 110 miles along the Texas-New Mexico border. The history of the GRT dates back to the early 19th century when it was used by Native American tribes, primarily the Mescalero Apache and the Comanche, as a trade route and for hunting and gathering.

With the arrival of Spanish explorers in the 16th century, the GRT gained importance as a part of the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, a major trade route connecting Mexico City with Santa Fe. Spanish settlers and traders utilized this trail to transport goods, such as silver, textiles, and livestock, between the Spanish colonies. The GRT played a crucial role in the economic development of the region during the Spanish colonial period.

During the mid-19th century, the GRT witnessed increased traffic due to the California Gold Rush. Thousands of fortune seekers traveled along this trail in search of gold and other precious minerals. The trail also served as a military route during the American Civil War, as Union and Confederate troops moved through the region.

In the early 20th century, the GRT gained recognition as a scenic and recreational trail. The Guadalupe Mountains National Park was established in 1972, and the GRT became an integral part of the park’s trail system. Today, the GRT attracts hikers, backpackers, and nature enthusiasts who explore its rugged terrain and enjoy the breathtaking vistas of the Guadalupe Mountains. The trail’s historical significance and natural beauty make it a cherished destination for those seeking to connect with the rich heritage of the region.

While On The Trail

Access Points

1. Pine Springs Visitor Center: This is the starting point of the Guadalupe Ridge Trail. It is located in Guadalupe Mountains National Park in Texas.

2. McKittrick Canyon Trailhead: This trailhead is located within Guadalupe Mountains National Park and provides access to the Guadalupe Ridge Trail.

3. Dog Canyon Trailhead: Situated in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, this trailhead is another access point for the Guadalupe Ridge Trail.

4. Salt Basin Dunes Trailhead: Located in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, this trailhead provides access to the Guadalupe Ridge Trail and offers stunning views of the Salt Basin Dunes.

5. Guadalupe Peak Trailhead: This trailhead is also within Guadalupe Mountains National Park and serves as an access point for the Guadalupe Ridge Trail.

6. Carlsbad Caverns National Park: The Guadalupe Ridge Trail extends into Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico, providing access to the trail from this park.

7. Rattlesnake Canyon Trailhead: Situated in Carlsbad Caverns National Park, this trailhead is another access point for the Guadalupe Ridge Trail.

8. Slaughter Canyon Cave Trailhead: Located in Carlsbad Caverns National Park, this trailhead provides access to the Guadalupe Ridge Trail and offers the opportunity to explore Slaughter Canyon Cave.

These are some of the major access points or trailheads along the Guadalupe Ridge Trail.

Transportation Available

1. Guadalupe Ridge Trail Shuttle – Shuttle service specifically for the Guadalupe Ridge Trail, providing convenient transportation for hikers.
2. Local Taxi Service – Reliable taxi service available for transportation to and from the Guadalupe Ridge Trail.
3. Ride-Sharing Service – On-demand ride-sharing service offering transportation options to the Guadalupe Ridge Trail.
4. Public Bus – Local bus service with stops near the Guadalupe Ridge Trail, providing affordable transportation.
5. Bike Rental Shop – Bike rental service for those looking to explore the Guadalupe Ridge Trail on two wheels.
6. Car Rental Agency – Car rental service for those seeking private transportation to the Guadalupe Ridge Trail.
7. Private Transportation Service – Personalized transportation service catering to individual needs for the Guadalupe Ridge Trail.
8. Airport Shuttle – Shuttle service from the nearest airport to the Guadalupe Ridge Trail, ensuring convenient transportation for travelers.


The Guadalupe Ridge Trail (GRT) is a remote and rugged trail located in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park. As it is a wilderness trail, there are limited amenities available. However, here are some amenities you may find at or near the trail:

1. Restrooms: There are no designated restrooms along the trail. However, there are pit toilets available at the Pine Springs Campground, which is the starting point for the GRT.

2. Parking: There is a parking area available at the Pine Springs Visitor Center, which serves as the trailhead for the GRT. Parking is also available at the Pine Springs Campground.

3. Camping Sites: The GRT itself does not have designated camping sites. However, there are backcountry camping options available in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Permits are required for backcountry camping, and they can be obtained from the visitor center.

4. Picnic Areas: There are picnic areas available at the Pine Springs Visitor Center and the Pine Springs Campground. These areas provide picnic tables and grills for visitors to enjoy.

5. Water: It is important to note that water sources along the GRT are limited. Hikers are advised to carry an adequate supply of water and be prepared for long stretches without access to water.

6. Visitor Center: The Pine Springs Visitor Center, located near the trailhead, offers information, exhibits, and a bookstore. It is a great place to gather information about the trail and the park.

7. Ranger Station: The Pine Springs Visitor Center also serves as a ranger station, where visitors can seek assistance, ask questions, and obtain permits for backcountry camping.

It is essential to plan and prepare accordingly when hiking the Guadalupe Ridge Trail, as it is a challenging and remote trail with limited amenities.

Nearby Services

1. Guadalupe Mountains National Park Visitor Center – Provides information and assistance for visitors to the Guadalupe Ridge Trail.
2. Pine Springs Campground – Campground located at the trailhead of the Guadalupe Ridge Trail.
3. Guadalupe Peak Trailhead – Starting point for the Guadalupe Ridge Trail, offering parking and restroom facilities.
4. Dog Canyon Campground – Campground located near the southern end of the Guadalupe Ridge Trail.
5. McKittrick Canyon Visitor Center – Visitor center providing information about the nearby McKittrick Canyon area.
6. Carlsbad Caverns National Park – Nearby national park offering lodging, food services, and emergency services.
7. Whites City – Small community near Carlsbad Caverns National Park, providing lodging and food services.
8. Carlsbad, New Mexico – City with various lodging, food services, and emergency services, located near the trail.
9. El Paso, Texas – City with a wide range of lodging, food services, and emergency services, located within driving distance of the trail.
10. Dell City, Texas – Small town with limited lodging and food services, located near the northern end of the Guadalupe Ridge Trail.

Guadalupe Ridge Trail (GRT) Difficulty Notes

The Guadalupe Ridge Trail (GRT) presents a challenging level of difficulty for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. Spanning approximately 110 miles, this trail traverses rugged terrain and steep elevations, making it a demanding and physically strenuous endeavor. The GRT requires a high level of fitness, endurance, and experience in backcountry navigation. Hikers must be prepared to face unpredictable weather conditions, limited water sources, and remote stretches without cell phone reception. The trail’s technical sections, including rocky terrain and narrow ridges, demand careful footing and a strong sense of balance. Despite its difficulty, the Guadalupe Ridge Trail offers breathtaking views, unique wildlife encounters, and a rewarding sense of accomplishment for those who are up to the challenge.

Features And Attractions

The Guadalupe Ridge Trail (GRT) is a long-distance hiking trail that spans approximately 86 miles along the border of New Mexico and Texas. While there are several scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks along the trail, here are some notable ones:

1. Guadalupe Mountains National Park: The GRT passes through or near this national park, known for its stunning mountain scenery, including the highest peak in Texas, Guadalupe Peak.

2. McKittrick Canyon: Located within Guadalupe Mountains National Park, this scenic canyon offers beautiful fall foliage, diverse plant life, and opportunities for wildlife viewing.

3. El Capitan: A prominent landmark along the GRT, El Capitan is a massive limestone formation that stands tall in the Guadalupe Mountains.

4. Guadalupe Pass: This mountain pass, located on the Texas-New Mexico border, offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape and is a popular spot for stargazing.

5. Salt Basin Dunes: Situated in the Guadalupe Mountains, these sand dunes provide a unique desert experience along the GRT, with opportunities for sandboarding and photography.

6. Frijole Ranch: A historic site within Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Frijole Ranch offers a glimpse into the region’s ranching history and features a visitor center with exhibits.

7. Devil’s Hall Trail: A side trail off the GRT, Devil’s Hall offers a scenic hike through a narrow canyon with towering rock walls and seasonal waterfalls.

8. Williams Ranch: This historic ranch, located near the GRT, provides a glimpse into the area’s ranching heritage and offers opportunities for camping and exploring.

9. Dog Canyon: A picturesque canyon located within Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Dog Canyon offers hiking trails, camping facilities, and stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

10. Guadalupe Peak: As the highest point in Texas, Guadalupe Peak offers hikers on the GRT a challenging but rewarding climb with panoramic views from the summit.

Please note that the GRT is a remote and rugged trail, and it is essential to be well-prepared, carry sufficient supplies, and follow safety guidelines while hiking.

Usage Guidelines

– Pets are allowed on the Guadalupe Ridge Trail but must be kept on a leash at all times.
– Hiking and camping are permitted year-round on the trail.
– Campfires are only allowed in designated fire rings or fire pits.
– Leave no trace principles should be followed, including packing out all trash and waste.
– Hunting and fishing are allowed in accordance with state regulations.
– Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trail.
– Bicycles are allowed on the trail but should yield to hikers and horses.
– Horses are allowed on the trail but riders should be mindful of other trail users.
– Overnight camping requires a permit, which can be obtained from the appropriate land management agency.
– Respect private property and obtain permission before crossing or accessing any private land along the trail.
– Be aware of and follow any additional rules or guidelines set by the specific land management agency responsible for the section of the trail you are on.

Seasonal Information

The Guadalupe Ridge Trail (GRT) is a stunning hiking trail that spans across the Guadalupe Mountains National Park in Texas and the Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico. The best times of the year to visit the GRT largely depend on your preferences and the weather conditions you prefer. However, the spring and fall seasons are generally considered the most favorable for hiking this trail.

During the spring, which typically lasts from March to May, the weather is mild and pleasant, making it an ideal time to explore the GRT. The wildflowers are in full bloom, creating a vibrant and picturesque landscape. The temperatures are comfortable, ranging from the 60s to 80s Fahrenheit (15-27 degrees Celsius), making it perfect for long hikes and enjoying the breathtaking views along the trail.

In the fall, from September to November, the Guadalupe Ridge Trail offers a different kind of beauty. The foliage starts to change colors, painting the landscape with warm hues of red, orange, and yellow. The temperatures are cooler, ranging from the 50s to 70s Fahrenheit (10-21 degrees Celsius), providing a refreshing and enjoyable hiking experience.

It’s important to note that the Guadalupe Mountains National Park experiences seasonal closures due to extreme weather conditions. The park is prone to heavy snowfall during the winter months, typically from December to February. This can lead to temporary closures of the GRT and limited access to certain areas of the park. It’s advisable to check the park’s website or contact the visitor center for the most up-to-date information on closures and trail conditions before planning your visit.

Overall, the best times to visit the Guadalupe Ridge Trail are during the spring and fall seasons when the weather is pleasant, and the natural beauty of the surroundings is at its peak. However, it’s always a good idea to check for any seasonal closures or weather-related advisories to ensure a safe and enjoyable hiking experience.


1. Wheelchair Accessibility: The Guadalupe Ridge Trail (GRT) offers limited wheelchair accessibility, with some sections being paved or having packed gravel surfaces suitable for wheelchair use.
2. Accessible Parking: Designated accessible parking spaces are available near the trailhead, providing convenient access for individuals with disabilities.
3. Accessible Restrooms: Accessible restrooms equipped with grab bars and wider doorways are located at the trailhead, ensuring comfort and convenience for all visitors.
4. Trail Signage: The GRT features clear and visible signage with large fonts and contrasting colors, aiding individuals with visual impairments in navigating the trail.
5. Rest Areas: Along the trail, there are designated rest areas with benches and accessible picnic tables, allowing individuals to take breaks and enjoy the surroundings comfortably.
6. Assistance Animals: Service animals are permitted on the GRT, providing assistance to individuals with disabilities as they navigate the trail.
7. Handrails and Guardrails: Where necessary, the trail is equipped with handrails and guardrails to ensure safety and stability for individuals with mobility impairments.
8. Accessible Viewing Areas: The GRT offers accessible viewing areas at certain points, allowing individuals with disabilities to enjoy scenic vistas and points of interest.
9. Trail Width: The trail is designed to be wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs and other mobility devices, ensuring ease of passage for individuals with disabilities.
10. Accessible Water Fountains: Accessible water fountains are available at the trailhead and other designated areas, providing hydration options for all visitors, including those with disabilities.

Safety Information

1. Trail Difficulty: The Guadalupe Ridge Trail is a challenging and strenuous hike, suitable for experienced hikers only.
2. Weather Conditions: Be prepared for extreme weather conditions, including high temperatures, strong winds, and sudden changes in weather.
3. Water Availability: Carry an ample supply of water, as there are limited water sources along the trail.
4. Navigation Skills: Good map reading and navigation skills are essential, as the trail is not well-marked in some sections.
5. Wildlife Encounters: Be cautious of encounters with wildlife, including snakes, bears, and mountain lions, and take appropriate precautions.
6. Altitude: The trail reaches high elevations, so be aware of the potential effects of altitude sickness and acclimatize accordingly.
7. Emergency Communication: Cell phone reception may be limited or non-existent, so consider carrying a satellite phone or emergency beacon for communication.
8. Leave No Trace: Practice Leave No Trace principles by packing out all trash, minimizing campfire impacts, and respecting the natural environment.
9. Trail Conditions: Check for trail conditions and closures before embarking on the hike, as the trail may be impassable or dangerous during certain times of the year.
10. Hiking Permits: Some sections of the Guadalupe Ridge Trail require permits, so ensure you have the necessary permits before starting your hike.

Conservation Notes

The Guadalupe Ridge Trail (GRT) is a significant natural resource that traverses through diverse ecosystems and habitats, contributing to its conservation status. The trail is located within the Guadalupe Mountains National Park in Texas, which is recognized for its rich biodiversity and unique geological formations. As a result, the GRT is subject to conservation efforts aimed at preserving its ecological integrity and protecting the species that inhabit the area.

The conservation status of the Guadalupe Ridge Trail is considered to be relatively stable. The trail is managed by the National Park Service, which implements various measures to ensure the preservation of the surrounding environment. These efforts include monitoring and managing visitor impacts, controlling invasive species, and conducting research to better understand the ecological dynamics of the area. Additionally, the park collaborates with other conservation organizations and stakeholders to develop strategies for the long-term protection of the trail and its associated ecosystems.

The Guadalupe Ridge Trail also serves as an important corridor for wildlife movement, allowing for the exchange of genetic material and facilitating species migration. This connectivity is crucial for maintaining healthy populations and promoting biodiversity conservation. Efforts are made to minimize disturbances along the trail, such as limiting the construction of new infrastructure and implementing regulations to protect sensitive habitats. By prioritizing the conservation of the Guadalupe Ridge Trail, the aim is to ensure the long-term viability of the ecosystems it traverses and the species that depend on them.

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