Guadalupe Ridge Trail (GRT) In New Mexico

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

  • Trail System: National Recreation Trail
  • State: New Mexico
  • Length: 100 miles.
  • Type: Hiking.
  • Surface: Dirt
  • Managed By: National Park Service
  • Permit Required?: Yes
  • Website:

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 vital link for military expeditions, including the U.S. Army’s exploration of the region and campaigns against Native American tribes.

In the early 20th century, the GRT gained recognition as a scenic and recreational trail. The Guadalupe Mountains National Park was established in 1972, encompassing the GRT within its boundaries. Today, the trail attracts hikers, backpackers, and nature enthusiasts who explore its historical significance and enjoy the breathtaking landscapes of the Guadalupe Mountains. The Guadalupe Ridge Trail stands as a testament to the rich history and cultural heritage of the region, connecting the past with the present.

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 such, it does not offer many amenities typically found in more developed areas. However, here are some amenities available at or near the Guadalupe Ridge Trail:

1. Restrooms: There are restrooms available at the trailhead and visitor center in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park. However, along the trail itself, there are no designated restroom facilities.

2. Parking: There is parking available at the trailhead of the Guadalupe Ridge Trail. Visitors can park their vehicles and begin their hike from there.

3. Camping sites: The Guadalupe Mountains National Park offers several designated camping areas, including the Pine Springs Campground and the Dog Canyon Campground. These campgrounds provide facilities such as tent pads, picnic tables, fire rings, and restrooms.

4. Picnic areas: There are picnic areas available at the Pine Springs Visitor Center in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park. These areas provide picnic tables and shaded spots for visitors to enjoy their meals.

5. Water sources: Along the Guadalupe Ridge Trail, there are limited water sources. It is essential for hikers to carry enough water for their entire journey, as well as water filtration or purification systems to treat any available water sources they may encounter.

6. Trail markers: The Guadalupe Ridge Trail is marked with trail signs and markers to help hikers navigate the route. These markers are essential for staying on the trail and avoiding getting lost in the rugged terrain.

7. Wildlife viewing: While not a traditional amenity, the Guadalupe Ridge Trail offers opportunities for wildlife viewing. Visitors may encounter various species of birds, reptiles, mammals, and insects along the trail.

It is important to note that the Guadalupe Ridge Trail is a challenging and remote trail, and visitors should come prepared with appropriate gear, supplies, and knowledge of backcountry hiking and camping.

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 and demanding hiking experience. With its rugged terrain and steep ascents, the GRT is considered to be of moderate to difficult difficulty level. Hikers should be prepared for long and strenuous sections, as well as exposure to extreme weather conditions. The trail requires a good level of physical fitness, as well as navigation skills, as it can be easy to lose the path in certain areas. However, those who are up for the challenge will be rewarded with breathtaking views, diverse landscapes, and a sense of accomplishment upon completing this exhilarating adventure.

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 near Guadalupe Pass, these sand dunes provide a unique desert experience and offer opportunities for sandboarding and photography.

6. Frijole Ranch: A historic site within Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Frijole Ranch showcases the region’s ranching history and offers a glimpse into the past.

7. Devil’s Hall Trail: A popular side trail along the GRT, Devil’s Hall Trail takes hikers through a narrow canyon with towering rock walls and unique geological formations.

8. Williams Ranch: Another historic site along the GRT, Williams Ranch was a working ranch in the early 1900s and now serves as a reminder of the area’s ranching heritage.

9. Guadalupe Peak Trail: While not directly on the GRT, this trail leads to the summit of Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas, and offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.

10. Pine Springs Campground: Located within Guadalupe Mountains National Park, this campground serves as a base for hikers exploring the GRT and offers stunning views of the surrounding peaks.

These are just a few examples of the scenic views, historical sites, and natural landmarks that can be found along the Guadalupe Ridge Trail. Exploring this trail will provide hikers with a diverse range of experiences and a deeper appreciation for the natural beauty and rich history of the region.

Usage Guidelines

– Pets are allowed on the Guadalupe Ridge Trail (GRT), but they must be kept on a leash at all times.
– There are no specific seasonal restrictions for using the GRT. It is open year-round.
– Camping is not allowed along the trail. Visitors must camp at designated campsites or areas.
– Leave no trace principles should be followed, including packing out all trash and minimizing impact on the environment.
– Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the GRT. It is a non-motorized trail.
– Hunting or fishing is not permitted on the trail.
– Visitors are encouraged to stay on the designated trail and not venture off into sensitive areas or private property.
– Open fires are not allowed on the trail. Use only designated fire pits or stoves where permitted.
– Bicycles are allowed on the GRT, but riders should yield to hikers and follow any specific trail rules for cyclists.
– It is recommended to check for any trail closures or restrictions before heading out, as conditions may change due to weather or maintenance.

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, with temperatures ranging from the 60s to 80s Fahrenheit (15-27 degrees Celsius). The wildflowers are in full bloom, creating a vibrant and picturesque landscape along the trail. This is also a great time to spot various bird species that migrate through the area.

In the fall, from September to November, the temperatures start to cool down, ranging from the 50s to 70s Fahrenheit (10-21 degrees Celsius). The foliage begins to change, painting the trail with beautiful autumn colors. The crowds are generally smaller during this time, allowing for a more peaceful and immersive hiking experience.

It’s important to note that the GRT may have seasonal closures due to extreme weather conditions. Winter, from December to February, can bring freezing temperatures, snow, and ice, making the trail hazardous and difficult to navigate. It is advisable to check with the park authorities for any closures or restrictions before planning your visit during this time.

Additionally, summer, from June to August, can be scorching hot, with temperatures often exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius). The heat can be intense and potentially dangerous, especially for those not accustomed to such conditions. It is crucial to carry plenty of water and take necessary precautions if you choose to hike during the summer months.

In conclusion, the best times to visit the Guadalupe Ridge Trail are during the spring and fall seasons when the weather is mild, and the landscapes are at their most vibrant. However, it is essential to be aware of any seasonal closures or extreme weather conditions that may affect your hiking plans.


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 due to the trail’s remote location and lack of signage.
5. Wildlife Encounters: Be cautious of encounters with potentially dangerous wildlife, including snakes, bears, and mountain lions.
6. Altitude: The trail reaches high elevations, so be aware of the effects of altitude sickness and acclimatize accordingly.
7. Emergency Communication: Cell phone reception is limited or non-existent, so consider carrying a satellite phone or emergency beacon for communication.
8. Trail Conditions: Check for recent trail conditions and closures before embarking on the hike, as the trail may be affected by weather or maintenance.
9. Leave No Trace: Practice Leave No Trace principles by packing out all trash, minimizing campfire impact, and respecting the natural environment.
10. Hiking Permits: Check if any permits or reservations are required before starting the hike, as regulations may vary depending on the section of the trail.

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 is home to a wide range of plant and animal species, some of which are considered rare or threatened. The conservation status of these species is closely linked to the preservation of their habitats along the trail. Efforts are made to maintain the natural vegetation and prevent the spread of non-native plants that could disrupt the delicate balance of the ecosystem. Furthermore, the park enforces regulations to minimize human disturbance and protect sensitive wildlife habitats, ensuring the long-term viability of the species that rely on the trail for survival. Overall, the conservation status of the Guadalupe Ridge Trail reflects the commitment to preserving its ecological value and safeguarding the natural heritage of the region.

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