Returning only twice since the 1970s, I first learned about hiking up the highest location in my state from my Texas State University Journalism (then Southwest Texas State University) professor, David Yates, in 1977.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
He published, for a .90 to $1.50, an 11 1/2″×14 3/4″ newspaper, Cedar Rock, for poets and writers that was circulated and purchased in bookstores across the nation, but especially in the Southwest. I was fortunate to have a poem, articles and photos occasionally included.
Yates enthusiastically wrote and mentioned his hikes up Guadalupe Peak in Cedar Rock and in class.
During a long weekend, I joined Mr. Yates and others on a caravan trip from San Marcos to the El Paso area for one of his hikes up the 8,751 foot peak.
I learned that Guadalupe Peak is much more than the Lone Star State’s highest point. Guadalupe Mountains National Park has since become the destination for one of the state’s most epic hikes.
The Guadalupe Peak Trail ascends about 3,000 feet for more than eight miles round trip. The complete journey took us almost eight hours passing pine and fir trees. I saw my first ever madrone tree as we trekked through breathtaking high desert terrain.
Reaching the peak, we were rewarded with a spectacular view of miles of the surrounding desert and mountains, a vista that can’t be beat.
That shared journey is a wonderful memory, especially watching Mr. Yates’ quiet enthusiasm as he pulled out a journal. Away from the other hikers, he sat high above Texas alone and began writing.
An entrance fee of $10 per person (16 years of age and older) is required; entrance fees/passes permit 1-7 consecutive days of use in this national park.
Holders of the Annual, Senior, Military, 4th grade and Access Pass can bring in 3 adults free of charge under their pass. Any pass must be displayed in a vehicle while in the national park.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park Annual Pass – $35.00
This pass is valid for entrance into Guadalupe Mountains National Park for one year from the month of purchase. The pass admits up to four adults in a private vehicle and is non-transferable; visitors under 16 years of age are free. You can purchase this pass at the Pine Springs Visitor Center.
Pine Springs Visitor Center is the park’s main visitor center and headquarters. Visitors can pay entrance and camping fees, tour the museum, purchase items from the park bookstore, pick up brochures, maps, and obtain backpacking permits here.
- There is no gasoline available in the park. If you are traveling from (El Paso) Texas, Dell City is the closest town with amenities such as gasoline, diesel, food, and ice. When traveling from New Mexico, Whites City is the last place that offers gas, diesel, food and ice.
- We’re not kidding. No gas is available for 35 miles in either direction from the visitor center. Plan accordingly.
- Campgrounds offer primitive dry camping for both tents and RVs. Other than restrooms and potable water, there are no other amenities. There are no lodges in the park.