Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Hiking Guadalupe Mountains National Park

I have to be at my sister's place in Austin for Thanksgiving so I'm slowly camping my way back to central Texas.  Guadalupe Mountains National Park near Dell City, TX contains the highest peak in Texas, Guadalupe Peak at 8749 feet, and since it was along my route to Austin I stopped in to hike some of the park's trails.  The park encompasses 134 square miles so there's a ton of trails to choose from.  The Forest Service lets you stay in the hikers  parking area in your RV for $8 per night ($4 with your Golden Pass) so I took them up on it (no hookups).  Since I stayed in the RV spaces in the hiking parking lot and not at the park's actual campground I'll let the picture below be my review of the hikers parking lot:

A parking lot is pretty much a parking lot.

It still gets into the hi-80's even at altitude this time of year so I got off to an early start to beat the heat after I read the hiking info sign.

Good to know!
About 100 yards along the access trail you get a choice of the trails (and the degree of difficulty) that are available.

These are the hardest trails, there are some easier ones a little further in.

Not feeling up to an 8.4 mile round-trip I took the easier Frijole trail which initially skirted a giant rock field.

This thing ran for a lot longer than just this view.

The trails were always well marked when merging or diverging with other trails so it was easy to find your way.

The Tejas trail started climbing pretty quickly so I stayed on Frijole.

Here's a sample of what you hike on:

The Forest Service trims back cacti that impinge on the trails.
There is some non-desert vegetation the Frijole trail runs through:

Trees!

I drank all my water on the outward leg of the Frijole trail (the climate is really arid) so I headed back to the Mini for about a two hour session, but I'll definitely come back to Guadalupe Mountains National Park to try some of the other trails, maybe even a tough one!

There were some young guys geared up to climb this!
Thanks for reading!