While Texas is famous for its history and desert scenery, it is not known for its mountain hiking. However, if you head into the Chihuahuan Desert, you will find the Guadalupe Mountain Range, with the highest peak in Texas. Hiking up Guadalupe Peak is no small feat and will undoubtedly be well worth the bragging rights. So, how long does Guadalupe Peak in Texas take to hike?
Hiking Guadalupe Peak in Texas takes an average hiker between six and eight hours to complete. The hike is 8.5 miles long at an elevation gain of 3000 feet. The peak is 8751 feet high, making it the highest point in Texas. Hikers are warned to come prepared, as this is not an easy hike.
Although Guadalupe Peak is less than a third of the height of Mount Everest, this hike should not be underestimated. There are many challenges and dangers when hiking Guadalupe Peak. We will talk about these in more detail. There are also some great campsites available for tired hikers. We will detail the campsites and what you should pack when hiking Guadalupe Peak.
How Long Does One Take To Hike The Guadalupe Peak?
Hiking the Guadalupe Peak takes roughly six to eight hours, depending on the weather and your fitness level. While it is possible to reach the summit within a single day, many people prefer to do the hike over two days. Although this hike is only 8.5 miles long, there are various factors that add to the difficulty and time it takes to complete this hike.
The guidebooks indicate that the Guadalupe Peak hike is very strenuous. However, this is considered an understatement by some who have completed the Guadalupe Peak hike. Several factors contribute to the difficulty of the hike.
As mentioned, Guadalupe Peak has an incline of about 3000 feet. While this is much less than some other mountains, it still means that the oxygen becomes thinner as you move closer to the peak. This will make you feel more tired and have difficulty breathing as you approach the peak.
Apart from the thinning oxygen, Guadalupe Peak is one big uphill climb. There are little to no flat stretches, and at times the path is very narrow. Therefore, you will have to train and improve your fitness before committing to hike Guadalupe Peak.
Remember to take the added weight of your backpack into consideration when preparing for the hike. There are few amenities when hiking to the peak, meaning you will have to carry everything you need, including water. Therefore, train with a loaded backpack to ensure you have the physical capabilities to complete the Guadalupe Peak Hike.
Another challenge of hiking the Guadalupe Peak trail is the weather. During Spring, the temperatures are best for hiking. However, in Spring, there are gale force winds on the Guadalupe Peak trail. These winds can become dangerously strong.
During Summer, you might encounter some lightning storms while hiking to Guadalupe Peak. If there is a lightning storm, you must seek shelter on the low ground as you will be in danger on high ground. There is also a chance of heavy rains, which cause significant temperature drops. Therefore, it is best to be prepared for any weather.
Finally, you may also encounter some dangerous animals while hiking to Guadalupe Peak. Bobcats, mountain lions, and the occasional black bear live in these mountains. Take note of your surroundings when hiking and keep moving if you spot a predator.
Considering all these challenges, you might be wondering if the Guadalupe Peak hike is worth it. Rest assured that hikers who have completed the summit report it is worth the effort. Fortunately, there are also several campsites where you can rest and leave your gear to reach the peak of Guadalupe.
Where To Camp On The Guadalupe Peak Trail
The Guadalupe Peak Trail has many camping sites. Some offer basic amenities, such as portable water, toilets, and payphones. Other campsites, called backcountry campsites, offer no more than a flat surface on which to pitch a tent. None of the campsites on Guadalupe Peak have shower facilities.
For backcountry camping sites, you will need to obtain a permit. You can get the permit at the visitors’ center. Other campsites have fees, usually around $7 per night, also payable at the center.
The two most popular campsites are the Pine Springs campground next to the visitors’ center and the Guadalupe Peak campground, which is located close to the peak. This campground, at 7300 feet, is the highest campground in Texas.
Many hikers leave their gear at this campsite and complete the Guadalupe Peak hike carrying only the necessities. This makes the walk easier, especially considering this thinning oxygen the closer you get to the summit.
While the hike takes between six and eight hours to complete, you should prepare to sleepover at the campsite. If you are fatigued or come across lousy weather, you might need to stop and rest before finishing the hike. Therefore, it is recommended that you pack as though you are going to camp, even if you intend on completing the hike in one day.
This might bring you to the question of what you should pack when hiking the Guadalupe Peak? We have created a list of the essentials to pack below.
What To Take When Hiking The Guadalupe Peak
As you have likely already guessed from this article, there are many things you need to pack when hiking the Guadalupe Peak trail. Here is a list of the essential things you will need to take on the hike with you:
- You must take enough water to complete the hike. At Pine Springs and Guadalupe Peak campgrounds, there is portable water available. However, any water you find along the trail or at backcountry campsites is reserved for the animals.
- Take enough food, meaning more than you think you will need. This strenuous hike will require you to fuel your body regularly. Snack bars and nuts are great for hiking. They don’t require any preparation and are lightweight. If you take food that needs to be cooked, you must pack a stove and water to prepare the food.
- Hiking poles are helpful when crossing the rocky parts and provide you with some much-needed stability in case of strong winds.
- Pack warm clothes to layer and a rain jacket. As we have mentioned, rainfall can cause the temperatures to drop significantly. Therefore, it is best to pack warm clothes in case of rain. Space blankets are also a great tool to fight against the cold.
- It is highly recommended that you pack a tent and sleeping bag if you need to sleep over at one of the campsites. Also, be sure to pack extra ropes to anchor your tent in case of strong winds.
- Pack a first aid kit with supplies in case of blisters, scrapes, or other injuries. Also, be sure to have the Guadalupe Peak’s visitor center number and other emergency numbers at hand in case of emergencies.
Although the Guadalupe Peak trail in Texas isn’t one of the most famous trails in the world, it is the highest peak in all of Texas and has beautiful views and sceneries. This hike is challenging and not suitable for beginners. There are many dangers, such as winds and wildlife, to watch out for when hiking the Guadalupe Peak trail.
The Guadalupe Peak trail is 8.5 miles in total. While it is possible to complete the entire hike in a single day, many people prefer to sleep over at one of the campsites and cover the hike in two days. You also need to pack enough water, food, and equipment to last for the entirety of the hike as amenities are scarce.