A road trip to Guadalupe Mountains National Park is calling your name! This gorgeous national park is just a 7.5-hour drive from Austin, Texas. The diverse landscape of this national park is just one part of what makes it so special. Explore the mountains, canyons, deserts, sand dunes, and hike to the tallest point in Texas.
Here is everything you need to know about Guadalupe Mountains National Park. From where to stay, places to camp, trails to hike, activities, and travel tips!
Guadalupe Mountains National Park is located 1 to 2 hours from the surrounding major cities, making this the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of Austin. Because the park’s elevation ranges greatly, the weather varies depending on where you are within the park. The best time to visit Guadalupe Mountains National Park is in the fall when the weather is slightly cooler and you get to experience the gorgeous array of fall colors.
Pets are permitted only on the trail between the Pine Springs Campground and the area near the Pine Springs Visitor Center and The Pinery Trail. Pets are required to be on a leash at all times and are not allowed on any other trail due to the risk of danger from park wildlife. Be sure to stop for gas before entering the park because the closest gas station is 35 miles outside of the visitor center.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park is one of two national parks in Texas. Check out our guide to Big Bend National Park for another great road trip to add to your bucket list!
Where to Stay in Guadalupe Mountains
From camping under the stars to relaxing in a comfortable hotel room, we have a list of the best places to stay in Guadalupe Mountains National Park!
The closest hotels near the park are primarily located in Carlsbad, New Mexico. There are so many cool things to do near Carlsbad like hiking Carlsbad Caverns National Park, checking out their art galleries and museums, and shopping at the Pecos River Antique Mall. About 2 hours outside of Guadalupe Mountains National Park is El Paso which is a great location to stay at if you are flying in to visit the park or just want to lodge in a major city.
There are three campsites within the park and numerous glamping options on websites like Hipcamp.com and glampinghub.com. Camping in Guadalupe Mountains National Park not only makes access to the trails easier but also adds to the unique experience of your trip! The secluded location of this park and the required quiet hours in the campgrounds allow you to relax and reconnect with nature as you snuggle up in your tent. All individual camping is first come first serve and group sites can be reserved up to 60 days in advance, so keep that in mind when planning your stay!
Dog Canyon Campground features 9 tent sites and 4 RV sites. This scenic area is at the base of the mountains and near a creek, with free-range cattle roaming the grounds. This site has potable water, and toilets but no showers, hookups, or dump stations. While the drive is long and can be difficult to get to the campsite, it is well maintained and a great starting point for the Dog Canyon Trailhead.
La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Carlsbad is one of the most highly-rated hotels near Guadalupe Mountains National Park. This hotel offers free breakfast and a pool to relax in after a day of exploring the park.
Hyatt House Carlsbad is a great option for an extended stay. This hotel is pet-friendly, serves free breakfast, and has an outdoor pool.
Sleep Inn & Suites is on the main route to Guadalupe Mountains National Park, making it easy to access the park. This hotel also offers free breakfast and an indoor pool.
Hotel Indigo El Paso Downtown is a great option for those staying in El Paso. This hotel is close to the El Paso International Airport for those flying in to visit the park.
Where to Eat in Guadalupe Mountains
There are no restaurants inside of the park, so be sure to bring plenty of food and water for your stay! If you are looking for restaurants near Guadalupe Mountains National Park, check out these delicious options in Carlsbad and El Paso.
Queen Cafe and Campground is one of the closest restaurants to the park, making it a really convenient stop on your way in. This place may be in the middle of nowhere, but they are famous for their amazing burgers and pies!
Guadalupe Mountains Brewing Co. is a perfect stop for craft beer and cider lovers. This awesome brewery and restaurant is located in Carlsbad.
Carniceria San Juan De Los Lagos is another spot in Carlsbad you absolutely have to try! The al pastor and carne asada dishes are to-die-for at this Mexican meat market and restaurant.
L&J Cafe in El Paso has the best chicken enchiladas you will ever taste (EVER!). Pair it with flan for dessert and a margarita… or two!
Kiki’s Mexican Restaurant is another yummy Mexican restaurant in El Paso. This is one spot locals always recommend and for good reason.
From easy to difficult hikes, each of these trails has gorgeous scenery to offer visitors of all skill levels! With four of the highest peaks in Texas located in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, the views from the top of the trailheads are breathtaking. Two of the must-see places on your hikes are Guadalupe Peak and Devil’s Hall!
- Smith Spring Trail
- The Pinery Trail
- Manzanita Spring Trail
- Indian Meadow Nature Trail
- McKittrick Canyon Nature Trail
- El Capitan Trail
- Bush Mountain Trail
- Pine Springs Trail
- Frijole and Foothills Trail
- Guadalupe Peak Texas Highpoint Trail
- Devil’s Hall Trail
- Devil’s Hall Loop Trail
- Hunter Peak
- Tejas Trail
- The Bowl
- Permian Reef Trail
- Bush Mountain Trail
- Juniper Trails
- Marcus Trail
The best part about this park is the wide range of hikes in different environments. Devil’s Hall and McKittrick Canyon are two of my personal favorites! While the drive throughout the park is beautiful, the roads only provide access to the Pine Springs Visitor Center, Pine Springs Campground, Dog Canyon, McKittrick Canyon Contact Station, Frijole Ranch, and the trailheads. This park is best explored by hiking, but if you’re not an avid hiker, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy Guadalupe Mountains National Park!
Hike to the “Top of Texas” at Guadalupe Peak. This 8.4-mile roundtrip hike takes between 6-8 hours and is difficult. If you make it to the top, be sure to sign the logbook and snap a photo!
Horseback riding is a great way to explore the park. While horses are not for rent in or near the park, those who own horses can enjoy riding along the trails.
Birding is a popular activity due to the over 300 species of birds that inhabit the wide array of environments throughout the park.
Stargazing in Guadalupe Mountains National Park is a unique experience. The lack of light pollution from neighboring towns allows you to see over 11,000 stars sprinkled across the night sky.
Pine Springs Visitor Center is a great place to start your adventure! Inside lie a museum and bookstore to grab some memorabilia for your trip.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
While this is the lesser-known national park in Texas, it is well worth exploring! Visit in the fall to experience the fall foliage in McKittrick Canyon, hike to the “Top of Texas” at Guadalupe Peak, and camp under the stars for a trip to remember. Add this to your Texas bucket list the next time you need some travel inspiration!
Let us know if there is any other helpful information that you want us to include in this guide! Be sure to tag us in all of your Guadalupe Mountains National Park photos using @stufftodoinaustin and use our hashtag #stufftodoinaustin so we can follow along on your road trip adventures!