Our last day in the Carlsbad area and we knew we did not want to leave before seeing Guadalupe Mountains National Park, although Terry had been under the weather for a couple of days with a stomach bug and I had some sinus woes as a result of a cold, windy hike we had done while in Fort Davis. We headed down the same road that led us to Carlsbad Caverns, as both national parks are in the Guadalupe mountain range.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park, having been dedicated in 1972, is probably one of the best kept national park secrets and perhaps one of the smallest, comprising a mere 86,000 acres. It safeguards one of the best examples of an ancient marine fossil reef on Earth, the Capitan Reef, which is one of the main reasons for its preservation as a national park.
Unless you plan to hike parts of this wilderness you are not going to see what makes it so special as there is little driving to be done. Since neither of us was feeling 100% and the winds were quite strong (a trademark of Guadalupe Mountains) , we opted for a tour of the visitor center, which was wonderful, and a video of the park.
We learned that this park boasts over 300 species of bird, alpine forests, grassy meadows and burbling streams. It is also home to 4 of the highest peaks in Texas, Guadalupe Peak being the tallest at 8749 feet, but much less conspicuous than El Capitan at 8085 feet (shown at the right) and yes, it carries the same name as the famous El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.
If any of you has hiked a trail(s) in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, I would be interested in hearing about your experience. We were interested in doing the McKittrick Canyon Trail and heard that the Guadalupe Peak Trail was pretty special as well.
Silver City, NM is our next stop, to visit some friends that we originally met during our year in Mexico.