The secret is out. Texas is much more than tumbleweeds and margaritas. Our terrain is as diverse as our culinary offerings. With that comes tourists and crowds. This article is for y’all looking to escape the crowds and see the views that prove Texas is God’s country.
The pandemic brought people closer to home. On the most basic level, neighbors slowed down and started taking more walks and waving from across the street. Texans and people across the US bought up RV’s and trailers. Some with the goal of embracing the work from anywhere concept and more commonly to get the family out and about.
Whether you’re an expat or homegrown, consider exploring the parts of Texas you can only see if you dare to adventure. Not sure where to start? Texicureans is giving you a destination to consider and RV cooking tips from a seasoned traveler, Megan Traeger.
It’s the top of Texas. Early navigators used this mountain as a point of reference. Guadalupe Peak sits 3000 feet above the floor of the Chihuahuan Desert and 8751 feet above sea level. Located in the far west corner of our great big state, it’s a trip from anywhere – unless you live in El Paso, but worth every bit of the trek. In 1958, American Airlines erected a steel pyramid which commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Butterfield Overland Mail, a stagecoach route that passed south of the mountain.
So, what does modern exploring look like? Well, a lot like the old days. Except now we have marked trails, a route for a challenge and an alternate for a milder experience. In true Texciureans fashion, we took the challenge.
A 4.25 mile well maintained trail to the summit boasts a 3000 feet elevation gain. The payoff is a 360-degree view of Texas! (And a little of New Mexico).
The sign at the trailhead promises no rock scrambling – but I managed to get a little off the trail and did see some rocks on my “all fours” up close and personal. It takes a day to ascend and descend with time for a light lunch at the top. Temperatures can start out quite cool, but true to Texas weather can heat up during the ascent. So, layering is the safest bet. I would recommend tackling this hike in the Spring or Fall – less chance of severe weather either direction.
For those seeking a milder hike – McKittrick Canyon, dubbed the “Prettiest little spot in Texas” is a riparian oasis in the midst of the Chihuahuan Desert. Towering, steep walls serve as a backdrop to a diverse vegetation. Beginning with Chihuahuan Desert species of yucca, agave, and ocotillo, the trail ascends into a sheltered clear stream. Bigtooth maple, oak, and ash become abundant.
After 2.4 miles, the path reaches the Wallace Pratt Lodge, headquarters of the 4988 acres owned by geologist Wallace Everett Pratt (1885-1981). In 1959, Pratt donated this part of his ranch to the National Park Service and in 1972, Guadalupe Mountains National Park was officially opened to the public.
We turned around at the lodge since we had hiked Guadalupe Peak the day before, but there is an option of another 2 miles to “the Notch”. This trail ascends 2000 feet to reach an altitude of 7200 feet and a view of the complete McKittrick Canyon.
So, you want to hike to the Top of Texas, but now need to decide where to stay. There are multiple options for both RVing and tent camping. (And if I may insert – staying in a hotel) Before you load up the RV, read these tips up next from a New Braunfels Texicurean.
Click here for info about Guadalupe Mountains National Park!