• The Western Escarpment of the Guadalupes rises above the white gypsum sands of the desert floor.

    Guadalupe Mountains

    National Park Texas

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  • Trail closures from flood damage.

    Three trails remain closed: Bear Canyon Trail, El Capitan Trail from the Pine Springs trailhead, and the Salt Basin Overlook Loop section that begins at Guadalupe Canyon. For more information please call 915-828-3251

Ranching in Guadalupe Mountains

Williams Ranch
Williams Ranch is located in the lonely Western Escarpment of Guadalupe Mountains National Park. It was an early ranching home for Adolphus Williams who kept livestock here.
NPS Photo - Adam Butterick

Early Ranching

By the late 1800s, the Mescalero Apaches had for the most part been driven out of the Guadalupes. Settlers began to arrive and attempted to make a living farming and ranching in these mountains. Although there were a few who prospered, most failed. Among the few ranchers who persevered and prospered in the Guadalupe Mountains were the Smith family, Henry and Rena Belcher, and Adolphus Williams. The Smith family operated an orchard at Frijole Ranch for nearly forty years. Henry and Rena Belcher had a ranch at the foot of the rugged Western Escarpment, 5,000 feet below Guadalupe Peak. The Belcher's ranch was later sold to James Adolphus Williams, and became known as Williams Ranch. In the early 1940's, both Frijole and Williams Ranches were bought by Judge J.C. Hunter. Hunter eventually owned much of what is now Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Early on, he had a vision of this place being a public park for all to enjoy. After Hunter's death, his son, J.C. Hunter Jr., sold the land to the National Park Service for $22 per acre.

Did You Know?

Flowers of the desert willow are perfectly formed for the fat, rounded bodies of bees.

The long narrow leaves of the desert willow (Chilopsis linearis) gives it its common name, but it is not a true willow. It is beautiful when in bloom, and provides valuable nectar for hummingbirds, butterflies, bees and other insects.