• 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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  • Partial park closures from flood damage.

    Most trails and roads in the park have reopened. Current closures include the Frijole Foothills Loop, McKittrick Ridge, the northern El Capitan Trail section leading to Williams Ranch, and the Salt Basin Dunes Road. Call 915-828-3251 for info.

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?

Indian Paintbrush

The fiery, red-orange tips of the Indian Paintbrush are bracts of the plant that conceal the actual flowers. Most if not all paintbrush species are hemiparisitic, and depend on other plants to supply water and nutrients.