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

    Guadalupe Mountains

    National Park Texas

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?

Desert coyotes are fairly common in the park

Desert coyotes feed on delicacies such as crickets, quail, cactus fruits, rodents, and carrion. Weighing half as much as coyotes elsewhere, they have shorter, thinner, and paler fur which not only blends with the barren landscape, but also helps dissipate heat.