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

    Guadalupe Mountains

    National Park Texas

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • 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. Williams Ranch Rd is also closed. For more information please call 915-828-3251

Plants

An explosion of wildflowers blanket the desert along the Smith Spring Trail.

A sea of annual wildflowers blankets the slopes along the Smith Springs Trail.

NPS Photo - Cookie Ballou

The biological diversity within Guadalupe Mountains National Park is outstanding and includes more than 1000 species of plants. While many of these are common desert species such as ocotillo and prickly pear cactus, others are found only in the park and nowhere else in the world.

In part, the amazing diversity can be attributed to significant geographical variations in an extremely rugged landscape. Steep-walled canyons, highcountry ridge tops, wide-open expanses of desert lowland, and lush riparian oases provide opportunity for unique and contrasting life zones that span across thousands of acres with over 6000’ of elevation difference.

Plants that grow here are tough. They survive not only the components that make up the landscape, but also the extremes of temperature, aridity, and relentlessly powerful winds, all common factors of the park’s desert climate. Plants have evolved elegant methods of tolerating or avoiding desert conditions. Some such as cactus have thick fleshy stems that store water, and spines that not only serve as fierce armor against predators, but also help reflect the sun’s radiant heat. Many species avoid desert extremes by clinging tightly to limited but dependable seeps and shaded springs. Annual wildflowers that grow here avoid the drought altogether with a compressed, complete life cycle – from sprout to seed – that occurs only in conjunction with summer’s monsoon rains.

Did You Know?

Butterfly observation is growing in popularity as a fun and educational nature activity.

With its temperate climate, abundant sunshine year-round, and several distinct life zones, Guadalupe Mountains National Park provides excellent habitat for butterflies; more than 90 species have been reported within the park.