• 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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  • McKittrick Canyon and Salt Basin Dunes Closed

    McKittrick Canyon and the Salt Basin Dunes area is closed until further notice. Heavy rains have caused flooding and trail damage in the park. For more information on closures call 915-828-3251.

Trees and Shrubs

tree silhouette against the sky

Most tree species are found in higher elevations in the park, or are restricted to canyons and riparian zones.

NPS Photo - Michael Haynie

In much of the Chihuahuan desert, shrubs, succulents, and cacti, dominate the landscape, while trees are few in number and in total number of species. Trees generally need more water, cooler temperatures, and higher humidity than the desert climate has to offer, and that restricts them to ridge tops, canyons and riparian zones. Those that do grow in the lower desert elevations, such as honey mesquite, Prosopis glandulosa, often grow no taller than shrubs and are easily confused with shrubs because they possess similar physical characteristics such as small leaves and sharp spines.

Shrubs, on the other hand, are numerous and widespread in the Chihuahuan desert. Average elevations in this desert (above 3000’) allow for colder winters which many shrub species can tolerate, while most cacti and succulents cannot.

Did You Know?

The 4X4 road to Williams Ranch crosses the old Butterfield Overland Mail stage route.

The Pinery Station, located in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, was one of the most favorably situated stage stops on the original 2,800-mile Butterfield Overland Mail route, and the highest, located at 5,534' in Guadalupe Pass. More...