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The Guadalupe Mountains Wilderness

A hiker stands below tall and yellow desert mountain cliffs lit by the sun
A hiker stands in Shumard canyon.

NPS/Laurence Parent

In 1978, 46,850 acres of the park’s high country were designated as wilderness by Congress. The 2012 Guadalupe Mountains National Park General Management Plan includes an eligibility assessment that deems an additional 35,484 acres of lower elevation park backcountry as suitable for consideration for wilderness designation. Designated and eligible wilderness comprise 95% of the park’s area. The lands deemed eligible for wilderness will be managed to protect their wilderness character. "Wilderness” refers to both designated and eligible wilderness.

The Guadalupe Mountains Wilderness includes both desert and montane systems. The Guadalupe Mountains rise more than 5,000 feet from the surrounding Chihuahuan Desert lowlands. El Capitan, the park’s most striking feature, is a 1,000-foot-high limestone bluff visible for more than 50 miles. Nearby Guadalupe Peak, at 8,751 feet elevation, is the highest point in Texas and the park includes eight of the ten highest points in the state. The park’s isolation from regional cities and towns preserves scenic vistas and exceptional opportunities for solitude, as well as rare and valuable flora and fauna. Abundant wildlife and clear springs remain relatively unhindered by human influence, and the overriding forces of nature are evident throughout the landscape. A system of trails and primitive campgrounds provide visitors the opportunity to experience wilderness in settings ranging from Chihuahuan Desert scrubland to lush riparian woodlands and cool conifer forests. World-renowned and well-exposed geologic resources dating to the Middle Permian Period can also be found throughout the wilderness.

Park map showing designated and eligible Wilderness lands
Designated and eligible Wilderness in Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

NPS

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Last updated: June 7, 2022