Field Trips

Trip to the Frijole Ranch

The shady oasis of Smith Spring
The shady oasis of Smith Spring

NPS Photo

Overall Rating

Add your review


The Frijole Ranch History Museum is located 1½ miles from the Headquarters Visitor Center. Here you will find several displays that focus on the history of the Guadalupe Mountains. The 2.3 mile Smith Spring Trail begins at Frijole Ranch. This loop trail has little elevation gain and generally takes 1½ to 2 hours. Begin the hike at the trailhead, and passes through the Smith Springs which is hidden in a thick canopy of trees. If you'd rather not hike the entire loop, turn right behind the Frijole Ranch House where you can walk directly to Manzanita Spring along a paved path (0.2 mile).

Safety and Resource Protection
In order to minimize impact on the environment, and to insure the safety of you and your students, we ask that you observe the following guidelines while visiting the park:
• Be aware of weather and ask that your students dress accordingly and bring necessary garments to accommodate sudden weather change. Hiking boots are recommended. 
• There should be at least one adult for every ten students. When on the trail, there must be an adult in front of the group and one in the back at all times. Students should never be allowed to hike ahead of an adult. 
• Each adult should carry a park map and be aware of the route. 
• In order to minimize the potential for resource damage, large groups should split into several smaller groups. 
• Everyone in the group should carry water. Adults should carry extra if students have small containers. 
• All litter and uneaten food must be packed out by the group. Teachers should organize policing of areas after picnic and snack breaks. 
• Everyone must stay on the trail and out of the water when hiking the Smith Springs Trail.
• Please remind students that collecting or disturbing plants, animals, rocks, or other natural or historic objects is prohibited. 

Other Logistics: 
Picnic tables are available at the Pine Springs Campground near the restrooms, Frijole Ranch, in the lower McKittrick Canyon parking lot, in McKittrick Canyon at Pratt Cabin and at the Grotto, and in Headquarters Visitor Center parking lot. Flush-toilet restrooms are available at the Headquarters Visitor Center, Pine Springs Campground, and the McKittrick Canyon Contact Station. There is a port-a-john at Frijole Ranch. Flush-toilet restrooms are no longer available at Frijole Ranch or in McKittrick Canyon at Pratt Cabin. 


African American History and Culture, Anthropology, Biology: Animals, Biology: Plants, Ecology, Fire Ecology, Historic Preservation, Westward Expansion
history, biology, pioneers
Field Trips

Available Field Trips