Field Trips

Williams Ranch Field Trip

Williams Ranch below the Western Escarpment
Williams Ranch below the Western Escarpment

NPS Photo (Bieri)

Overall Rating

Add your review


 Williams Ranch house sits at the base of a 3,000 foot rock cliff on the west side of the park. The road to the ranch follows the route of the old Butterfield Overland Mail Stage Line about two miles. Behind the ranch is Bone Canyon. The cliffs and slopes of the canyon mouth are formed of the oldest rocks in the Guadalupe Mountains. 

Groups interested in geology may want to drive the Williams Ranch Road to view the rugged Western Escarpment. This is a 7.5 mile 4X4 road. You will need to obtain a gate key at the Pine Springs Visitor Center. No more than four vehicles are allowed on the road at a time.

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.
• 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.


Anthropology, Archaeology, Biodiversity, Earth Science, Environment, Geology, Paleontology, Tectonics
geology, history, biology, desert, Ranching
Field Trips

Available Field Trips