Stark contrasts between mountains, canyons, and desert; vast and majestic vistas, brilliant fall colors set against muted desert hues, and sparkling white dunes all combine to offer opportunities for personal renewal and inspiration. Consider including a visit to one or more of these special locations along with your other planned activities.
Tucked within 2,000-foot-high limestone walls is a place that some call the "most beautiful spot in Texas." The serpentine route of McKittrick Creek creates conditions for an unusual community of plants and a menagerie of animals. Rich with history, rich in diversity, glorified by its beauty, and famous for is outstanding fall colors, this location of the park is a "must-see!"
The Frijole Ranch History Museum once served as the primary headquarters for ranching in the Guadalupes. Today it displays the sequential human history of the Guadalupes from Native Americans and ranchers to park visitors. The spring that runs through the courtyard was essential for subsistence and farming. Nearby is the one-room school house. As you look around, imagine what life may have been like in this remote West Texas locale. The Smith Springs Trail begins here as well.
Dog Canyon is situated in a secluded, forested canyon on the north end of the park at an elevation of 6,300 feet. Remote and far removed from civilization, it stands at the edge of the wilderness boundary and offers an ideal location for quiet camping, birding, hiking, and solitude.
The lonely 7.5 mile road that leads to Williams Ranch follows a section of the old Butterfield Overland Mail stage route. After winding through dry, desert gulches, it ends abruptly at the base of a 3,000 foot rock cliff on the west side of Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Here, a single, well-preserved house, long since abandoned, stands as a testament of human struggle and survival. Behind the ranch is Bone Canyon, whose cliffs and slopes in its gaping mouth hold the oldest rocks in the Guadalupes.
The shimmering, white Salt Basin Dunes cover nearly 2,000 acres, and range from heavily vegetated three-foot mounds to naked, wind-blasted sixty-foot dunes that glisten and bake in the desert sun. Those who travel here can disappear into a vast and silent landscape and ponder the powerful forces of wind and time. To visit the Salt Basin Dunes, talk with park personnel at the Pine Springs Visitor Center information desk.