Guadalupe Mountains National Park in Texas is found within the Guadalupe Mountains, a limestone mountain range recognized as the best-preserved Permian-aged fossil reef in the world. The ocean fossils here reveal a detailed picture of life along a coastline of a shallow inland sea, some 240 to 280 million years ago. These fossils show that the "Capitan Reef" was built mostly of sponges and algae—not by coral, like many of today's reefs. Other marine fossils found here include ammonites, crinoids, snails, nautiloids, bivalves, brachiopods, and the occasional trilobite.
In addition to desert and mountain ecosystems, Guadalupe Mountains National Park contains McKittrick Creek (a perennial stream surrounded by a large, lush riparian area) and the world's third largest gypsum sand field. Elevation ranges from 1,204 meters (3,624 feet) on the alkali flats to 2,584 meters (8,749 feet) atop Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas. Average annual precipitation is about 37 centimeters (14.5 inches).
The complexity of the geography allows unique life zones to shelter a great number of plants and animals. Guadalupe Mountains National Park is home to 1,205 plant species from 101 families, three fish species, 55 reptile and amphibian species, 70 mammal species, and 290 bird species. We monitor air quality, climate, groundwater, invasive exotic plants, landbirds, springs, seeps, and tinajas, and terrestrial vegetation and soils.
Reports & Web Articles
Read more about our work at this park in the resource briefs (short summaries), monitoring reports (detailed results), condition assessment (natural resource conditions), and web articles below. A bird checklist for this park is also available here. Inventories (baseline reports and lists of natural resources), and protocols (monitoring procedures) can be found on our reports & publications pages.