Thing to Do

McKittrick Canyon Nature Trail

A uniformed park ranger and visitors hike up a desert trail
The McKittrick Canyon Nature Trail is a short trail with dramatic views.

NPS Photo

Traveling clockwise, this fascinating, short trail passes an intermittent seep that lies hidden in junipers, then wanders up a southwest slope along an arroyo. Here, plants and animals tolerate true desert conditions. Trailside exhibits describe common plants, and reference wildland fire. At the top of the trail you can look down at the mouth of McKittrick Canyon and read about Permian Reef geology. As the trail continues down northeast slope you will probably recognize that less sun exposure makes this side a little more lush.

Distance: 0.9 miles (1.4 km) round-trip, loop
Time Estimate: 1 hour
Difficulty: moderate

30-60 Minutes
The trail is a moderate .9 mile round trip and takes less than one hour to complete.
Pets disturb wildlife and are not allowed on trails. Your pets should remain at home as opportunities for pets are very limited in the park.
Year Round
McKittrick Canyon is a day use area. The gate to the canyon closes daily at 5:00 p.m. Mountain Time. Visitors must be out of the area before the gate closure time.
Accessibility Information

Trail surfaces are loose rock or hardened rock surfaces. Hiking or trekking poles are highly recommended. Trail widths vary from two to six feet depending on the trail. 


All trailhead areas have accessible parking available. 

Service animals 

Only service animals that have been individually trained to perform specific tasks for the benefit of persons with disabilities are allowed in the park and on trails.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Map of the trails in McKittrick Canyon
Map of the trails in McKittrick Canyon

Last updated: November 6, 2022