Thing to Do

Smith Spring Trail Loop

Water cascades down rocks in a forested setting.
Smith Spring


The Smith Spring Loop is paved from Frijole Ranch to Manzanita Spring. It then ascends along a maintained trail to the heavily vegetated Smith Spring. The trail offers dramatic views of the surrounding mountains, foothills, and desert landscape. The spring is a shady oasis of water up against the mountains.

Distance: 2.3 miles (3.7 km) round-trip, loop
Elevation Change: 402 feet
Time Estimate: 1-2 hours
Difficulty: Easy - Moderate
1-2 Hours
Begin this hike at the trailhead sign. Look for birds, mule deer, and elk as you walk this loop trail to the shady oasis of Smith Spring. Take a break here and enjoy the gurgling sounds of the tiny waterfall before continuing around to sunny Manzanita Spring. Scars from wildland fires of 1990 and 1993 are evident along the trail. The trail is rated moderate, with a round-trip distance of 2.3 miles. Allow one to two hours.
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.
The Smith Springs trail is a loop route that begins at the Frijole Ranch Trailhead, at the end of the Frijole Ranch access road, one mile north of Pine Springs. 
Year Round
The water sources along this trail provide excellent opportunities for bird watching throughout the year. 
Accessibility Information

To the Frijole Ranch buildings and the Manzanita Spring the trail is a paved surface. Trail surfaces past Manzanita Spring 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 trail and chart showing elevation change
Trail map and elevation chart

Last updated: December 18, 2022