Thing to Do

The Grotto and Hunter Line Shack

Stone tables and benches are located near a cliff with rock overhangs and alcoves
Stone picnic tables at the Grotto

Laurence Parent

Stretch out your day hike into McKittrick Canyon by hiking to the Grotto. Elevation gain doubles as you travel further up canyon, but is still mild at less then 800 feet gained from the trailhead. Exposed cave features and stone picnic tables near the Hunter Line Shack make for a fabulous lunch destination. A short distance past the Grotto is the Hunter Line Shack, part of a 1920s ranching operaiton in the mountains.

Distance: 6.8 miles (Round-Trip)
Time Estimate: 4-5 hours
Difficulty: Moderate due to length
Details
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.
McKittrick Canyon is beautiful all year but is especially well known for fall colors in late October. 
McKittrick Canyon is a day use area. The gate to the canyon closes at 4:30 p.m. in Standard Time and at 6:00 p.m. during Daylight Saving 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. 

Parking

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

3D map image of the trails in McKittrick Canyon
3D map image of the trails in McKittrick Canyon
Map of the trails in McKittrick Canyon
Map of the trails in McKittrick Canyon
Mileage and elevation chart for trails in McKittrick Canyon
Mileage and elevation chart for trails in McKittrick Canyon

Last updated: June 29, 2021