Guadalupe Peak or Devil’s Hall: Which Trail to Hike in Guadalupe Mountains

Guadalupe peak: A view of mountains along a hiking trail in Texas.
A view of mountains along a hiking trail in Texas. Photo credit: David Mark

The king of all hikes in the Guadalupe Mountains is the Guadalupe Peak trail, which climbs 3000 ft. over the course of a 4¼ mi. (one-way) hike. Although the park is in the desert, its wet season comes in the summer, when it occasionally sees days of heavy fog and rain, which can make hiking to the peak a wasted effort.

Instead of struggling through the Guadalupe Peak trail during the less-than-ideal weather conditions, try another great little hike that keeps you closer to the ground: the Devil’s Hall trail, which is 4¼ mi. round-trip.

Devil’s Hall Trail

The Guadalupe and El Capitan peaks as seen from below.
The Guadalupe and El Capitan peaks as seen from below. Photo credit: National Park Service

The Devil’s Hall trail starts out following the same route as the Peak trail, and, after a while, signs direct you straight ahead into a canyon, while the Peak trail heads off to the left. The first mile or so of Devil’s Hall is flat, with a few hundred feet of elevation gain and some amazing views of the desert if you turn around. After a mile, the trail descends into a dried up-wash, where it barely seems like a trail at all. Although there is a route marked out, it is often hard to find. As long as you stay in the creek bed and keep moving, you’re doing something right.

Boulders litter this part of the trail; you will need to use your legs, your arms, and your balance, so don’t attempt this one if you have lingering injuries. As soon as it seems like the wash will never end, a beautiful, naturally carved staircase appears on your left.

The Slot Canyon

One of the views along the Devil's Hall Trail in Guadalupe Mountains National Park.
One of the views along the Devil’s Hall Trail in Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Photo credit

It’s almost so perfect that it could have come out of someone’s house, and it leads up into a slot canyon. No more than 20 ft. wide, with sheer cliffs leading up to the mountains above, this canyon winds along before a sign marks the end of the trail. Since the trail isn’t developed, feel free to explore the canyon to your heart’s content; just listen (and look!) for the rattlesnakes that call this cool little place home.

Ready to explore everything that Texas has to offer? Book a tour with PlacePass.

Curious about other hiking trails in the area? Check out our blog post on Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

 

 

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