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Ghost of 3:16

Hiking to the top of the Guadalupe mountains

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My soon to be 13 year old/7th grade daughter and I are looking for a trip to take together. We are interested in hiking to the top of the mountains. Is this doable for her? She’s athletic and in shape, but never done anything like this. I’m thinking if it’s just a hike, should be fine. I’ve read nothing about any climbing required.

 

 

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Hmm, that is a tough call.  Obviously if you leave earlier, it will  be cooler and you can take more breaks.  My younger brother, my dad and I did it a couple of years ago.  I was carrying about 20lbs of camera gear and my Pops was carrying about 15 lbs.  He was 68 years old.  We took breaks, but made it up there in the average time.  Really great trip and awesome to say you have been to the top of Texas.

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1 minute ago, XYZ said:

It’s just a hike. You’ll be fine.

Yeah, but is not the easiest.  I recall the hike to the South Rim in Big Bend being not as difficult yet longer.

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It's doable.  Go early  and take plenty of breaks.  I did it in the winter.  It was cold and windy. It's probably hot and windy in the summer,  but definitely try to hit the peak before the sun gets  too bad.

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3 miles up, 3 miles down.  Hi Ho Silver!

Seriously.  She can do it if she's fit.  Though I've never done it during the summer.  We've always done it in January.

We left at 6 a.m. and hit the top right around lunch time.  Took lots of breaks, primarily because it was alternating between light snow and sleet.  It's a great experience.  What I hated the most were all the "false" summits.  There were a half-dozen times I thought, "hoo-damn-ray, we're here!" only to find out that we weren't.  Made it back down in a fraction of the time.

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Agreed. We stayed at Guadalupe National Park 16 years ago and did that and McKitrick Canyon. The Peak wasn't that bad.  The Canyon was very hard because it's so long.  I don't know if there really is an ending point.  At some point we said, that's it let's head back...

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23 hours ago, RD3 said:

Agreed. We stayed at Guadalupe National Park 16 years ago and did that and McKitrick Canyon. The Peak wasn't that bad.  The Canyon was very hard because it's so long.  I don't know if there really is an ending point.  At some point we said, that's it let's head back...

Once you  go through The Notch, it is damn near straight up all the way to McKittrick Ridge.  That is a very tough trail when you're doing an overnighter and have all your gear and water.  But some of the best views in the park are up there

It is much better done the other way.  Coming from Dog Canyon all the way to the McKittrick  Canyon Visitor center has been my favorite hike at GMNP.

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Where did y'all stay when you made the summit?  Did you camp at the trailhead?  There don't seem to be any hotels within an hour's drive (Van Horn or Carlsbad, or maybe Whites City).

I might need to convince my wife to camp in a tent in December.

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Where did y'all stay when you made the summit?  Did you camp at the trailhead?  There don't seem to be any hotels within an hour's drive (Van Horn or Carlsbad, or maybe Whites City).
I might need to convince my wife to camp in a tent in December.


I stayed at the Guadalupe Peak backcountry campground.

They have I believe 5 or 6 spots cleared out with a pad for a tent or two very small ones.

Apparently I only took one photo up there that wasn’t part of the summit hike. This is from one of the sites looking approximately SE.

9ee2711d5176d3a39eea824e6916a8e7.jpg

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Cant edit now so I am adding this:

It doesn’t look like you’ll be backpacking, so if camping you can stay in the Pine Springs Campground which is the only one on that side of the park. There are 20 sites and all are first come first served. When I was there they were all full so I had to camp on some BLM land just over the border in NM (turn off at mile marker 10 going EB on Hwy 62.

If not, I don’t really have any idea on a hotel or motel. I think there’s something in White’s City.

A few taken from Pine Springs:

4efd029b11cded9def361b555d7274be.jpg

71d661700bf5e5ce03ed3b263ddcf3c3.jpg

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I have stayed at a motel in Carlsbad NM (and maybe also Van Horn TX) and done the summit hike from that base. About an hour drive before you get to the trailhead, but no big deal. I am not much a fan of the campground at the park, almost all of the sites have zero shade, so if it is hot the sun can be a beating.

 

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On 8/27/2018 at 8:26 AM, miguelito said:

Where did y'all stay when you made the summit?  Did you camp at the trailhead?  There don't seem to be any hotels within an hour's drive (Van Horn or Carlsbad, or maybe Whites City).

I might need to convince my wife to camp in a tent in December.

 

On 8/27/2018 at 10:10 AM, Anton Chigurh said:

 


I stayed at the Guadalupe Peak backcountry campground.

They have I believe 5 or 6 spots cleared out with a pad for a tent or two very small ones.

Apparently I only took one photo up there that wasn’t part of the summit hike. This is from one of the sites looking approximately SE.

9ee2711d5176d3a39eea824e6916a8e7.jpg

 

 

Yeah, many years ago I and a girl friend camped at that campground. If I recall, its fairly close to the summit. I think we went over Thanksgiving break, and it was very cold. Water we had left outside the tent was frozen the next day when we woke up.

 

 

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Yeah, many years ago I and a girl friend camped at that campground. If I recall, its fairly close to the summit. I think we went over Thanksgiving break, and it was very cold. Water we had left outside the tent was frozen the next day when we woke up.
 
 


It’s also windy af. It kept me awake like no other. But, I have issues sleeping sometimes when camping.

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Just don’t go first weekend in June. You will melt. Ask me how I know.

 

we drove from Austin to Van Horn and stayed the night there. Got up really early, and made it to the trail around 7 am. The drive in from van horn isn’t bad at all.

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Where did y'all stay when you made the summit?  Did you camp at the trailhead?  There don't seem to be any hotels within an hour's drive (Van Horn or Carlsbad, or maybe Whites City).
I might need to convince my wife to camp in a tent in December.


My pops, younger brother and I went in April of 2016. Late April. Unless things have changed, you can’t reserve camp spots at the Pine Springs site like in the Chisos (I think I am remembering correctly). We got there kind of late the first night and were forced to get a motel (Rodeway Inn) in Whites City. Second night we managed to get a camping spot at Pine Springs.

For the summit hike, we got started fairly early and took about 5.5 hours to get up it (my pops was 69 years old and handled it well, but we stopped to rest quite a bit). I think it took us about 2.5 hours to get down.

What is insane is seeing the runners going up the mountain like it’s nothing. I personally thought it was a tougher hike than South Rim in Big Bend.

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My pops, younger brother and I went in April of 2016. Late April. Unless things have changed, you can’t reserve camp spots at the Pine Springs site like in the Chisos (I think I am remembering correctly). We got there kind of late the first night and were forced to get a motel (Rodeway Inn) in Whites City. Second night we managed to get a camping spot at Pine Springs.

For the summit hike, we got started fairly early and took about 5.5 hours to get up it (my pops was 69 years old and handled it well, but we stopped to rest quite a bit). I think it took us about 2.5 hours to get down.

What is insane is seeing the runners going up the mountain like it’s nothing. I personally thought it was a tougher hike than South Rim in Big Bend.


Yeah, it really throws it right at you in the beginning. There’s a bunch of 15-20% and even over 20% grades in the beginning, then it kinda mellows some, then ramps it up at the end again. It averages about 700 vertical feet per mile.

I did fly when going back down, but that was the next day. Took me like 1:45 from the campground up near the peak.

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Posted (edited)

How balls hot do we think the Guadalupe Mountains and Carlsbad area is in the summer? We were thinking of maybe doing a road trip and hit up a few National Parks this summer. We really enjoyed Big Bend over Spring Break and would love to cross a few more off our list, especially since they're driveable. 

Edited by mdmost

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Average highs close to 90, average lows in the 60s. Maybe 10 degrees cooler on the summit. I am struggling with what kind of vacation to take my kids on this summer. Driving west toward all the parks seems like the obvious answer but I have to think that most of the rest of the country is thinking the exact same thing. I expect every park to be completely jam packed like never before. 

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Took my 12yr old and 10yr old hiking @ the Grand Canyon.  I'd recommend appropriate shoes & clothing contingencies.  Water & snacks.  And those aluminum hiking/trekking poles.  They are fun, but they also keep your kids eyes down and in front of them.....snakes are out.  

Make sure someone knows you are out there and when you are expected back.  Just in case.  

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On 9/21/2018 at 5:46 AM, Patricio Swayze said:

What is insane is seeing the runners going up the mountain like it’s nothing.

Saw those savages running up and out of the Canyon with packs on their backs.  It's a steep, winding path getting out.  

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4 hours ago, Your Mom said:

Average highs close to 90, average lows in the 60s. Maybe 10 degrees cooler on the summit. I am struggling with what kind of vacation to take my kids on this summer. Driving west toward all the parks seems like the obvious answer but I have to think that most of the rest of the country is thinking the exact same thing. I expect every park to be completely jam packed like never before. 

That's kinda what we were thinking, but we should be ok if we stick to the backcountry areas and stuff.

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5 hours ago, Your Mom said:

Average highs close to 90, average lows in the 60s. Maybe 10 degrees cooler on the summit. I am struggling with what kind of vacation to take my kids on this summer. Driving west toward all the parks seems like the obvious answer but I have to think that most of the rest of the country is thinking the exact same thing. I expect every park to be completely jam packed like never before. 

Definitely start before sunrise.  Do the hard part before it heats up.

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14 hours ago, mdmost said:

How balls hot do we think the Guadalupe Mountains and Carlsbad area is in the summer? We were thinking of maybe doing a road trip and hit up a few National Parks this summer. We really enjoyed Big Bend over Spring Break and would love to cross a few more off our list, especially since they're driveable. 

I was at Fort Bliss (El Paso) and White Sands, and don't recall White Sands getting out of the mid-90s in the summer (and plenty of days were in the 80s), but the nights were glorious (40s-60s), as were the mornings and evenings.  I would assume Carlsbad is not that far off temp-wise.  Probably a little cooler.

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5 hours ago, Your Mom said:

I am struggling with what kind of vacation to take my kids on this summer.

SpaceX is launching astronauts from Florida in a few weeks (think it's the 27th).  That could leave a huge impression on them, but that's not far off.

We are debating this as well - we missed out on a couple of Cub Scout campouts, and are wanting to travel and camp.

Hell, I'm ready to go off and camp by myself for a week, because I've been having to help with the at-home schooling, and my kids have been pushing each other's buttons like nobody's business.

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On 5/14/2020 at 11:00 PM, mdmost said:

How balls hot do we think the Guadalupe Mountains and Carlsbad area is in the summer? We were thinking of maybe doing a road trip and hit up a few National Parks this summer. We really enjoyed Big Bend over Spring Break and would love to cross a few more off our list, especially since they're driveable. 

We went June 1 of 2018 and damn near melted. There were 3 of us, and each carried a gallon of water and were damn near out at the end. We were there the hottest day of the summer to that point and it was miserable. 
 

Good luck, it’s hot as shit.

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9 hours ago, UnivTex34 said:

We went June 1 of 2018 and damn near melted. There were 3 of us, and each carried a gallon of water and were damn near out at the end. We were there the hottest day of the summer to that point and it was miserable. 
 

Good luck, it’s hot as shit.

Yeah that's what I thought. I guess we wait till Spring Break next year. Just trying to think of a place that's within driving distance that may not be ridiculously crowded. This is where living the Pacific Northwest would come in handy. 

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4 hours ago, mdmost said:

Just trying to think of a place that's within driving distance that may not be ridiculously crowded. This is where living the Pacific Northwest would come in handy. 

We are now seriously getting out the maps and pondering what we are going to do.  We have looked around some places in NM (more in the mountains), but it's a long-ass drive, and we seem to have a knack for getting rained out when we are camping there, and some of those public areas are still closed off.     We have relatives in Canada, and would be awesome to visit, but there's a lot of covid-related issues that could arise along the way and may not be able to get into Canada because of the covid stuff anyways.

Maybe find a an Airbnb or campground along a lake, take kayaks/canoes, spend your mornings on the lake or something?  

We are kicking around Arkansas or Missouri, there's a bunch of private lakes and parks that have opened up,, and you can get a little cabin or campsite along a lake that has a better chance of not being a shitshow like some of the public lakes in Texas.    Fish/swim/hike in the mornings, fish fry for lunch, siesta in the afternoon, boardgames in the evening.  

We had a chance to buy a friend's small RV for cheap a few years ago, and I'm kinda regretting that now.  That would open up a lot more options for us.

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