El Capitan Trail, Guadalupe Mountains

Distance: 2 miles (where I stopped)
Location: Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas
Date: November 1, 2013

Start of the El Capitan Trail

The El Capitan Trail is a trail in Guadalupe Mountains National Park that traverses through the Chihuahuan Desert below Guadalupe Peak and El Capitan for a total of 9.4 miles from the Pine Spring trailhead to William Ranch Road.

Hunter Peak
Along the trail with Hunter Peak at right and lower slopes of Guadalupe Peak at left

I arrived in the park, set up camp, and began hiking on the trail around 3:00 pm, so I hiked about two miles out the trail from Pine Spring and made the return two mile trip by 4:15. This trail is very lightly used, and the section I hiked has a very gradual grade and passes mostly through grasses below the mountains above. These two miles of the trail have some views of Hunter Peak and El Capitan, but otherwise it has views that can be had along the U.S. route 62/180.

Rocks along the trail

Looking out to the desert

The trail did cross two washes that had just experienced extreme flooding in September and showed dramatic recent erosion.

One of the washes

El Capitan at left

© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.


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