Bush Mountain

Summit elevation: 8631 feet
Elevation gain: ~2800 feet net
Distance: 6.5 miles one way
Location: Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas
Date: March 29, 2014

View north from the western edge of Bush Mountain

Bush Mountain is the second highest peak in Texas, being located 2.87 miles northwest of Guadalupe Peak. Between the two peaks are Shumard and Bartlett peaks, the third and fourth highest peaks in the state, respectively. Bush Mountain can be accessed from either Dog Canyon or Pine Springs, where I began my hike.

Guadalupe and Shumard peaks from the Tejas Trail

From Pine Springs it is about 6.5 miles one way with 2800 feet of net elevation gain (not counting the several hundred feet that you gain and lose along the ridge) to get to Bush Mountain. I began by hiking the Tejas Trail for 3.7 miles and nearly 2000 feet of elevation gain as it switchbacks to the trail's intersection with the Bowl and Bush Mountain trails. The Tejas Trail steadily gains elevation for much of its length, without any really steep sections. This trail also sees a fair amount of traffic on nice days and provides great views of Pine Spring Canyon and Guadalupe and the surrounding peaks.
View from Bush Mountain Trail with Hunter Peak at far left, Guadalupe Peak left of center, and Bush Mountain at far right

Bush Mountain at far right and Guadalupe Peak at far left

Pine Spring Canyon from the Bush Mountain Trail

Once you turn onto the Bush Mountain Trail, the path becomes noticeably narrower, steeper (in parts), and rougher (with more rocks on the trail). It is nearly three miles from the Tejas Trail to the summit of Bush Mountain. The trail follows the ridge above the north side of Pine Spring Canyon, and there are four or five sections where the trail drops down a hundred or more feet only to climb back up again along the ridge.

View west from Bush Mountain

View southeast from Bush Mountain

After 2.5 miles, the trail passes the Bush Mountain backcountry campground in the small valley just east of the peak. From the trail to the campground, it is about 300 feet of elevation gain to the top of Bush Mountain. The trail passes a radio repeater near the summit, at which point a side trail goes of the summit of the mountain and to the western edge of the peak. The cliffs on the peak's western side drop over 1000 feet straight down, and the peak rises nearly 5000 feet above the Salt Basin Dunes only a few miles to the west. The view from on top of these cliffs is spectacular, spanning across far west Texas and southern New Mexico.

Bush Mountain Trail

Trail to Bush Mountain Campground

Summit of Bush Mountain

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