McKittrick Canyon, Guadalupe Mountains National Park

4.5
#2 of 6 in Things to do in Guadalupe Mountains National Park
McKittrick Canyon is a scenic canyon within the Guadalupe Mountains of West Texas and Eddy County, New Mexico. The steep towering walls of McKittrick Canyon protect a rich riparian oasis in the midst of the Chihuahuan Desert. The majority of McKittrick Canyon is part of Guadalupe Mountains National Park but is separated from the main park area and managed as a "day-use only" area with limited visitation hours. However, a large part of North McKittrick Canyon is located in the Guadalupe Ranger District of Lincoln National Forest in New Mexico. Access to McKittrick Canyon is via a 4.2-mile (6.8-km) gated side road that leads to the mouth of McKittrick Canyon from U.S. Route 62/180. Here the National Park Service maintains a parking area, restroom facilities, and visitor center, which is staffed most of the year by volunteers.McKittrick Canyon TrailMcKittrick Canyon Trail begins at the visitor center and initially follows a dry stream, crossing the stream bed several times as it works its way up the canyon. At first the vegetation is more typical of the Chihuahuan Desert with various species of yucca, agave and cacti, such as Spanish Dagger, Ocotillo, Lechuguilla, Century Plants, Prickly Pear. Scattered among these desert plants are a few hardy pines, juniper, and the occasional Texas Madrone, an unusual tree with red-colored bark that tends to curl-up and peel off each year.
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McKittrick Canyon Reviews
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TripAdvisor
  • I try to go to McKittrick as much as I can. Because of the leaves changing, and the hike up to the grotto. I would say if you finished hiking from the highest peak of Texas, and still want to hike wit...  more »
  • This place has such a beautiful view of the mountains. We did the nature hike and the Permian trail. It's a must visit. There are restrooms as well as a little video to watch.  more »
  • Flat, well-groomed trail, but follows the canyon for several miles, and the best scenery starts almost two miles in. Given our time, and the fact that it started to rain (rare, but does happen), we ha...  more »
Google
  • The trails are beautiful. Very easy hike. Recommended for everyone, even kids. The facilities were clean. The trails were packed down and well marked.
  • Serious hiking with gorgeous scenery. Lushness if the vegetation depends on the amount of water flowing through the canyon recently. Has been very dry lately.

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Where to stay in Guadalupe Mountains National Park

If you want to stay in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, bring a tent or pull up an RV. The Guadalupe Peak and Pine Spring campgrounds offer camping with services, but you'll also find primitive campsites in the park's wilderness. Spots are available on a first-come, first-served basis, but they are usually available even during peak visitation times. The closest lodging lies about 56 km (35 mi) northeast of the park in the town of White's City. Options are limited here, though. You might have better luck finding something you like further up the road in Carlsbad, the main gateway to Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Most accommodations here are national chain hotels on Route 286. Carlsbad also offers plenty of restaurants.
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3 days in Guadalupe Mountains National Park BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES February, outdoors, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: February, outdoors ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 3 days in Guadalupe Mountains National Park BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES March, outdoors, hidden gems PREFERENCES: March, outdoors ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 20 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, outdoors, historic sites, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: October, outdoors, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 7 days in United States BY A USER FROM UKRAINE February, popular PREFERENCES: February ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Guadalupe Mountains National Park BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES January, outdoors, popular PREFERENCES: January, outdoors ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 11 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, outdoors, historic sites, popular PREFERENCES: December, outdoors, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 7 days in United States BY A USER FROM JAMAICA January, popular PREFERENCES: January ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 1 day in Guadalupe Mountains National Park BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES November, wildlife, slow & easy, popular PREFERENCES: November, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Slow & easy 7 days in Big Bend National Park, Guadalupe Mountains National Park & Carlsbad Caverns National Park BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES January, popular PREFERENCES: January ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 51 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: June, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 7 days in United States BY A USER FROM PHILIPPINES January, popular PREFERENCES: January ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 1 day in Guadalupe Mountains National Park BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, popular PREFERENCES: December ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
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