McKittrick Canyon, Guadalupe Mountains National Park

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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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  • We hiked to the Grotto. The trail starts as pebbles which is like walking on a sandy beach, then it changes to rocks the size of your fist. You have to walk across the dry river bed rocks several time...  more »
  • McKittrick Canyon information center is worth the short drive from the main highway. The view is beautiful and there's plenty of information about the man for whom the canyon is named.  more »
  • We were on a fast return trip back to the Pacific Northwest when passing by we decided to drive up to the canyon. Met by a friendly ranger who told us the history of the area and told us to watch the ...  more »

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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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