Guadalupe Mountains TX – Bowl Loop

trip report by site editor Rick McCharles

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

  • 8.5 miles
  • 2380ft elevation gain
  • side trip to climb Hunter’s Peak

The Parks recommends a (strenuous) 6-8 hours. In a rush to finish before dark, I did it in 4.5 hours.

Trailhead is the Pine Springs Visitor Center. I checked in with a Ranger on trail conditions. She neglected to tell me there was a LOT of snow up in the Bowl.

My guidebook recommended to climb up via the Tejas trail.

Bowl Loop, Guadalupe Mountains TX Bowl Loop, Guadalupe Mountains TX Bowl Loop, Guadalupe Mountains TX

A very easy way gain all that altitude. Very well maintained.

Bowl Loop, Guadalupe Mountains TX

Up top in the bowl it looked like the Canadian winter I’d fled.

Bowl Loop, Guadalupe Mountains TX

I met only one other hiker. She too was surprised with the snow.

It’s a different ecosystem up here.

A beautiful coniferous forest of pine and Douglas fir … awaits those who are willing to hike up 2500 feet from the Chihuahuan desert below.

Bowl Loop, Guadalupe Mountains TX

Close to the turnoff for Hunter’s Peak I saw a herd of mule deer. I’m not sure why they are so high this time of year.

Bowl Loop, Guadalupe Mountains TX

Behind me is the highest point in Texas – Guadalupe Peak. I left a Summit Stone.

Great vistas.

Bowl Loop, Guadalupe Mountains TX

flat desert below

From there I needed to either backtrack. Or finish the loop.

Signage in Guadalupe Mountains National Park is not nearly as good as in Big Bend. The free Parks trail map is not detailed enough to do many of the hikes it recommends. Get a better map.

Happily I did find the sign to Bear Canyon Trail. The descent was much different — and much steeper — than how I got up.

water pipe

water pipe

I saw some strange wreckage. An airplane crash, I assume.

Bowl Loop, Guadalupe Mountains TX

It was much quicker down than up.

Bowl Loop, Guadalupe Mountains TX

In fact, for most people it’s better to climb on Bear Canyon, descend on Tejas. Easier on the knees. We’ve added The Bowl to our list of best hikes in North America.

related – Backpacker – Guadalupe Mountains National Park: The Bowl

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s