This is a prime hiking park, with more than 80 miles of trails that range from easy walks to steep, strenuous, and sometimes precarious adventures.
Tips from a Ranger
"This is a hiking park," says Michael Haynie, an interpretive ranger at the park. He says the park's two main attractions, which he recommends to all visitors, are the hike to the top of Guadalupe Peak and the colors in McKittrick Canyon, either the trees in fall or the wildflowers in spring.
Haynie says his two favorite hikes in the park are the Bowl Trail and the hike to the Notch in McKittrick Canyon, noting that you can visit any time of year. "Both offer nice variety and great views," he says. "The Bowl offers panoramic, 100-mile views of the desert."
There are five species of rattlesnakes in the park, but visitors probably won't see any, says Haynie. In the history of the park, there have been no reported rattlesnake bites. The biggest threat here is the sun, he says. "The biggest thing to stress is the water. Hikers unfamiliar with desert environments tend to underestimate how much water they need." Haynie says hikers should carry a gallon of water per day, and drink it.
He also warns that because many trails have a lot of loose rock, good hiking boots are essential. The other thing he wants park visitors to keep in mind is that there is no gasoline or other services close to the park, so you should arrive with plenty of fuel and anything else you might need.