Contact Guadalupe Mountains National Park, 400 Pine Canyon Rd., Salt Flat, TX 79847-9400 (tel. 915/828-3251; www.nps.gov/gumo). Books and maps can be ordered from the Carlsbad Caverns Guadalupe Mountains Association, 727 Carlsbad Caverns Hwy. (P.O. Box 1417), Carlsbad, NM 88220 (tel. 575/785-2486; www.ccgma.org).
Because the park's backcountry trails often crisscross each other and can be confusing, rangers strongly recommend that those planning any serious hiking carry topographical maps. An excellent book for hikers is Hiking Carlsbad Caverns and Guadalupe Mountains National Parks, 2nd edition (Falcon Press, 2005), by Bill Schneider, which was published in partnership with the Carlsbad Caverns Guadalupe Mountains Association and is keyed to the Trails Illustrated topographical map of the park. Also very useful is a shorter and less expensive guide, the tried-and-true Trails of the Guadalupes (Environmental Associates, 1992), by Don Kurtz and William D. Goran. These are often available at the visitor center bookstore or from the Carlsbad Caverns Guadalupe Mountains Association.
A small seasonal park newspaper contains pertinent up-to-the-minute information for visitors. It is available free at the visitor center.
Park headquarters and the main visitor center are at Pine Springs just off U.S. 62/180. There are three other access points on this side of the park: Frijole Ranch, about 1 1/2 miles east of Pine Springs and a mile north of the highway; McKittrick Canyon (day use only), about 7 miles east and 4 miles north of the highway; and Williams Ranch, about 8 miles south of Pine Springs and 8 miles north of the highway on a four-wheel-drive road.
The Pine Springs Visitor Center, open daily year-round (closed Dec 25), has natural history exhibits, a bookstore, and an introductory slide program. McKittrick Canyon has a visitor contact station with outdoor exhibits and a slide program on the history, geology, and natural history of the canyon.
On the north side of the park is Dog Canyon Ranger Station (tel. 574/981-2418) at the end of N. Mex. 137, about 70 miles from Carlsbad and 110 miles from park headquarters. Information, restrooms, and drinking water are available.
Fees & Permits
The entrance fee (collected at trail heads) is $5 per person, free for children under 16, and good for 7 days. Camping at developed campgrounds costs $8 per night. Backcountry camping is free, but a permit is required. Corrals are available for those who bring their horses to ride in the park (call the park for reservations); permits are required for horseback riding. All permits are available at the Pine Springs Visitor Center and Dog Canyon Ranger Station, and must be requested in person, either the day before or the day of use.
Special Regulations & Warnings
Visitors to McKittrick Canyon, a day-use area, must stay on the trail; entering the stream is not permitted. The McKittrick Canyon entrance gate opens at 8am daily and closes at 4:30pm during standard time and at 6pm when daylight saving time is in effect.
Neither wood nor charcoal fires are allowed anywhere in the park. Horses are prohibited in the backcountry overnight.