Ali and Crew Hike the Highest Peak in Texas

When my childhood friend Alison shared a picture of herself and three girlfriends on top of Guadalupe Peak, I was so impressed. Guadalupe Peak stands at 8,751 feet above sea level in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, one of two national parks in Texas.

These girls came, they climbed, they conquered, they celebrated with champagne. Today I’m interviewing Alison about the trip and getting the low down on this mountain. Good news: it’s not as daunting or as difficult as it seems. My only question is now, How come my girlfriends and I haven’t done this?!  (Beware friends, I may soon be recruiting you for a similar adventure.)

So, what prompted this trip?

My friend Katie, actually. She had done Big Bend the year before, but hadn’t really hiked. She mentioned Guadalupe Mountains to me and we decided to do it, and then two other friends, Allie and Shelby, came too.

When did you go?

  • Halloween weekend. I think October is a great time, it’s not scorching hot and you can actually wear pants and not be miserable.

(Whit’s sidenote — This is how Texans describe winter weather: “You can actually wear pants and not be miserable.”)

LODGING

Did you camp? Where did you stay?

  • We stayed in a hotel in Carlsbad, New Mexico. We didn’t do actual tents. I don’t know if you want to say that on your blog! Haha!

Honestly, some of my readers don’t like staying in tents. Not everyone’s hard core.

ITINERARY

Tell us your itinerary.

  • Day 1 – Left Austin at 2pm, drove from Austin to Carlsbad (7 hours)
    Dinner at a hole in the wall Mexican food joint
  • Day 2 – Hiked to the top of Guadalupe Peak
    Dinner at a local pizza place in Carlsbad
  • Day 3 – Toured Carlsbad Caverns
  • Day 4 – Drove back to Austin

HIKING TO THE TOP

How long was the hike to the top of Guadalupe peak?

  • We started around 9am, and I think it took us about 3 hours to the top.

How did you like it?

  • The hike was really fun. There is an awesome view from the top! Our friend Katie had brought food and champagne. She always likes to have champagne after a hike, and so we went to nearby McKittrick Canyon and had champagne after it was over.

How challenging was it?

  • It was challenging, definitely. There is a 3,000 foot elevation gain. The difficulty is right up front in the first hour. I was winded. Allie was just talking away as we were hiking and I was like, “How are you not winded right now?” Some of us were super fit, but some of us didn’t work out every day. No one complained so I think we all did fine.

Did you feel like you were on a mountain or did it feel like just another hill in Texas?

  • Haha yeah…pretty much another hill in Texas. It was kind of cool though. I think this land is beautiful in its own way, but I much prefer Colorado. The hike was actually really pretty because it had a great mixture of landscapes–arid desert at the beginning of the trail, and then it got rockier, and then there were pine trees in certain areas. Some trees were changing color, and it felt like a wintery day for October.

WILDLIFE

Did you see any wildlife?

  • No, actually. Which was kind of surprising.

WHAT SHE WORE

What did you wear hiking?

  • The other girls wore yoga pants but I wore some Magellan hiking pants and a black work out shirt and then I brought hiking poles.

Sidenote: Whitney and Alison agree that hiking poles are awesome! Super helpful for big hikes.

Did you bring a day pack?

  • I took my Camelbak with water and one granola bar. The hike really wasn’t that strenuous so I wasn’t that hungry.

TIPS FOR WHIT’S WILDERNESS READERS

On your next trip, would you do anything different?

  • I would have loved to camp. But you also have to think about your party you’re with and if you don’t have the gear or the experience it’ a whole different ball game.

Do you have any advice for people going on this trip?

  • Go with a person that enjoys hiking
  • Have hiking boots/shoes – just tennis shoes are not good. Buy them early and break them in.
  • Don’t expect it to be easy like Barton Springs
  • Plenty of water – have a camelback
  • Bring hiking poles

Whitney’s tip: bring a Texas flag to wave in photos up at the top!

All in all, how would you sum up your trip to Guadalupe Peak?

  • It’s a good weekend trip. I thought it was worth the drive. I mean it’s relatively close, it’s here in Texas, so why not go.


DETAILS ON CARLSBAD CAVERNS

Was Carlsbad Caverns awesome?

  • Yeah, it was really pretty. We spent a full day but I mean, we saw a lot of rock. It’s a very impressive cave.

Anything worth doing in the town of Carlsbad?

  • There’s not much to see besides the caverns.

Favorite thing you did at Carlsbad Caverns?

  • We did the lantern tour, where its pitch black except for our lanterns which was really fun. We paid a little bit extra to do that, which I think was worth it. We had this really funny tour guide who was awesome. Then we went around the really big cavern on our own.

Thanks for sharing your adventure with us, Alison! You girls are impressive for making it up the highest peak in Texas. Way to go.

So, who wants to go with me on a girl’s trip?


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