The main reason why you might want to stay at this campsite during your visit to West Texas and Guadalupe Mountains National Park is to summit Guadalupe Peak and stand on the highest point in Texas. And the main reason why you hike to the peak is to see the views.
There are no facilities or amenities at this campsite - no water, no restrooms, no shelters, no firewood, no wifi. Just views that stretch on for miles and miles.
You'll likely start your trip by checking into the Pine Spring Visitor Center where you can obtain a backcountry use permit. Permits are issued on a first come, first serve basis so try to arrive as early as possible and preferably before noon. During peak visitation periods permits may be in demand, so it might be a good idea to stay one night at the Pine Spring campground. If the Pine Spring campground is full, there is some Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land nearby in New Mexico. Ask the visitor center for more info. The backcountry permit authorizes camping in designated sites in the established backcountry campsites. Fires are prohibited so containerized fuel is your best bet to be used for cooking.
The hike from the Pine Springs Visitor Center to the Guadalupe Peak campground is 3.1 miles - and it is almost all uphill. The hike from the Guadalupe Peak campsite to the peak is an additional 1 mile. The campsite is on a nook of the mountain and marginally protected from high winds. There are a few trees and a few rock windbreaks near the tent pads. The winds often exceed 80 miles per hour, so even if it is not windy when you arrive, secure your tent with additional guy lines. Elevation gain from the visitor center to this campsite is about 2200 feet. You'll need to carry all of your water for your ascent and descent so be prepared to haul 4 to 8 liters depending on the season, heat and personal needs.
After you've conquered Guadalupe Peak and hiked around other parts of the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, check out the nearby Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico.
This is a backpacking campsite just over 3 miles away. The peak is about a 7 hour hike.
Yay: I wouldn’t call this camping, it is backpacking. So there are no amenities at all and you can’t get here by car.
Nay: very windy! Also not car camping.
Surprise: wonderful hike but very steep!
We had a great time. Overall experience with the park and staff was good extremely friendly and helpful. We drove 10 hours to find their camp ground full they were able to make room and squeeze us in. Saved us a headache. The hike it's self can be done in one day but we chose to stay the night on the mountain and if you do be sure to set your tent on the east side to catch an awesome sun set view in the morning. Do take a lot of water because there is no supply on the mountain. Definitely a must for any Texas Hiker!
Primitive campsite on South Rim trail. Trail to campsites branches off from the junction of the Pinnacles trail and Emory Peak trail. As we were first summiting Emory Peak, we took Pinnacle trail up, dropped off our gear the junction of Pinnacle trail and Emory Peak (there are several bear boxes), and summited. After, we returned, grabbed our gear, and set off down the South Rim trail. There were several primitive campsites in close proximity. Our campsite had a large metal bear box in which you could store food and packs. The site was large enough for a few tents (2-3); we had a group of five and had more than enough room. Nearby, there was a compostable toilet that was shared by the surrounding campsites. The toilet is rather open, and they ask to add on soil/mulch after using the bathroom. There is not a water source (to my knowledge) anywhere on the mountain or close to the trail, so you must pack in all water. This campsite is approximately a mile from the junction of Emory Peak and Pinnacle trail; where it meets with the two, the peak is a mile further along. Additionally, if you continue along the South Rim trail, there are breathtaking views atop the ridge that look out over an immense canyon. On a clear day, you can easily see the Rio Grande, Mexico, and the cliffs and mountains across the border.
I went up for Labour Day weekend last year. My friend and I were able to share the group site with two other groups. We all got along well with no issues.
You are unable to reserve sites there.
I did two hikes, the first was the Devil's Hall Trail, which is along a wash and into a canyon. 4.2 miles round trip and moderate.
The next morning we did the Guadalupe Peak trail. We started around 7:30am, got to the summit around 12:30pm and then got back down around 4pm. We were chased down by some thunderstorms that were common that time of the year.
Next time I do it, I would start the hike before the sunrise.
Be sure to bring plenty of water on any of the hikes and good shoes.
The campground over all is nice. Water and composting toilets are close by and flush toilets are a close walk.
There is an amphitheater near the camp where the rangers told stories about the area, which was pretty neat.
I stayed at the Pine Spring campground before hiking to Guadalupe Peak over Thanksgiving weekend. I got one of the last campsites so be sure to arrive early as they are first come, first serve. The campground is great and there is sufficient spacing between tent sites to allow you to have some privacy. There are minimal facilities but there are water spigots near the road and composting toilets. There is a bathroom with flush toilets near the RV parking including an area where you can wash your dishes. I highly recommend visiting the park and the hike to Guadalupe Peak is a must!