Thank goodness for 8,740-foot Guadalupe Peak: Hikers flock to the state high point, leaving nearby 8,615-foot Bush Mountian's see-forever slopes much quieter. Nab a free permit for the Bush Mountain campsite, then take the Tejas and Bush Mountain Trails 5.9 miles to the peak's western escarpment. With its wide-open views over the Salt Flats, Patterson Hills, and dog Canyon, you won't even miss those 125 feet. Info http://nps.gov/gumo
At eight thousand feet in Guadalupe Mountains, the Texan desert seemingly stretches forever.