With soaring peaks on either side, most trails from the Pine Springs Trailhead pack a heart-pounding punch of elevation. This 4-mile out-and-back follows a rocky, rugged wash into Pine Springs Canyon, and with only 700 feet of climbing, it’s one of the easiest in the area.
Start at the park’s main trailhead and follow the Guadalupe Peak equestrian trail along the base of the canyon’s south side. The trail climbs gently through grassy savannah—look right for great views of the Tejas Trail on the east slope. At mile 0.8, break from the equestrian trail toward a rugged set of downhill steps before turning into the wash itself. Covered in rounded rocks of all sizes, the rugged wash winds between the canyon walls which get steeper and more exposed as you proceed. Near mile 1.6, climb stair-stepped layers of the ancient seafloor and bear left into the hallway-like slot that is the highlight of this hike. The wave-textured 50-foot cliffs are about 15 feet wide, and make for a cool, shady escape from the afternoon sun. The trail officially ends at a small sign on the north side of the hallway, but this route continues exploring the widening canyon for a few hundred feet before turning back toward the trailhead.
There is no backcountry water in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, so be sure to pack plenty of your own. For more park info, check the website: www.nps.gov/gumo.
-Mapped by Kristy Holland