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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
- Distance: 6.3
Location: 31.896652, -104.828196
The Pine Springs Trailhead serves as a RV camping area and has both water and restrooms on its south side. Be sure to self-register at the trailhead kiosk before starting off. You’ll turn uphill and follow the Devil’s Hall Trail at the first junction just a few feet from the trailhead.
Location: 31.896579, -104.829354
Turn right at this 3-way junction. The Devil’s Hall Trail follows the Guadalupe Peak equestrian trail for 0.8 miles as it winds above the canyon’s wash. Look for deer, Texas madrone, yucca, and hikers on the opposite hillside’s Tejas Trail as you walk west.
Location: 31.901432, -104.841073
Stay straight on the Devil’s Hall Trail at this 3-way junction. The horse trail switchbacks sharply uphill to your left, but you’ll branch from it and descend a set of rocky steps as you continue into the canyon up ahead.
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Just past mile 1, a small sign directs you toward the bottom of the wash. From this point, you’ll be picking your own way up the rocky path. Though stones sometimes flank the most direct route, you might briefly loose the trail as you climb rocky steps several feet high.
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What looks like a dead-end is actually known as the hiker’s staircase. You’ll climb about 50 feet up a series of three short staircases formed by eroding layers of sedimentary rock.
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A small, metal sign marks the end of the trail, but this route continues a little further into the canyon. If you’ve had your fill, turn back here, but if the canyon is crowded, or you’ve got some extra energy, continue on. The canyon widens up ahead before trees begin to choke it out.
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Turn around where the canyon widens and retrace your steps back to the trailhead.
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Write your name and destination on the register at the trailhead kiosk before hitting the trail. Though there are signs marking this route, it’s also smart to spend a few minutes studying the map and reading up about local dangers including snakes and dehydration.
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This trailside tree is bright with red berries in the fall but shows its frilly pink side when it blooms in the spring.
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Along its initial stretch the trail cruises above a wash and traces the south side of the park’s largest canyon. You can’t see Guadalupe Peak (which is behind the hill on your left) but you’ll see Hunter Peak on the canyon’s opposite side.
Location: 31.900951, -104.837077
The trek up Devil’s Hall is also known for its display of fall colors. Big-toothed Maple and oak, common on the more famous McKittrick Canyon Trail, also color this hike.
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The trail follows the wash at the base of Pine Spring Canyon for about half its distance. This sign marks the transition between the dirt trail and the rocky one along the wash’s base.
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Expect occasionally well-placed rocks to guide the way up the wash, but also expect to pick your own way over and around boulders as the dry river bed rises.
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The first exposured sections of the layered canyon wall appear around mile 1.5. Small plants (and not so small plants) have established root on the wall’s narrow ledges.
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As you climb toward Devils Hall you’ll have to climb stairs created by eroding layers of sedimentary stone. You’ll climb more than 50 feet over three flights of them.
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The narrow hallway for which this hike is named is a cool, shaded slot.