2 Days, 2 Parks – Guadalupe NP

Sunrise view from Pine Springs Campground in Guadalupe NP

Part 2 of our travels through Carlsbad Caverns and Guadalupe area:

We moved to the Pine Springs Campground in Guadalupe National Park after our long day in Carlsbad Caverns.  This was not by choice (that’s another story!) but it ended up being extremely convenient and an okay place to spend a couple of nights in Guadalupe NP.  There were high wind advisories for the area which is common here and we debated whether we should stay another night or move on.  In the end, we decided it was better to hang out here for another night rather than risk traveling and fighting high winds on the road.  Our decision proved wise as we did not experience winds as high as predicted and we enjoyed a really nice hike that day.

Guadalupe 2-2
While the RV spots were basically in a parking lot, you cannot beat the views!!

The RV section of the campground is really just a big parking lot with long pull-through spaces.  There are some limited back-in spaces along the perimeter of the lot for smaller trailers and camper vans.  While not very private, the space we pulled in to was level and we could just stay hooked up to the truck.  There are several hiking trails that originate from the campground so we did not have to drive anywhere.

Our first priority in the morning was to walk the short trail to the visitor center and get some hiking information (and my passbook stamp and NP patch!).  We settled on a nice 4.5-mile round-trip hike to Devil’s Hall which descends into Pine Springs Canyon rather than try a “summit” hike.  This was due mainly to the high winds.  Again, we made the right choice as the canyon was somewhat sheltered and it was a peaceful, warm and windless hike!!

Guadalupe NP is similar to Carlsbad Caverns in its geologic history – both having been formed as a result of the inland sea that existed here millions of years ago.  It is one of the most important examples of a marine fossil reef in the world.  The history of the area is rich with evidence of Native American habitation from the Nde (Mescalero Apache), and subsequent populations of pioneers, explorers, ranchers and, eventually, conservationists.  Unfortunately, when the Nde were faced with the growing population of foreigners invading the region, they did not welcome them and there was a period of intense conflict with the U.S. Army.  The Nde tribes were eventually driven from the area.  The transcontinental Butterfield Stage mail route traveled through this area as well.  We have seen evidence of this stagecoach route throughout the west including our visit to Fort Bowie several years ago.  There is a colorful history connected to this mail route that would be fun to explore more in depth!

Devil’s Hall Hike

This hike travels back into the Pine Springs Canyon to a couple of interesting geologic formations – Hiker’s Staircase and Devil’s Hall.  The “staircase” is carved out of a  rock formation and is the entrance through two large rock outgrowths that signal the entrance to Devil’s Hall.  It really does look like something out of Lord of the Rings!  Very impressive!

It was a moderate hike with beautiful scenery along the way.  We even saw a deer along the trail as well as much more of that danged Ringtail scat – but the Ringtail was elusive!

Whipple Cholla – Opuntia whipplei
I spotted this deer up ahead on the path – he cooperated nicely for a photo op!!
Looking in to Pine Springs Canyon
We stopped for lunch along the trail – caught Jim looking my way!
We decided that it would  be neat to explore this cave!  It would have been a steep scramble up the slope though!!
Hiker’s Staircase
One of the entrance columns into Devil’s Hall 🙂
We climbed up Hiker’s Staircase and entered Devil’s Hall – the canyon narrows past here and is open this time of year.  
Scenery along the hike was spectacular!!
These dead branches just caught my eye 🙂
Jim enjoying a beer after our hike!!  Ah – very refreshing!!
Guadalupe 2-1
Weather started moving in just before sunset – still caught some dramatic lighting on the rocks above the campground!!


7 Comments on “2 Days, 2 Parks – Guadalupe NP

  1. You were wise to postpone your journey west across the Chihuahuan desert. We made the crossing in the spring of 2017. With a ground speed of 60 mph our mileage dropped to 5 mpg. We knew we were bucking headwinds, but didn’t realize they were ~ 40 mph. It was 90 miles across to El Paso and our tank was NOT completely full when we left Pine Springs. Dropping our speed to 45 mph gave us 10 mpg and we made it! Phew, what an adventure i don’t plan to repeat!! No services in that stretch. Safe travels as you head west.


  2. Great photos as always !
    I did the Devils Hall hike when I was camped there too. Beautiful.
    Still planning on trying to make it to CO to visit you guys in August.
    Cheers !


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