Guadalupe Mountains National Park is situated in the Guadalupe Mountains of West Texas and preserves the rugged spirit and remote wilderness of the American West. Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas at 8,749 feet and El Capitan, were long used as a landmark by the Butterfield Overland Mail stagecoach line. The Guadalupe Peak Trail offers perhaps the most outstanding views in the park. Climbing over 3,000 feet to the summit of Guadalupe Peak, the trail winds through pinyon pine and Douglas-fir forests and offers spectacular views of El Capitan and the vast Chihuahuan Desert.
The park covers 86,367 acres and is in the same mountain range as Carlsbad Caverns National Park which is located about 25 miles to the north in New Mexico. The Guadalupe Mountains are among the best examples of a marine fossil reef, which formed 260-270 million years ago. Eventually, the sea evaporated and as the reef subsided it was entombed for millions of years until a mountain-building uplift exposed part of it.
Numerous well-established trails exist in the park for hiking and horse-riding. Visitors can see the ruins of an old stagecoach station near the Pine Springs Visitor Center. Camping is available at the Pine Springs Campground and Dog Canyon. The restored Frijole Ranch House is now a small museum of local ranching history and is the trailhead for Smith Spring. The park also contains McKittrick Canyon. A trail in the canyon leads to a stone cabin built in the early 1930s, formerly the vacation home of Wallace Pratt, a petroleum geologist who donated the land in order to establish the park.