People who are traveling in the Western part of Texas near El Capitan Peak may become transfixed by the beauty of the vast mountain ranges that are known as Guadalupe Peak, which is part of the Guadalupe National Park in Salt Flat, Texas. The national park is most known for its beautiful flowers, fossils, lime stone reefs, and high mountain peaks that reach elevations of over 8,500 feet at the highest peak. The lower parts of the mountains are part of the Chihuahaun Desert. Guadalupe National Park is also home to the Carlsbad Caverns National Park in Carlsbad, New Mexico. The mountain range can go on for miles and miles reaching the Sacramento Mountains, Delaware Mountains, Brokeoff Mountains, and the South Plains. The Guadalupe mountains have been around for over 265 million years. In the past ten thousand years, the national park has been home to hunters and gatherers, Europeans, and Mescalero Apache Indians. Other areas that surround the Guadalupe Mountains are six different large canyons that include, McKittrick Canyon, Four Mile Canyon, West Dog Canyon, Valley Canyon, Middle Dog Canyon, Big Dog Canyon and Pinon Creek.
When visiting the Guadalupe National Park, visitors can stay either forty five minutes from the park in beautiful Carlsbad, New Mexico, or they can stay in Van Horn, Texas and drive out to the national park to the visitors center. While in Carlsbad, New Mexico, visitors should visit the Carlsbad National Park and go through a tour of the Carlsbad Caverns, and visit the Living Desert Zoo where they will see the Mexican gray wolf, bison, elk, foxes, pronghorns, bears, bob cats, mountain lions, mules, and badgers. There is also hiking and golfing in the Carlsbad National Park. The Guadalupe National Park also has opportunities for camping and visiting the Williams Ranch, Frijole Ranch, Salt Basin Dunes, Dog Canyon, and McKittrick Canyon.
The flora and trees in the national park consist of pinyon pines, ash, aspen, douglas fir, maple, chinquapin oak, and junipers. Each flora will be more vibrant in color the higher up in elevation the mountains reach. McKittrick Canyon is one of the more popular hiking trails that are filled with beautifully colored fauna, Yucca, Cacti, Agave plants, and dry stream trails. As hikers and backpackers go farther up the trail they will get the best scenic views of the Guadalupe mountains stretching out in all of their glory directly in front of them. Hikers can hike through the trails and reach the mountains where the terrain will become much more difficult to trek. The trek through the mountains will take mountain climbers and hikers two thousand feet up in elevation. Climbers who can handle the steep terrain will be amazed when they reach the notch at the top of the mountain where they can see the vastness of the canyons and desert below them.
McKittrick Canyon also has a steep valley wall that can only be climbed by experienced mountain climbers with mountain climbing equipment that will take them 7,000 feet in elevation. The national park will also have plenty of fossilized reefs that go on for miles. The fossilized reefs will keep visitors perplexed at how marine life that existed millions of years ago during the Permian period could end up fossilized inside of these sediments. The fossils that can be found in these fossilized reefs are cephalopods, horn corals, brachiopods, trilobites, algae, crinoids, fusulinids, and algae. The Sand Basin Dunes are a vast desert of white sands that cover over 2,000 acres where some of the dunes reach up to sixty feet in elevation. There is no camping in the Sand Dunes area, but visitors will not want to miss its beauty before they leave the park.