After we left Carlsbad Caverns, we headed down the road a bit and back into Texas, to Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Our plan was to hike a trail, then get on the road for the drive to Big Bend. Our plan also included food, which there was none of. I can’t recommend eating at Carlsbad Caverns enough. There is nothing in this area. We had enough snacks and water that it wasn’t a huge deal, we just wanted a meal, not snacks.
We ended up doing the Smith Spring Trail. It’s 2.3 miles roundtrip with a 400 feet elevation change. It was fairly easy. There were times we weren’t sure if we were on the trail, but since we were going up, we could see the road and a few other landmarks, so it wasn’t anything to worry about.We did find a lot of scat. My sister and I debated on what animal it came from and never came to a solid conclusion. We never actually saw any animals though.
As we walked higher into the mountain, the land changed from desert to more wooded. We were happy to find some fall foliage! That is something I miss since south Texas doesn’t have much in the way of fall.
If you plan on doing this park, there are plenty of places to camp and a variety of trails, ranging from the short and easy, to the long and strenuous. Our original plan was actually to do the McKittrick Trail, which is 7.3 miles one way, but we just didn’t have enough time to squeeze everything in. We had 3.5 days, but needed more like 5 or 6 to fit everything in.