Which Entrance Is Best For Guadalupe Mountains National Park? (2023)
Thinking about visiting Guadalupe Mountains National Park? The Guadalupe Mountains are massive and can be accessed from both Texas and New Mexico. There are multiple entrances to the park, and each one has something unique to offer visitors. So which entrance is best for you?
How Many Entrances Does Guadalupe Mountains National Park Have?
There are four entrances to Guadalupe Mountains National Park: Dog Canyon, Pine Springs, McKittrick Canyon, and Williams Ranch.
Dog Canyon is located in the northwestern part of the park, just south of the Texas & New Mexico border.
Pine Springs is located in the central part of the park and is open year-round as well. The Pine Springs entrance is the most popular entrance to the park, as it provides access to many of the park’s main attractions, such as a quick trip to Guadalupe Peak.
McKittrick Canyon is located in the northeastern part of the park and is open year-round. McKittrick Canyon is a popular destination for bird watching and hiking.
Williams Ranch is located in the southwestern part of the park and is used for 4×4 vehicles only. Unfortunately, as of 6/20/22, the Williams Ranch entrance is closed indefinitely due to road damage caused by heavy rain.
What Are the Best Entrances for Guadalupe Mountains National Park?
Many visitors find that either the Dog Canyon or Pine Springs entrance is best for Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Dog Canyon provides visitors with a more remote and rugged experience, while Pine Springs is a better option for those looking for easy access to the park’s main attractions.
You’ll most likely be entering from Dog Canyon if you’re coming from the New Mexico side of the park, as it’s the only entrance located on that side. Pine Springs is a better option for those coming from Texas.
Can You Just Drive Through Guadalupe Mountains National Park?
The Williams Ranch entrance is the only entrance that allows you to drive through the park to get a better view of the rugged landscape, but requires a 4×4. There are no other driving tours or roads once you get inside the park.
However, as mentioned earlier, this entrance is closed indefinitely due to road damage.
Can You Go Off-Roading In The Park?
Off-Roading is prohibited in Guadalupe Mountains National Park.
How Early Can I Enter Guadalupe Mountains National Park?
Most of the trails and campgrounds in Guadalupe Mountains National Park are open 24/7, although certain parks and facilities have different hours. The entrance fee is $10, and it’s good for 1 to 7 days of consecutive use in the park. You can also purchase an annual pass for $35, which actually covers up to four adults in one vehicle.
As far as the visitor centers go, here is a rundown of their hours:
|Pine Springs Visitor Center||8:00am – 4:30pm|
|Frijole Ranch (Day-use)||8:00am – 4:30pm|
|McKittrick Canyon (Day-use)||8:00am – 4:30pm|
|Dog Canyon||Open depending on staff availability.||Currently closed indefinitely.|
|Williams Ranch (Day-use)||N/A||Currently closed indefinitely.|
|Dell City Contact Station||Generally unstaffed. Staff may be there during week-day business hours.|
What Is the Closest Town to Guadalupe Mountains National Park?
Although this national park is based in Texas, the closest town to Guadalupe Mountains National Park is actually in Carlsbad, New Mexico. Carlsbad is located about 30 miles from the park.
Carlsbad is a relatively “big” small city, with a population of over 110,000. It’s only a 1-hour drive to Guadalupe Mountains National Park, making it a convenient place to stay if you’re planning on visiting the park.
There’s also a Carlsbad in Texas, however, this city is much smaller (with a population of only 550) and is located about 4 hours from Guadalupe Mountains National Park. So, if you’re looking for the closest city to the park, be sure to head to Carlsbad, New Mexico.
Do You Need a Reservation for Guadalupe Mountains National Park?
There are no reservations required to go hiking in Guadalupe Mountains National Park. However, if you’re planning on overnight backpacking or camping, permits are required, and you can make reservations for campsites.
Can I Enter Guadalupe Mountains National Park without A Car?
You will need a car to get to Guadalupe Mountains National Park, as it is located in a remote area. Once you’re inside the park, however, you can explore on foot – you actually have no other choice. There are no roads or driving tours inside the park.