Guadalupe Mountains–Van Horn Loop
Guadalupe Mountains–Van Horn Loop map
- Van Horn Chamber of Commerce, 432-283-2043, www.vanhornchamber.com
- Van Horn Convention and Visitors Bureau, 866-424-6939, www.vanhorntexas.org
- Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce (New Mexico), 575-887-6516, www.carlsbadchamber.com
From I-10 take exit 138 to frontage road. At stop sign between Chevron station and McDonalds, turn right (south) and follow road to golf course. Check in at clubhouse.
Because of the presence of water and the proximity to open desert, the golf course is visited by many birds including raptors, quail, etc.
GPS: 31° 1' 44.81" N, 104° 51' 20.79" W
The Town of Van Horn is located at the crossroads of I-10, US 90, and US 54. Van Horn has one main street. The Okey D. Lucas Park is located near the west end at 1804 W. Broadway just across the street from City Hall and the Convention Center/Visitor’s Bureau.
The Okey D. Lucas Park is a quiet, small, and open park with trees and shrubs, with a dramatic background of Turtleback and Six Mile Mountains. The city has a drip water system that attracts the birds despite the dry area. There are picnic tables and restrooms available Monday through Friday, 8-5 at the Visitor’s Bureau.
GPS: 31° 2' 16.45" N, 104° 51' 22.32" W
The trailhead to Guadalupe Canyon Spring is located off of US 62/180. The driving distance is 110 miles east of El Paso, or 56 miles southwest of Carlsbad, New Mexico. When arriving in Guadalupe Mountains National Park on US 62/180, drive 3.5 miles west of the Headquarters Visitor Center. There is a small parking area on both sides of the highway. Hike up the old highway on the north side of 62/180 to the trailhead.
The trail climbs for 1 mile before intersecting the El Capitan trail. Continue east on the El Capitan Trail towards the visitor center for .3 miles. Then hike off trail down a dry arroyo to the spring. Wildlife and bird species near the spring include deer, javelina, Canyon Towhee, Cedar Waxwing, and Verdin. For more information on this site, visit the visitor center at Pine Spings.
GPS: 31° 51' 15.09" N, 104° 50' 39.68" W
The trailhead to The Bowl is located off of US 62/180. The driving distance is 110 miles east of El Paso, or 56 miles southwest of Carlsbad, New Mexico. When arriving in Guadalupe Mountains National Park on US 62/180, turn towards the Headquarters Visitor Center and park at the Tejas Trail/Guadalupe Peak trailhead.
The Bowl is approximately 5 miles from the Tejas trailhead. In order to hike to The Bowl, begin hiking up the Tejas Trail to Pine Top. From Pine Top hike the Bowl Trail to reach an open area called The Bowl. The Bowl is above 7,500 ft. in elevation surrounded by a coniferous forest of pine and Douglas fir trees. Those willing to make this strenuous hike will be rewarded by the opportunity to view montane species not usually found elsewhere in the area.
GPS: 31° 53' 47.68" N, 104° 49' 39.62" W
These wildlife viewing areas are located off of US 62/180. The driving distance is 110 miles east of El Paso, or 56 miles southwest of Carlsbad, New Mexico. When arriving in Guadalupe Mountains National Park on US 62/180, turn on Frijole Ranch Rd. to Frijole Ranch. From Frijole Ranch visitors can walk .2 miles to Manzanita Spring and .9 miles to Smith Spring.
These springs are reliable places to see bird activity. Bird species that are frequently seen here include Western Scrub Jay, Western Bluebird (winter), Mountain Bluebird (winter), Townsend's Solitaire, Spotted Towhee, and Sage Thrasher. Frijole Ranch and Manzanita Spring are handicapped accessible and Smith Spring can be reached by hiking a short distance from Frijole Ranch.
GPS: 31° 54' 26.57" N, 104° 48' 5.11" W
McKittrick Canyon is located off of US 62/180. The driving distance is 110 miles east of El Paso, or 56 miles southwest of Carlsbad, New Mexico. When arriving in Guadalupe Mountains National Park on US 62/180, turn on McKittrick Canyon Rd. and continue for 4 miles to McKittrick Canyon Visitor Center and trailhead. McKittrick Canyon is a day-use area.
McKittrick Canyon trail follows a perennial stream in McKittrick Canyon for approximately 3.5 miles. Expect typical Chihuahuan Desert species along the beginning of the trail including year-round residents such as Canyon Wrens, Bewick’s Wrens, Greater Roadrunners, Bushtits, and White-winged Doves. Further up canyon the trail enters riparian woodland with big-toothed maple, oak, Texas madrone, and ponderosa pine. In late spring expect to see Western and Hepatic Tanagers, Black-headed Grosbeaks, Grace's Warblers, Plumbeous Vireos, and Broad-tailed Hummingbirds.
GPS: 31° 58' 37.90" N, 104° 45' 7.26" W
Visitors traveling to Dog Canyon can access the area via New Mexico State Road 137. Visitors must turn southwest on New Mexico State Road 137 after driving approximately 11 miles north of Carlsbad, New Mexico on US 285.
Dog Canyon is at the north side of the park at an elevation of 6,300 feet. This is a rarely visited area in the Guadalupe Mountains that offers opportunities to see deer, javelina, Acorn Woodpeckers and Broad-tailed Hummingbirds. This area also provides easy access to the park’s high country forests.
GPS: 31° 59' 40.19" N, 104° 50' 0.55" W