McKittrick Canyon is Guadalupe Peak's equal opposite in elevation gain (200 ft. v 3,000 ft.) and mileage (4.8 miles round trip v 8.4 miles) but it should not be missed. The trail provides incredible diversity in plant life due to the presence of a small stream. Because of the availability of water, the desert plants are some of the healthiest we have encountered outside a botanical garden. One Yucca we photographed is easily 40 feet tall.
An especially nice feature of this trail is that there is so much to see on the way. The landscape changes from desert to woodland. There is a the side trip to Pratt's cabin which is a marvel of stone architecture. The stone roof was especially unique. We sat near a small series of small rapids listening to the water and song birds. Next is the grotto, a shallow cavern of limestone stalagmites and stalactites that are still growing and finally the Hunter Ranch line cabin that signals the end of the trail. On our walk we encountered only five other people. If you can't find something to like on this hike, you're not looking. Detailed information and a map can be found on the National Parks website. It was a relaxing way to spend the afternoon.
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