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Grover R wrote a review Apr 10
Pensacola, Florida11,123 contributions920 helpful votes
+1
In one of the least popular National Parks is one of the best hikes I have ever done and a favorite of our group. Please understand, this is one of the hardest and most grueling hikes I have done, but the view as you hike with an amazing finish at the top make this such an awesome experience. It is 9+ miles (we had to park at the Visitor Center) and 3,000+ vertical feet that feels a couple of times like it will break you. It is really 3 different mountains rolled into one. The first one is the peak you see from the parking lot and yes it is straight up and yes, the first 1.25 miles is the worst. However, when you get to the top of little Guadalupe as we called it, you see how far you have to go. From here to the bridge is the second mountain that is just as high but over a longer distance with a flat, slightly downhill at the end near the bridge. Then you have the 3rd and last stage to the summitt. It is here that you may feel like stopping, DON'T. Take in the views, catch your breath and keep going to the top. At the Top of Texas, you feel like you have accomplished something and you are rewarded with an unending view. I can not say enough good things about this hike and this park. There is a reason it is top 15 for hikers on Alltrails, the hiking is amazing. This is a West Texas MUST DO.
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Date of experience: March 2021
2 Helpful votes
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cqfp123 wrote a review Mar 2021
Los Angeles, California666 contributions436 helpful votes
+1
It's demanding hike, so preparation is essential. To begin with, arrive at the park no later than 09:30, otherwise the parking lot may be full. You must pay the park entrance fee. Use the restrooms at the visitor center or near the trailhead; there are none on the trail. The trail is steep, well marked, mostly gravel with areas of bedrock. There is no shade whatsoever and no water. Hiking shoes or boots with good grip are essential, and so is a hiking stick. I was amazed to see plenty of people struggling in city sneakers and carrying tree branches instead of hiking poles! A GPS watch is useful, because there are no distance markers. And the usual: hat, sunscreen, dress in layers (it can get very windy on the mountain). The peak can be pretty crowded. If you want a picture with the peak marker, wait patiently for your turn. I was back in a little over 5 hours, including 1.25 hours spent at the top.
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Date of experience: March 2021
2 Helpful votes
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SnowyShasta wrote a review Nov 2020
Portland, Oregon1,450 contributions540 helpful votes
This is a fairly difficult hike, but it's also a way to reach the high point of a state with no mountaineering or climbing skills required. We left the trailhead in the morning (about 8:30 AM), ate lunch along the trail, and were back about 2:30 before things got too hot on an October day. The way up starts steeply for the first mile-plus. You can take a horse trail to reduce the steepness, but it also adds a couple miles to the overall distance. Without doing that, it's about 4.5 miles up and then of course the same 4.5 back. We appreciated the fact that, once we turned to the back side of the mountain, the trail got a lot shadier (although it had sun when we returned later in the day) and cooler. There was also a fair amount of wind for most of the last half of the hike, especially at the top. We enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment upon reaching the marker at the top, and looking out over the Texas desert, as well as down on El Capitan. Wear good shoes, bring lots of water, and enjoy the views.
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Date of experience: October 2020
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Robert M wrote a review Nov 2020
Aubrey, Texas288 contributions83 helpful votes
Yeah. It’s a son of a bitch. It’s every bit a 8.5 mile round trip and that’s from the trail head. If you start at the ranger station add at least a half mile. There are no mileage markers on the way up. Once you cross “the bridge” you’re 45 minutes to an hour from the top. If you’re not an experienced hiker be prepared for an 8 hour hike minimum. Make sure you have hiking shoes with a thick sole. You’ll regret any other shoe choice. You’ll want 4 - 16oz water bottles if it’s cool weather like Halloween when we hiked. If it’s during the summer, more. No way would I want to do this hike when temps are over 80 degrees! Take some sandwiches and snacks up with you to refuel and take beaks on the way up. We took two food breaks and many small stops on the way up. None really on the way down. Although it wasn’t that windy on the way up, many told us that was unusual. Nevertheless, we all had a warm “puffy” coat and they were needed. In addition, we all had a long sleeve shirt and another extra layer just in case. Our knit caps were nice to have but gloves weren’t needed. We had hiking poles for the first time hiking and they were great. They were helpful on the way up but a godsend for the knees on the way down. Take my advice and you’ll know exactly what you’re signing up for. That being said it’s one helluva an accomplishment!
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Date of experience: November 2020
2 Helpful votes
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TetonCLT wrote a review Oct 2020
Fort Worth, Texas86 contributions35 helpful votes
+1
A personal quest accomplished. Start out before 10 to return by 5, if you’re an average hiker. A couple of adrenaline spots, but nothing too threatening. Not for little ones though, older kids would be ok. Great views from the summit, as well as along the trail to the top. Recommend spring or fall. Great guidance with Backwoods Adventures out of Fort Worth TX, they went above and beyond! Absolutely loved it, GMNP stole my heart!
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Date of experience: October 2020
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