McKittrick Canyon
McKittrick Canyon
4.5
About
Scenic canyon with unique animal and plant life.
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The area
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Attractions
1 within 6 miles
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.5
116 reviews
Excellent
68
Very good
31
Average
16
Poor
1
Terrible
0

Jeremiah Z
Roseville, MN2,398 contributions
Nov 2021
We hiked the McKittrick Canyon Trail all the way to the Notch (10 mi. RT) midweek in early November. We were the first vehicle in the parking lot just after sunrise, and did not see another person until our return back down from the Notch. We did pass about 30-35 people on our return, but overall we were surprised the hike wasn't busier compared to what we had been warned. Back at the trailhead, the lot was still only about half full just after lunchtime.

As noted, the hike is really family friendly and very easy all the way past Pratt Cabin to the Grotto and Hunter Line Shack. If you wanted to just hike to the Grotto and Hunter Line Shack, it would only be about 7 mi. RT, and I think most families could do this. Beyond the Grotto, the hike gets much steeper to the Notch, though we didn't think the elevation gain was what made this section hard, it was the overgrown desert shrubs and vegetation which at times gave us cuts on our arms and legs. But the views from the Notch are incredible, and worth the pain to get there. Make sure to go past the Notch another 300 yards or so for even more sweeping views.

We were a bit early this year to see full fall colors, but there definitely were some, especially between Pratt Cabin and the Grotto. All in all, this is the one hike you don't want to miss if you're visiting Guadalupe Mountains NP (sorry Guadalupe Peak!).
Written December 27, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Grover R
Pensacola, FL16,623 contributions
Mar 2021
On our transition day from Big Bend to Carlsbad, NM we drove El Camino del Rio but I also allowed for enough time to stretch our legs in McKittrick Canyon. We had too much fun taking pictures of El Capitan rest stop so we did not have the full two hours to make Pratt Cabin, but we did have an amazing walk through a unique canyon. Please note Guadalupe Mountains is administer out of Carlsbad so on Mountain time and Daylight Savings keeps the park open until 6:00.

My friend and I made the 5th ford across the creek when we decided to turn around, probably less than a 1/2 mile from the cabin. However, they lock you in at 6:00 and it is a federal felony if you get stuck per the McKittrick VC.

Still we saw most of what we wanted to see in the canyon. One of those unique things was water. As the park time had only recently change, we did happen on 5 unsuspecting deer in the creek bottom. Judging by the smell, we also snuck up on a skunk. Unlike most of our experience in the Chihuahuan desert, McKittrick had wide diversity of plants and animals. Abundant water was a part of this and one of the things that made this hike so interesting. Another part that was cool, both figuratively and temperature wise, was hiking in the shadows of the canyon. This was another reason for the plants and tree we saw.

As for the hike itself, it was very flat and easy. We saw many families with children returning as we were striking out. The path is gravel and wide. This allowed us to make good time just not enough to get to Pratt Cabin. Still the experience and the wildlife was everything I wanted for this hike. For all these reasons, our entire group loved this. We all had a great time at the entrance sign. Of all the parks we visited, Guadalupe was rank first by Alltrails. It may be a park you have never heard of but it has the best trails you ever want to visit. We all highly recommend this hike.

The
Written April 4, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

TwinMom1995
Saint Louis, MO551 contributions
Oct 2019
The McKittrick Canyon Trail starts at the McKittrick Canyon Contact Station where there are restrooms and a water cooler. This is a very pretty trail in Guadalupe NP that is surprisingly lush considering that it’s located in a desert climate. We hiked to Pratt Cabin with is 2.4 miles and stopped for a snack. The trail to Pratt’s has a gradual incline and is easy to navigate. We continued to The Grotto, another 1.0 mile where there are picnic tables. That portion of the trail was also a gradual incline. Based on the recommendation from another hiker we started toward the Notch. At this point in the trail the incline becomes much steeper increasing more than 1,000 feet in about a mile and also becomes much rockier. We realized that we would not be able to get to the Notch due to time constraints and turned back. The views all along the trail were beautiful, not to be missed. On the way back to the Contact Station we encountered a park volunteer who shared stories of the area with us. He also told us that the gates at the Contact Station are closed/locked and if you miss the deadline that’s a problem. Be sure to bring lots of water, a snack (or two), wear decent shoes and use sunscreen. The trail is well marked and easy to follow.
Written April 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

edmondite
edmond, oklahoma1,170 contributions
Oct 2020
As we entered the park Saturday about 10:30 a.m., we were advised by a ranger that the park was almost full and we might not have a place to park. Thankfully when we got to the parking, there were a couple of spaces left. We (two couples ages 45-60) hiked the McKittrick Canyon trail to the Grotto (approx. 6 miles round trip). Beautiful views, colors and interest along the way. Relatively easy but lots of rocks can be hard on the soles. Saw many families with young children enjoying the shallow stream crossings. Checked out the historic cabin, then walked on to the Grotto where there were picnic tables to eat on. Great day!
Written October 26, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Debbie F
Concord, NH187 contributions
Jul 2022
We almost missed this hike. It's a few miles away from the main part of Guadeloupe National Park. So glad that we drove out to take a peek. We had done Guadeloupe peak the day before and were pretty tired, so we had only planned to wander in for a few minutes. My husband went as far as Pratt cabin, sat in a rocking chair there, and promptly fell asleep. I walked the extra half hour out to the Grotto. Whether you stop at the cabin or at the grotto, it's all beautiful. The walk is flat and easy. Bring plenty of water. Highly recommend!
Written August 2, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

SnowyShasta
Portland, OR1,674 contributions
Oct 2020
We visited McKittrick Canyon in mid-October, and were there just as the fall color changes were starting; it would probably have been even more impressive a week or two later. We parked at the Visitor Center (mainly just restrooms and some outdoor displays) and took the nearby trailhead up the canyon. The trial stays near the mostly dry creek, winding back and forth across it several times. It took us about an hour each way to hike the 2.4 miles to Pratt Cabin, and we enjoyed the fairly small elevation change and chance to enjoy the variety of trees and colors. We even saw two deer near the cabin.
Written November 25, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

LittleAppleRed
Manhattan, KS354 contributions
Mar 2021 • Family
Tried to go to Devil’s Hall near the main visitor center, but was turned away because lot was full, and so was campground (we got there on Wed around 10:30am). So we headed to next choice which was McKittrick Canyon. Parking was way less busy, there were restrooms and some interpretive signs (that VC is not open right now). Trail very pretty and peaceful. Gravelly walk for sure! Bring water. Mixed shade and sun. We just hiked to the Pratt Cabin and sat in the rocking chairs and had a snack. Fairly easy 4.8mi RT hike (but it is mostly walking on gravel and river rocks, vs packed trail).
Written March 18, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

TetonCLT
Fort Worth, TX85 contributions
Oct 2020
Always wanted to visit McKittrick Canyon for the Fall colors, and this trip did not disappoint. It was spectacular! The canyon hike is almost as long as the summit hike, but less altitude gain. The surrounding mountains are so beautiful, great vistas. This needs to be renamed Kodachrome Canyon! Loved it, can’t wait to return next fall.
Written October 26, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

TrailBlazer35908
Dallas, TX3 contributions
McKittrick Canyon is a spectacular canyon jewel hidden and protected from the outside world between a narrow outer wall (Frijole Ridge) and the main part of the Guadalupe Mountain Range of West Texas. This 3,000 ft. deep canyon hides a riparian oasis below its big walls supporting some wildlife found in no other place on earth. Wallace Pratt donated 5,632 acres of his beloved canyon to the National Park Service in 1957 opening up the way for the creation of Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

Without a doubt, McKittrick Canyon is the prettiest spot in Texas, especially during the fall when maple, walnut, ash, and oak trees change into their fall colors. Access is only by foot and will take about a 2 mile hike to reach the main body of the canyon. Bring plenty of water in the warmer months.
Written May 1, 2005
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Chloe T
Mobile, AL114 contributions
Mar 2017 • Solo
I felt like this hike allowed a good overview of Guadalupe Mountains National Park. It took me, at 62 and in pretty good shape, most of the afternoon. The temperatures changed a lot during the hike, so I was glad that I had layered clothing and had taken water and a snack. There were beautiful views all along the way, and pretty places to stop and rest. This was the first hike recommended to me by the park rangers and if you only have one day, I think this or Devils Hall would be a good choice. I liked the McKittreck Canyon hike enough to return the next day and go on another hike. This park is about an hour away from anything, so if you are going to visit, look at a map and plan your day. I also hiked the Devils Hall, but do not think I could have done both in one day, but I am not an experienced hiker. The trail was very good and well marked. As a solo traveler I felt safe. I enjoyed the stops and the views along the way.
Written March 16, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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McKittrick Canyon (Guadalupe Mountains National Park) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go