Yes, Guadalupe Mountains National Park is part of Texas. But prepare to set aside your preconceptions about a typical Texas landscape here. Sure, there’s desert all around. But things can get decidedly less dry in the stretch of mountains protected by park boundaries. Encompassing the state’s highest point - Guadalupe Peak (8,751 feet) - this 84, 416 acre park isn’t half as large as the state’s other national park, Big Bend, but don’t let that fool you; head to the top of Guadalupe Peak and you’ll be treated to some of the biggest views around, any month of the year. And if you’re one of those sorts who agonizes over timing, we have some pointers to help you pick just the right month to go.
For those who like it hot, summer is the obvious choice. Though it usually hovers somewhere in the 80’s during the day, you’ll want to pack along some rain gear, particularly if you’re planning to hit the trail late summer when bone-rattling thunderstorms are most frequent. With nightly lows in the 60’s though, this makes for perfect camping weather, occasional flash floods aside. This is also the best time to spot wildflowers, which spring to life when watered by the monsoon rains of summer.
Fall is one of the most popular times to visit Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Rain is uncommon, the nights get crisp and importantly, cooler temperatures spark a dazzling display of reds, oranges and yellows in the hardwood trees found sheltered in spots like McKittrick Canyon. There’s not much wind, nor risk of flash flooding so if you’re an avid hiker, October and November are the ideal months to plot a trip to these parts.
Believe it or not, it snows in Texas. And as the highest point in the state, Guadalupe Peak and the surrounding mountains are occasionally treated to a blanket of white stuff. For visitors, this can mean both great photo opportunities but also sometimes hazardous trail conditions, particularly when coupled with not uncommon wind gusts, so pack accordingly.
Spring weather can be pleasantly mild, then enter dramatic wind gusts - we’re talking over 70 miles per hour or more. Exciting or a nuisance, depending on your feelings about the wind.
In sum: Guadalupe Mountains National Park is known for a climate that is on average relatively mild. However, be aware that summer monsoons, winter snowstorms and spring winds can turn even the mildest of days dramatic in short order. Suitably prepared for this possibility you’ll find the Guadalupe Mountains a rewarding destination year-round.