Discover 7 top Campgrounds in Guadalupe National Park! Dive into Texas' natural beauty, from Guadalupe Peak to McKittrick Canyon. Hiker's paradise awaits!
Ready to pitch your tent in the heart of nature? Guadalupe Mountains National Park, spanning across Texas, is the adventurer’s dream you’ve been waiting for!
Let’s dive into the 7 best campgrounds that hikers, like us, absolutely rave about. From the shadow of the towering Guadalupe Peak to the mysterious depths of McKittrick Canyon, these campgrounds are your gateway to exploring the park’s captivating landscapes.
Whether you’re a seasoned camper or a newbie looking for that perfect outdoor spot, we’ve got you covered. So, grab your hiking boots and let’s embark on a journey to discover the campgrounds that put the “great” in the great outdoors!
Pine Springs Campground
Pine Springs Campground offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains, as well as access to a variety of hiking trails. The campground is open year-round, though it may be closed due to weather conditions in the winter months. Reservations are required and can be made up to six months in advance.
This campground is perfect for those who want to explore the beauty of Guadalupe Mountains National Park. There are a variety of hiking trails accessible from the campground, including the popular Devil’s hallway trail. Pine Springs Campground is also a great place to stargaze; its location away from city lights makes for clear views of the night sky.
There are 20 tents and 13 RV sites available at Pine Springs Campground. You can reserve a campsite on recreation.gov for $20 per night, per site. Two group sites can accommodate groups of 10-20 people. Drinking water and toilets are available at the campground (no hookups, dump stations, or showers). Campfires, charcoals, wood fires, and propane firepits are not allowed.
Dog Canyon Campground
Dog Canyon Campground is a great place to enjoy the beauty of Guadalupe Mountains National Park. The campground is situated in a canyon and features beautiful Views of the surrounding cliffs. There are also plenty of hiking trails in the area, making it a great place to explore the park.
The Guadalupe Mountains National Park is home to some of the most beautiful and varied landscapes in Texas. One of the best ways to experience this diversity is by camping in one of the park’s many campgrounds. Dog Canyon Campground is a great option for those looking to explore the park’s southern area.
The campground is located just off Dog Canyon Road and offers easy access to many of the park’s popular hiking trails. It also has stunning views of El Capitan, Guadalupe Peak, and other iconic features of the park.
Dog Canyon Campground has nine tents and four RV sites at 6,300 feet in elevation. Dog Canyon offers a group site that can accommodate 10-20 individuals. Only cooking stoves are permitted; charcoal, wood fires, and propane firepits are not permitted. Campground amenities include drinking water and flush toilets (no hookups, dump stations, or showers).
Frijole Ranch Group Campground
Frijole Ranch Group Campground is ideal for groups, as it offers several large sites that can accommodate RVs and tents. Although there are no hookups available, there is a dump station on site. Drinking water is also available.
The Frijole Ranch Group Campground is set amidst some of the most beautiful scenery in Guadalupe Mountains National Park. towering mountains, lush forests, and meadows full of wildflowers surround the campground, making it a perfect place to enjoy all that the park has to offer.
Hiking trails wind through the nearby woods, and fishing is popular in nearby streams and lakes. In the evening, sit around the campfire and stargaze – you’ll be amazed at the clarity of the night sky in this remote location.
No matter the size of your group, Frijole Ranch Group Campground has something to offer. With large sites, a dump station, and drinking water, it’s ideal for large groups who don’t want to sacrifice convenience or comfort.
Whether you’re coming to enjoy the stunning scenery of Guadalupe Mountains National Park or just looking for a place to escape with friends and family, this campground is sure to deliver.
Only the Frijole Horse Corral Group Campsite is available on the east side of the park for horse users. Visitor horse corrals and campsites can be reserved up to six months in advance.
On the Frijole Ranch access road, this camping area is directly adjacent to Highway 62/180. Due to its proximity to both the highway and the access road, it has little privacy and is prone to road noise. The Frijole Horse Corral can accommodate ten animals.
McKittrick Canyon Primitive Campground
If you’re looking for a remote, primitive camping experience in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, then McKittrick Canyon is the place for you. This secluded campground is located at the trailhead for the McKittrick Canyon Trail, which leads up into the canyon itself.
There are only 10 campsites at McKittrick Canyon Campground, so it’s best to arrive early if you’re hoping to snag one. Each site has a picnic table and fire ring, and there are vault toilets and drinking water available. There is no electricity or cell service here, so come prepared with plenty of food and supplies.
The hike up into McKittrick Canyon is one of the most popular in the park, so be prepared for some company on the trail. The views from the top are stunning, and you might even spot some wildlife along the way. Remember to pack out all your trash when you leave, and help keep this beautiful place wild and pristine!
Guadalupe Peak Wilderness Campground
If you’re looking to get away from it all and enjoy some of the best views that Guadalupe Mountains National Park has to offer, then the Guadalupe Peak Wilderness Campground is the perfect spot for you.
This remote campground is located at the end of a long, winding road, and is only accessible by foot or horseback. However, the effort required to get there is well worth it, as the campsites are nestled among towering pines and offer stunning views of Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas.
Guadalupe Peak Wilderness Campground is on the Guadalupe Peak Trail and lies 3.1 miles from the Pine Springs Trailhead and one mile below the Peak. From the trailhead to the campsites, you gain 2,200 feet of elevation. A small knoll protects the campground from high winds very little. Five designated campsites are marked by tent pads. The sites are exposed to high winds.
Pine Top Wilderness Campground
This is a primitive desert backpacking site. Since it is the first camp at the end of a fairly challenging hike, it is often full. You must obtain a permit from the rangers to camp here. The place is relatively rocky, you can see elk here. The night sky is beautiful. It can be very windy. (50 mph or more).
A Wilderness Use Permit is required for all activities at Pine Top, the closest campsite to the Bowl. The views of the park’s highest peaks from this location are spectacular, making it an ideal choice for a single-night backpacking trip.
Set 3.9 miles from the Pine Springs Trailhead, via Tejas and Bush Mountain Trails, with a 2,300 feet elevation gain, Pine Top is cozy among trees yet susceptible to high winds and lightning strikes. There are eight designated tent pad areas.
Bush Mountain Wilderness Campground
Climb a rock on Bush Mountain to see the view of beauty and to place your feet on a land of a thousand words. The campsites at Bush Mountain are semi-protected from high winds, but backpackers will have difficulty reaching the campground during periods of high wind activity because of the exposed trails.
The Tejas and Bush Mountain Trails connect Bush Mountain Campground to Pine Springs Trailhead 6.2 miles away. Five designated campsites are marked by tent pads.
Bush Mountain Wilderness Campground is located among a unique mix of ancient volcanoes, rugged peaks, and massive canyons – making it a great destination for adventure lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike!
Whether you’re looking for a secluded camping spot in the mountains or to explore incredible natural wonders, Bush Mountain Wilderness Campground has something special to offer overnight visitors.
10 Tips for Camping in Guadalupe Mountains National Park
- Water Wonders: Unlike many other parks, Guadalupe Mountains National Park has no water available at the campgrounds. Bring ample water supply—about one gallon per person per day—to stay hydrated in the arid climate.
- Leave No Trace: This park is a pristine wilderness area. Practice Leave No Trace principles by packing out all your trash and minimizing your camping footprint to preserve the park’s natural beauty.
- Desert Dwellers: Be mindful of the local wildlife. Store food in animal-proof containers and keep a safe distance from creatures like the park’s resident javelinas, which are known to frequent camping areas.
- Starry Sky Sanctuary: The park offers some of the darkest night skies in the country. Bring a star chart or download a stargazing app to enjoy the celestial show, and consider a night hike for the best experience.
- Canyon Cool-Off: Temperatures can soar, but the canyons can be cooler. Plan hikes in places like McKittrick Canyon during the heat of the day for a more temperate adventure.
- Wind Whispers: Guadalupe is known for its strong winds, especially in spring. Secure your tent with extra stakes and consider where you pitch it—sheltered areas can provide a much more comfortable experience.
- Prep for Peaks: If you aim to conquer Guadalupe Peak, start early to avoid afternoon winds and heat. Pack layers as temperatures can vary significantly with elevation.
- Respect the Rattlesnakes: Watch where you step and give rattlesnakes plenty of room. They’re common in the park, and while they won’t bother you if you don’t bother them, it’s best to stay alert.
- Sun Safety: The sun in the desert is intense. Wear a broad-brimmed hat, UV-protective clothing, and plenty of sunscreens to protect against sunburn.
- Hiking Harmony: Many trails offer solitude and silence. Embrace the quietness, leave your speakers at home, and let the natural sounds of the park set the soundtrack for your adventure.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park is an incredible place to get away from it all and reconnect with nature. From its majestic peaks, beautiful desert terrain, and diverse wildlife, a visit to this national park is an experience you will remember.
With these five best campgrounds outlined here, you can easily plan your next outdoor adventure in Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Enjoy the majestic beauty of the area and always make time for plenty of restorative activities during your stay!