Texas - Caves, Canyons and Deserts 8 Days
- Hotel in El Paso: Best Western Airport Inn
- Hotel in Carlsbad: Super 8 Carlsbad
- Transport in private vehicle or taxi
- Airport Transfers and Pickup
- All meals and drinks (alcohol excluded)
- Day Trips
- Professional Guide
- Permits for National Park
We group in historic El Paso lying on the border between Mexico and the US from where we depart to Guadalupe Peak which at 8,749 feet (2,667 m) is the highest in Texas and lies within the Guadalupe Mountains National Park. The mountain range is composed of the ancient Capitán Reef that formed at the margins of a shallow sea during the Permian Period and abounds with fossils. We climb over 3,000 feet (910 m) to the summit of Guadalupe Peak as the trail winds through pinyon pine and Douglas-fir forests and offers spectacular views of El Capitan and the vast Chihuahuan Desert. We spend the next day exploring beautiful Carlsbad Cavern (New Mexico) which offers the third largest chamber in North America and the seventh largest in the world. We drive then to Big Bend to experience a unique desert environment in one of the largest, most remote, and least-visited national parks in the lower 48 United States.
Day 1 - Arrive El PasoWe will pick you up from the airport and take to the Best Western Airport Inn. We are going to spend most of the trip camping so we will go shopping to pick up any items group members forgot.
Day 2 - El Paso to Guadalupe MountainsWe get an early start and drive east for about 3 hours to the Guadalupe Mountain National Park known as the world’s premier example of a fossil reef from the Permian Era. We spend the day hiking the Permian Reef Trail which is popular with geology buffs as the trail has a number of markers detailing the geology. There are excellent views into McKittrick Canyon from the top of Wilderness Ridge. The trail is 8.4 miles round-trip, rated strenuous with 2,000 feet of elevation gain. We camp near the park.
Day 3 - Guadalupe Mountains (Guadalupe Peak)We get an early morning start and head to Guadalupe Peak or “The top of Texas” 8,749 feet (2,667 m). On a clear day, the view from the top are outstanding. The trail is very steep with 3,000 feet of elevation gain, but is well established. The round trip distance is 8.4 miles, and generally takes 6-8 hours. We camp near the park.
Day 4 - Carlsbad CavernsWe make a short drive to the nearby Carlsbad Caverns and our the main section of the cave known as the Big Room which is the third largest chamber in North America and the seventh largest in the world. The caves are well lit and trails are maintained. We drive 20 miles and spend the night at the Super 8 Carlsbad NM where we can clean up and swim in the pool.
Day 5 - Carlsbad to Big Bend National ParkThis is the longest driving day on the trip and we go 276 miles to Big Bend. We stop enroute at Pecos to check out the West of the Pecos Museum a former hotel and saloon now featuring 50 rooms of exhibits showing off artifacts, history and West Texas lore. We camp outside of Big Bend.
Day 6 - Big Bend National ParkWe hike to Devil's Den a 5.6 mile round trip hike to a dramatic limestone slot canyon in the park's northern backcountry. We end the day with a visit to the Hot Springs Canyon where we can soak in the hot pools before we camp nearby.
Day 7 - Big Bend National ParkWe visit Chisos Basin and hike the short 3.5 mile Boot Canyon Trail passing through some of the lushest environments in the Chisos Mountains. We then drive to the western side of the park and take a short walk to the mouth of the stunning Santa Elena Canyon. We spend the rest of the day driving back to El Paso where we overnight at the Best Western Airport Inn.
Day 8 - Depart El PasoWe drop you at the airport in the morning to meet your connecting flight.
- Drinks and Snacks