Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Guadalupe Mountains National Park is a relatively small and refreshingly uncrowded national park. Only an average of 170,000 annual visitors come to explore the 85 miles of hiking trails. Compare this to the 4.1 million visitors who explore the much larger Yellowstone National Park and you can appreciate the difference in crowds. The Guadalupe mountains are located on the border of Texas and New Mexico. Only a small portion of the park is accessible by car and a fair amount of driving is necessary in order to visit each of the 4 main regions of the park. However, the largest area of the park – Pine Springs is easily accessible off of US 62/180.  

Dog-Friendly Activities

If you are traveling with a dog, your exploration of Gaudalupe Mountains will be very limited. However, that doesn’t mean that if you are driving by, you shouldn’t consider a stop. Dog’s are allowed on the limited roads, in the campgrounds and picnic areas, and on one trail – the Pinery Trail. The Pinery Trail connects the Pine Springs Visitor Center to the ruins of Pinery Station (an old stagecoach stop). It is only 0.8 miles in length, but if you also connect it to the trail from the campground, you can walk a little further.

The Pinery Trail is an easy, mostly paved walk, but it does offer some nice views of the mountains. At the end of the trail, are the ruins of the Pinery Station, which is the only remaining station ruin standing close to a major thoroughfare. U.S. 62/180 roughly follows the original Butterfield route through Gaudalupe Pass. For more information about this trail, check out the the official website for Guadalupe Mountains Although we wished it was much longer, we enjoyed our short walk down Pinery Trail.

For more information about pets in Gaudalupe Mountains National Park, check out their pet policies here. Or if you want an overview of which parks are dog-friendly, check out our summary post of national park pet policies


There are two front country campgrounds in Guadalupe Mountains National Park. One at Dog Canyon and one at Pine Springs. We stayed at the Pine Springs campground, which had a nice tent camping area and a parking lot style RV camping area. At least it was only $8/night.

One word of caution: We arrived at Gaudalupe Mountains National Park on May 1st and it was WINDY! The RV was continually buffeted by the wind in the campground/parking lot. Enought that without any level jacks set up, we were nervous about the extent of rocking. We asked a ranger about the weather and found out that this area has an entire windy season. The ranger mentioned that this windy season typically ended around Memorial Day and was followed by a rainy season. But he assured us the fall weather was spectacular. So when planning your trip to this area, keep the wind in mind. We ended up not staying the whole night and headed down towards Carlsbad Caverns. We found a lovely, much less windy, free BLM spot just outside of Whites City, New Mexico.

Activities in the Surrounding Areas

We didn’t stay long in this area, but there is a fair amount of BLM land that is much more dog-friendly than the National Parks.

The pictures below are from our BLM campsite near Carlsbad Caverns. To find this campsites we first used We supplemented our knowledge of the site with this fantastic post by There were already a few campers there, but we were able to find a place to park and it was a lovely spot for the night.  We even got in a nice evening/sunset walk with the dogs. 

Have you visited Guadalupe Mountains with or without your pooch? What are your thoughts on the park and the surrounding areas? We would love your comments below! If you want to continue following along with our adventure, check out our National Parks page. We will be posting at least one National Park article per week until we are caught up on our travels.


Kate is the writer of Pawsitively Intrepid. She has spent the last 9 years working full-time as a veterinarian, treating dogs and cats. But as of June 2023, she is taking a year to travel with her dog, volunteer, and work on some passion projects.

3 thoughts on “Guadalupe Mountains National Park

  1. Good to know about the Pinery Trail. We will be visiting this park, along with Carlsbad Caverns, for the first time this year and plan on having our dog with us as usual. Did you happen to find any trails outside of these parks, but nearby, that are dog friendly? We’ve been to the Davis Mountains with her, where there are plenty of dog friendly trails, but haven’t been as far as the Guadalupe Mountains quite yet. I see you also have an article on some of the more dog friendly national parks (didn’t know those existed) and will have to check that out as well because we plan on doing a few outside of Texas this year.

    1. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to spend much extra time in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park/Carlsbad Caverns National Park area. The nearest National Forest is Lincoln National Forest and you can definitely hike with your dog there, but that is a couple of hours drive away. There is also some BLM land in that area that you can enjoy with your pup, but the BLM areas do not have as many developed trails. If you find any good trails, please let me know! And either way, enjoy your trip. It’s a fun area.

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