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Even though we’ve already returned Parky, the Limited Edition National Park Foundation Travato that was on loan to us for our #parkslesstraveled tour this past year, we still find ourselves reminiscing about this gem of a park we visited this fall; Guadalupe Mountains National Park in west Texas.
Thanks to our national parks tour, I’ve come to learn a little more about me and James.
Like how we’re not good sharers.
Turns out when it comes to being cold or hot on a park, and whether the park is going to leave us with warm fuzzies and a wish to return someday, it’s all about the crowds. The scenery, which tends to be the primary draw for normal people, isn’t enough to win our love. Neither are the amenities and extras, like restaurants or awesome tours. For us, when you put jam-packed crowds (…shudder…) on top of all the other good stuff about the park, it sucks some of the joy and serenity out of the experience.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Guadalupe Mountains National Park HAS scenery. In fact, it’s pretty freaking awesome scenery at that… all thanks to its fascinating history. Plus, it has the highest point in Texas right there in the park. It’s worth a visit just to hike to that!
What Guadalupe Mountains lacks is amenities. No lodges, no gas, no restaurants, and not even any scenic drives. This park, in all its remote glory, is pretty much just about hiking. That’s just fine with us.
And the best part! Guadalupe Mountains lacks overfilled parking lots, long lines, and other tourists!
So naturally, we fell in love.
As we drove in, soaking up the lovely scenery and the lack of other souls (happy day!), we couldn’t help but wonder why so few people visit. Perhaps it’s the DIY nature of the park — so far from any type of regular civilization.
It had us perplexed. Even being as remotely located as it is, the Guadalupe Mountains are one the greatest examples we have of an ancient reef anywhere in the world, and that alone should be a fascinating draw to loads of nature-loving tourists from all over the globe. But, no. Not a single tour bus there, and an almost deserted visitor center parking lot. Go figure! (… and yay for us!)
You see, the whole area was once underwater, and part of a flourishing reef that stretched about 400 miles around the edge of a long-vanished sea. In honor of this, the Guadalupe Mountains even have a time interval named after them: “Guadalupian”, which refers to the period from 272 million to 260 million years ago when the reef was forming.
That rock bed we’re hiking over at Guadalupe Mountains? It has zillions of fossils buried in it from millions of years ago. I mean come on. Is that cool to think about or what?
We overnighted at the convenient campground that’s right at the Guadalupe Mountains Visitor Center, but to be clear, it’s a big paved parking lot and that’s pretty much it. Any size rig would fit, but there are no hookups or showers, and the generator hours are strictly limited. It does get very hot here so do keep the generator hours in mind.
Anyways, if you’re an introverted parks lover like us, put Guadalupe Mountains National Park on your radar. Make sure you come fully-stocked, gassed up, and prepared for lots of hiking. Oh, and in the video, you’ll not only see glimpses of the park, but you’ll also see some stretches that work great for after all the hiking you’ll do. Make sure you’re getting your post-hike stretches in!
Feel free to leave comments, questions, or to continue the conversation below. Happy RVing, all! Hope to see you on the road!