Guadalupe Mountains National Park: No Crowds? Let’s Go!


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.

This was our campsite. 🙄

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!

 

xo, Stef



Stef spent 15 years as an educator in both the public K-12 setting and at the University level in Special Physical Education before making the leap to her true passion… the fitness world. She’s currently a personal trainer and wellness coach with a specialty in working with people with medical conditions and injuries. Stef has been a running enthusiast her entire adult life, and shares James’ love of cycling. She feels lucky they have a shared hobby in bicycling that enhances their RV lifestyle.


    8 thoughts on “Guadalupe Mountains National Park: No Crowds? Let’s Go!

    1. Robert Kelly

      Just watched your after hiking stretches. Is there a reason why you don’t do them before a hike? Seems like the logical way to get loosened up. IDK, I’m old and don’t exercise. Looking to learn.

      Reply
      1. Stefany - Post author

        Compare your muscles to something like, say, a tootsie roll. Put that tootsie roll in the fridge, and it gets hard. But! Once you warm it up in your hands, NOW you can bend, stretch, manipulate it. If you do isometric stretches before a hike it’s a bit like that tootsie roll in a fridge. Any stretch benefit will only happen on warm muscles.

        BUT! Don’t confuse isometric stretching with warming up! To get ‘loosened’ up before a hike you certainly CAN do a few things. Warm-up exercises involve gentle moves to get your HR up and loosen your joints. They actually can involve ‘dynamic stretching’ moves, which is very different than stretching in the traditional sense. Here’s a look at a warm-up routine James does, and you’ll see what I mean about dynamic stretching: https://www.thefitrv.com/fitness-tips/5-minute-warm-up-routine-before-you-go-running-or-hiking-or-anything-cardio/

        That said, the hike itself could be the warm-up phase if you start out extra slow, and give your body the time it needs to get warm. But when it comes to isometric stretching, the type that is going to increase your flexibility, you always want to push that to AFTER.

        Hope this helps! Thx for such a great question!

        Reply
    2. Jon S.

      I visited Big Bend NP a few years ago but somehow did not know about Guadalupe Mountains NP.. I definitely want to visit it now, looks like my kind of place. Cool history and good hiking. Thanks for the post and video.
      Parky sure looked like a great vehicle to travel in.

      Reply
    3. Bill Sprague

      Stef,

      Thank you for a great write up and yet another bucket list addition. My list is now so long I have to make it to 100! LOL! I’ll start working out again!

      Seriously, do you have RV Fitness workout beyond your Blog and YouTube channel? I’m considering joining a nation wide fitness club, so I can work out and take longs showers sometimes. Do you have any brand suggestions?

      Thanks in advance,

      Bill

      Reply
      1. Stefany - Post author

        Hi Bill! Yes I do have suggestions!!! I personally prefer Anytime Fitness, and that’s where I encourage my own personal trainees who travel to join. But! For the majority of the population, Planet Fitness works just fine, and is cheaper! I do have some reservations about Planet Fitness and I shared them in a post a few years back, check out this link! And good for you for focusing on your fitness. I’ll be rooting for you! xo

        https://www.thefitrv.com/fitness-tips/ask-the-fit-rv-best-gym-chains-for-travelers/

        Reply

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