Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

We have traveled with a recreational vehicle and using motels and hotels.  There are advantages and disadvantages to both.  For us, one major advantage of an RV is that it can take you places where there are no motels.

In 2005, we spent several days in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park.  The nearest motel is in White’s City, New Mexico, about 35 miles away.  That is certainly doable, but you should plan to stay in the park at least a few days and a 70-mile round-trip commute might be challenging if the day includes hiking and exploring.

This was and is truly the “wild West” once inhabited by Mescalero Apaches, Kiowas and Comanches, explored by mountain men and trappers, crossed by immigrants looking to settle further west, and settled by a few hardy ranchers.  It was the sight of bloody conflicts between the African-American Buffalo Soldiers of the 9th Cavalry, First Americans and outlaws for eight years between 1867 and 1875.

McKittrick Canyon’s two-thousand-foot-high walls protect an oasis in the desert.  It is thought to be named for Felix McKittrick who worked cattle in the area in the 1870s.  Many feel it is the most beautiful spot in Texas, especially in the fall.

The first permanent structure was built by two bachelor brothers, the Raders, at The Frijole Ranch in 1876.  Its thick stone walls were built near a spring.

Frijole Ranch, Guadalupe Mountians National Park

Because we had a four-wheel drive vehicle, we were allowed a key to the gate at the beginning of a seven and a half-mile drive to the Williams Ranch.  The drive in took us an hour.  The building, built in 1908 in a style more appropriate to the East, was not open.  But it proved a great place for an isolated picnic, we enjoyed being alone, and the scenery inspired mental images of pioneer life.

On your way to the Williams Ranch, you cross the route of the Butterfield Overland Mail.  This stage coach line only ran from 1859 to 1861, but it was the first transcontinental (St. Louis to San Francisco) mail and passenger route.  You can still see the track in the desert after all these years.  Earlier we had walked around the “Pinery Butterfield Stage Coach Station” ruins near our campground.  Our truck was slow by modern terms, but it was air-conditioned and comfortable as we imagined passengers on those stage coaches.

Click on photos to enlarge.

Dates of our visit: 22 April to 25 April, 2005


About ralietravels

Ray and Alie (Ralie) are a retired couple who love to travel. Even during our working years, we squeezed a trip in whenever we could, often when we had to stretch the budget to do so. We have been fortunate to vacation in all 50 states, all the provinces of Canada and one territory and a little more than 50 countries. We like to drive, but we particularly love to travel back roads to find unusual sights, people, and experiences.
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9 Responses to Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas

  1. Coincidentally enough, we watched a restored blue-ray DVD of How the West was Won last night (on our brand new giant HD TV), and the St Louis to San Francisco trail features heavily in the movie! Some great photos here Ray, and yet another place I now want to visit.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This really is the wild west, but I can see what settlers would battle anything just to have these views, the silence, and the peacefulness here. Great photos. I’d love to be there in person.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sue Slaght says:

    Although we have never traveled by RV we can see by your example why it would allow a lot of flexibility. Exploring these wild and remote places looks beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ralietravels says:

      Like almost everything, there are pluses and minuses to using an RV. We enjoyed it while we had it, got rid of it when a family situation prevented any long trips and chose not to get another when a good opportunity to do so came up.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. JohnRH says:

    Wow! Off the beaten path!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. What an adventure!! Enjoyed this post very much. Thank You

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I am envious. A few years back, this NP was on our itinerary after visiting White Sands and Carlsbad Caverns, but we were prevented from visiting because of a wildfire. We hope to be able to make up for that one of these days.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Ray, even today with every possible method of transport at our disposal, areas in this part of the world are a vivid reminder of what incredible adventurers the first settlers were. It seems that nothing is close to anything else out there, and it behooves travelers to be prepared for emergencies. We passed through here on our way to Big Bend, and always in the back of my mind was “I hope we don’t break down.”

    But having said that, it’s so worth the effort and every American should visit to get a feel for how hard life was for our forebears. ~James

    Liked by 2 people

I am interested in your thoughts.

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