This hike will take you from the Chihuahuan Desert, up through a canyon, to a treed ridgeline, and back down. The loop allows you experience the variety of environments within the park and offers some great views of the surrounding area. Make sure you're up for it through; the summer heat can make this one feel longer than it is. Come prepared.
This is a strenuous hike and there are no water sources along the way. Though the route winds up through Bear Canyon, and there are few trees along the ridgeline, most of the route is very exposed. Be sure to carry plenty of water, and wear sunscreen and a hat.
This hike starts from the Pine Springs Trailhead and heads west, very briefly, on the Guadalupe Peak Trail
. Take your first right onto the Tejas Trail
and cross an old dirt road. The trail then crosses the Delaware River (mostly a sandy wash) and reaches a junction on the other side. This junction is where the loop splits; you can hike this either direction. To follow as mapped take a right onto Foothills Trail
which follows the braided Delaware riverbed. About 0.5 mile into the hike, the trail splits; take the Frijole Trail
heading north as the trail winds along through uninterrupted Chihuahuan Desert.
After about one mile on the Frijole Trail
, Bear Canyon Trail
turns left and heads north. This is where the going gets tough. The grade steepens significantly as you climb up through Bear Canyon. There area few switchbacks to help ease the grade, but be sure to watch your footing as there is loose sand and gravel in places that can make traction treacherous. As you reach the ridge, the grade eases a little. Bear Canyon Trail
ends at the junction with the Bowl Trail
Take a left onto the Bowl Trail
and follow it to the junction with Hunter Peak Trail
. Take this short detour up some steps to the summit of Hunter Peak. This is a great place to sit and take a break or eat lunch. Plus the views are quite nice! When you're ready, head back down the trail and take a left to continue west on the Bowl Trail
. After about 0.5 mile you'll reach a junction where the Bowl Trail
splits; stay left following the ridgeline west.
The Bowl Trail
ends at the junction with the Tejas Trail
and Bush Mountain Trail
. Turn left to follow the Tejas Trail
to descend from the mountains. The trail winds in and out of some valleys as it heads south. If you keep and eye open, you might be able to spot the Devil's Hall Trail
below you. The trail gradually descends and before long you'll be back near the start. At the junction with Foothills Trail
, a right to stay on Tejas Trail
will lead you back to the parking lot.
Common Chihuahuan Desert flora and fauna.