The Milky Way shines in the night sky, rattlesnakes patrol the trails, and alligator junipers provide the occasional slice of shade for those exploring the 80 miles of hiking that wind through Guadalupe Mountains National Park in western Texas. This Permian fossil reef is home to 8500′ mountain peaks, the highest the state of Texas has to offer.
For most RVers, Pine Springs Campground will prove an ideal basecamp for exploring the park. More or less a parking lot, Pine Springs Campground serves as the base for several hikes, including the 8.5 mile, 3000′ jaunt to the top of Guadalupe Peak itself. Don’t expect much in the way of hookups, but flushing toilets and water are available. The visitor center is within biking, or even walking, distance. Though the park is one of the lesser visited in the National Park System, this parking lot tends to stay bustling given its convenience and only RV-friendly campground Guadalupe Mountain itself.
On the northern end of the park, and cut off from the rest of Guadalupe Mountain, a more serene camping experience awaits those who don’t mind going even further out of their way for seclusion. Dog Canyon Campground offers four RV spots, geared toward shorter rigs and horse trailers, and while not exactly oozing with that traditional campground flare, it’s a bit more campy than Pine Springs’ parking lot.
If staying directly in the park isn’t a top priority free BLM desert camping can be had about 30 minutes north on US 62, at either Parks Ranch Campground or Mile 10 Dispersed camping. Campsites are limited in these areas, so scout ahead to make sure there will be room to park your home on wheels. If those are full a rest area fifteen minutes north of the park is another option, and there’s even a restroom.
If camping without hookups doesn’t feel like your particular cup of Texas tea, two RV parks serving the area–Camp Washington Ranch and White’s City RV Park–are located 30 minutes north in New Mexico. These campgrounds offer somewhat bare bones amenities, but provide electric and water hookups. White’s City RV Park also has sewer connections.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park is one of those places that stretches to meet your itinerary. You could stay for a day or two and feel like you’ve done the entire park, or you could spend weeks hiking the entire place. The flexibility of the park is no doubt the reason Pine Springs is so popular, despite simply being a parking lot. We’d bet our Junior Ranger badges that most people who want to experience Guadalupe Mountains would do well to settle into their little slice of home between the painted white lines.