A small portion of the trail is shaded (between Pratt Cabin and the Grotto), but you will be exposed to the sun on the remainder of the trail. As previously mentioned, it is 6.8 miles roundtrip from the McKittrick Canyon Trailhead, to the fascinating Grotto formation, making this an ideal length for a day hike. The Top 5 Best Canyons in Texas Location of the Top 5 Best Canyons in Texas #1: Santa Elena Canyon #2: McKittrick Canyon #3: Palo Duro Canyon #4: Caprock Canyon #5: Seminole Canyon Gear Recommendations for the Best Texas Canyons The Top 5 Best Canyons in Texas Thanks for writing in to let us know!! Remember that as Daylight Saving has ended, the gate to McKittrick Canyon is now open daily from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. MST. McKittrick Canyon Trout Captured For Study . THE BUCKET LIST Bryce Canyon Utah_x000D_ 3734N 11211W / 37.57N 112.18W February 25, 1928 35,835.08 acres . In its entirety, McKittrick Canyon Trail runs a total of approximately 11.1 miles from the trailhead at the McKittrick Canyon Visitor's Center (31.977596, -104.752145) to the point where it intersects Tejas Trail (31.977596, -104.752145), which is an additional 8 mile hike to park headquarters at Pine Springs Visitor's Center. Eggs are laid in shallow nests dug out by the female in gravel riffles. McKittrick Canyon Trail Since McKittrick Canyon is a hundred miles east of El Paso and two hundred miles due west of Midland, you could say it's in the middle of nowhere. Our website uses cookies. In the spring, the canyon bursts into life with an array of blooms. . . The truth, the Texanist is sorry to report, is that there are no rivers in Texas, the Guadalupe included, that are cold enough to support a real trout fishery. McKittrick Canyon is a definite must see. Written by and Photos Courtesy of: Matthew Jacobs. The McKittrick Canyon Trail is located in Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Read that paper for background. As a solo traveler I felt safe. Considered by some to be the most beautiful fish in the world, it embodies everything that makes fly fishing great. The Next Frontier of Science is in your Backyard (with you and your smartphone), Biotechnologies for Conservation & Their Intended Consequences, History of UT Herpetology, Part 3: Eric Pianka, the "Lizard Man". Can College Sports Get More Absurd Than SMU Joining the Pac-12? Hiking shoes. Required fields are marked *. For one, McKittrick Creek would have been fair game for fishing, as Guadalupe Mountains National Park wasnt established until 1972 (although the Texanist has no idea if there were trout present before those early stockings). By the mid-20th century, trout were still being discussed as native or possibly native to Texas. I wont make any recommendations on this page that I havent tested or personally used! Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park is an incredible place to visit for anyone interested in outdoor activities or simply admiring the park's breathtaking scenery. Expect to see resident mule deer enjoying the peaceful serenity of the canyon. Ragland Studio and Litho Printing Co., Georgia) noted the only possible locality for native trout in Texas was in the Davis Mountains (Limpia Creek) and that "oldtimers" had stated that trout were present in that location, but the reports were never verified. The trail feels more sheltered and its a little easier to walk, now that you arent hiking on loose gravel. The elevation gain to the Grotto is minimal, at just around 300 feet elevation gain. Off to the right, Wilderness Ridge looms over the canyon. The first piece of evidence for this is simple geography. There will be a new video segment out soon, and it will go over the importance of keeping a fly fishing calendar, or diary, to help we who are of lesser memory and greater activity; to keep track of your fly fishing adventures as a reference of what can happen or no longer happens (in [], Texas Clay Fest Gruene Texas This Weekend. This 3,000 ft. deep canyon hides a riparian oasis below its big walls supporting some wildlife found in no other place on earth. From the trailhead, you enter McKittrick Canyon. The extra traction on hiking shoes will make it easier and safer to hike the rocky trail to the Notch. Discover McKittrick Canyon in Culberson County, Texas: Steep canyon walls hide a forested oasis in the West Texas desert. But your reward is better views, an overall more interesting hiking trail, and just a fraction of the number of people that the McKittrick Canyon Trail. Please note Guadalupe Mountains is administer out of Carlsbad so on Mountain time and Daylight Savings keeps the park open until 6:00. He backpacked in and got some beautiful photos of the trout in McKittrick Creek. Bulletin of the U.S. Because of the availability of water, the desert plants are some of the healthiest we have encountered outside a botanical garden. That species is widely stocked around the state and there is one permanent population in McKittrick Creek, Guadalupe Mountains National Park, where it was introduced in the early 1900s. One walk through Mckittrick Canyon in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park and you to will be convinced. Of all the parks we visited, Guadalupe was rank first by Alltrails. The trail provides incredible diversity in plant life due to the presence of a small stream. Guide to Planning a Trip to China: The Great Wall Marathon Runcation. The trail features vegetation typical of the Chihuahuan Desert - that is, until you get farther up and start to see oak, ash, and maple trees. Relatively easy but lots of rocks can be hard on the soles. It takes you through the foothills with many informational signs about various vegetation you see. Saw many families with young children enjoying the shallow stream crossings. Out of all of the trails we hiked in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, this trail was one of the busiest (hiking the McKittrick Canyon Trail to the Notch was also very busy). Devils Hall, which is in Pine Springs, is shorter and more fun than the McKittrick Canyon Trail, and it leads to a cool looking slot canyon. Another surgeon who traveled in western Texas and New Mexico during the Civil War period wrote in Forest and Stream (also in 1878) about catching "S. fontinalis" in Texas in the Devils River at Fort Hudson, as well as in Limpia Creek. 12The only native trout that we're aware of are maybe some Rio Grande cutthroat trout that were in the McKittrick Canyon area of the Guadalupe Mountains. Introduced Rainbow Trout in particular have proven very troublesome for different native Cutthroat species all over the country, as their high degree of genetic similarity allows them to interbreed with Cutthroats. We had excellent weather and the colors were absolutely gorgeous. One Yucca we photographed is easily 40 feet tall. Please note: the Texanist is not sure how things work in Oregon, but in Texas theres a daily bag limit of five trout, with no minimum length requirement. Spectacular! Texas Journal of Science 2:117-138.) It may not be the Colorado Rocky Mountains, but the mountains are plenty big for Texas. Fairly easy 4.8mi RT hike (but it is mostly walking on gravel and river rocks, vs packed trail). Check out the, What to Expect on a McKittrick Canyon Day Hike, Day hiking in McKittrick Canyon was long on my bucket list of hikes, after having witnessed the surprising depth and diversity of other portions of Guadalupe Mountains National Park, including its, *Planning to tag on another nearby National Park? Unfortunately, the Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout is now rare throughout its native range (Western Native Trout Status Report). Step into the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, and you are stepping into Texas mountain time zone. Hiking or trekking poles are highly recommended. ), in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited. For another, back then there were other waterways in far West Texas that actually did support native populations of trout, specifically an indigenous species known as Rio Grande cutthroat trout, so named because these denizens of the Rio Grande have a distinct ruby-colored band along the chin area that sort of resembles a cut throat. Based on the recommendation from another hiker we started toward the Notch. The final 0.25 miles up to the Notch is the most difficult. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews. I wish trout could handle our climate. Your email address will not be published. Do not expect to be able to call, text, email, or access the internet while in the McKittrick area of Guadalupe Mountains National Park. As we entered the park Saturday about 10:30 a.m., we were advised by a ranger that the park was almost full and we might not have a place to park. How far is is from McKittrick Canyon to the next ecosphere that can support cold water fish such as the cutthroat? Also, some claim it holds the title of the most beautiful natural place in Texas. Today, TPWD stocks catchable-sized trout in approximately 100 . Guadalupe Mountains National Park epitomizes the diversity of this region: it has mountains, forests, deserts, and canyons, all intricately and seamlessly blended together! As we already know, completely washing fish out of any location is highly improbable. The deep canyon offers breathtaking views and provides visitors with many hiking opportunities suitable for every level. Be sure to bring lots of water, a snack (or two), wear decent shoes and use sunscreen. We loaded up and headed north again, for the McKittrick Canyon trailhead. Hiking the McKittrick Canyon Trail to Pratt Cabin, the Grotto, and the Notch is one of the most popular hikes in Guadalupe Mountains National Park. A: Welcome to Texas, Mr. Cleland. Check out the 100 mile backpacking trek that connects the Caverns with Guadalupe Mountains National Park! It included; National Park Services Fred Armstrong & Jeremy Markuson, Texas Parks and Wildlifes Mukhtar Farooqui, Gary Garrett, Mandy Scott, Charles Cruz & John Ingle, Trout Unlimiteds Chris Wood, Jack Williams, Bryan Moore, Mick McCorcle & Jeff Schmitt, US Fish and Wildlifes Jim Brooks and retired New Mexico Fish and Games David Propst. Its nice, but there are a bunch of hikes that we liked a lot more. 10h 29m Hard 4.8 (278) Hunter Peak via Bear Canyon Trail Guadalupe Mountains National Park Length: 8.3 mi Est. This was another reason for the plants and tree we saw. Perhaps another asterisk is in order. The deep, narrow canyon is composed of gneiss and schist, which appears black when in shadow. That said, it is not, in fact, the case that the Guadalupe River, which originates in the beautiful Texas Hill Country and flows on down to San Antonio Bay on the Gulf Coast, is the only river in Texas cold enough to support trout. Part of the Guadalupe mountains national park in Texas. Hiking the McKittrick canyon trail to the 90 years old Pratt cabin. Hours are 8:00 am to 4:30 pm Mountain Standard . I met yesterday with the Board of Guadalupe River Trout Unlimited and have their support for the project. This unassuming brook is home to the only. It is marked with a small metal sign and the trail to Pratt Cabin leads off to the right. There are 8 primitive campsites at the McKittrick Ridge Campground. The restrooms have toilets and sinks (they are not vault toilets). Other imposing residents include elk and black bear, though they are less likely to be spotted. Many species extended their ranges southward during the Wisconsin glacial period (75,000 - 11,000 years ago). 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Great views and nice to learn about all the plants in the area. (The Texanist prefers to do his swimming in water with a temperature just above the 70-degree mark, cool but not too cold. From there it is only 4.8 miles round trip to Pratt Lodge and 6.8 miles round trip to the Grotto. RVers will enter the park via NM-137. The entrance gate on U.S.Highway 62/180 is locked each evening. Mountains in Texas: Are They Fact or Fiction? BEST OF GUADALUPE MOUNTAINS: Read our article Best Things to Do in Guadalupe Mountains National Park for a full list of things to do, plus important information and helpful tips to plan your visit here. Three trails start right at this point. The McKittrick Canyon Trail is the middle of these three trails. It is possible to see McKittrick canyon without hiking 19 miles with tree days of water. Considered by some to be the most beautiful fish in the world, it embodies everything that makes fly fishing great. Sure, any fish can be pursued through fishing with flies, but the heart and soul of the sport will always lie in the pursuit of the game fish it was invented for: trout. Have a question for the Texanist? An editor's note following the article stated that the presence of trout in Texas had been firmly established by "ample testimony." The detour to the Grotto is marked with a metal trail sign. Any Texas or southwestern U.S. road trip wouldn't be complete without experiencing all the outdoor adventures in Guadalupe Mountains National Park! It took me, at 62 and in pretty good shape, most of the afternoon. Their modern-day range has been reduced to portions of southern Colorado and New Mexico, where they are the official state fish. A Texas Trout. In this fly fishers humble opinion, the possibility of catching a native Texan trout while wearing a cowboy hat is something that needs to happen. The path is gravel and wide. To hike to Pratt Cabin, it is a 2.4-mile hike one-way. Disclosure: Below are some affiliate links-these are all products I highly recommend. Built by Wallace Pratt in the 1930s, on the land he owned at the time, this entirely stone cabin was later donated to the National Park. more, #2 of 15 things to do in Guadalupe Mountains National Park. The canyon is one of the few spots within hundreds of miles with maple trees, so at this time of year the scenery is spectacular. Scenic canyon with unique animal and plant life. Mixed shade and sun. Again, welcome to the greatest state in the union. We had done Guadeloupe peak the day before and were pretty tired, so we had only planned to wander in for a few minutes. I like trout fishing! Monograph of the native trouts of the genus Salmo of western North America. Trail Junction: The trail to the Grotto is on the left and the McKittrick Canyon Trail continues on the right. This point in the McKittrick Canyon hike is considered an ideal turn around point for the average day hiker. On the saltwater front, redfish and speckled trout rule, along with, of course, your larger varieties of game fish. Further supporting this theory is the existence of a wild, self-sustaining population of Rainbow Trout in McKittrick Creek, in Guadalupe Mountains National Park. I am a hiker, backpacker, camper, state highpointer, long distance runner, cyclist, kayaker, tower runner, and avid pursuer of new destinations that allow me to interact with them in an active way! This one clocks in at 14-thousand views, and will actually get a follow-up this spring to let watchers know how all the tuning on the skiff turned out! Cheers, Julie, Your email address will not be published. Trailside exhibits describe common plants, and reference wildland fire. One of the most fascinating examples of flora and fauna appears, the striking Texas madrone, with its trademark orange bark. I recommend doing these first and if you still have time, then hike the McKittrick Canyon Trail. There were beautiful views all along the way, and pretty places to stop and rest. The trail is a moderate .9 mile round trip and takes less than one hour to complete. As you will come to learn about six months from now, it gets hellishly hot here in the summertime, and while the states many rivers and creeks can maintain refreshingly cool temperatures through the warmer monthsif, that is, they dont completely dry up and blow awaythey do not, McKittrick Creek notwithstanding, stay chilly enough to support trout, who prefer a sub-70-degree water temperature. McKittrick Canyon and its entrance are about seven miles northeast of the primary Visitor Center, also off US-62/180. We visited McKittrick Canyon in mid-October, and were there just as the fall color changes were starting; it would probably have been even more impressive a week or two later. The little rainbow trout in McKittrick Creek at Guadalupe Mountains National Park are actually part of a wild population that has sustained itself, without supplemental stocking, for 80 years or so. There is a large parking lot here as well as a ranger station and restrooms. Additional land was purchased from J.C. Hunter, and in 1972, Guadalupe Mountains National Park was created by an act of congress. This National Park can be found in far west Texas, about an hour from New Mexico's southwestern town of Carlsbad and its 8 . It's a gorgeous place. My friend and I made the 5th ford across the creek when we decided to turn around, probably less than a 1/2 mile from the cabin. Their pickiness often borders on the non-sensical, and the pursuit of them takes anglers to locations so remote, they could double as spiritual getaways. detour, the Grotto. The initial start into McKittrick Canyon is deceptive. We (two couples ages 45-60) hiked the McKittrick Canyon trail to the Grotto (approx. For a hike this long, pack a picnic lunch. Good socks and liners are a must, as is plenty of water, and for real enjoyment, lunch and snacks. It is elusive, wild, and free. Another native Texas fish, the Rio Grande Chub Gila pandora (Hendrickson 2019 Rio Grande Chub), provides additional clues about the validity of a native Texas trout. The elevation gain and steepness of the trail pick up considerably past the Grotto and Hunter Line Cabin, so those continuing on should be aptly prepared, or planning to camp overnight at the backcountry McKittrick Ridge Campground. However, the trout were not washed out. The trail was very good and well marked. Specifically, McKittrick Creek, which runs through the Guadalupe Mountains (no relation to the Guadalupe River), near the Texas-New Mexico border. The catalyst for the new research is from a paper by Gary Garrett and Gary Matlock. Asterisk number one: There is one place in Texas where trout do thrive, but it is a creek, not a river. Hike McKittrick Canyon Nature Loop Trail in the fall to see the enhanced fall colors. I liked the McKittreck Canyon hike enough to return the next day and go on another hike. On the way back to the Contact Station we encountered a park volunteer who shared stories of the area with us. If you missed the initial premise of this expedition, it was a joint effort pooling the skills of various organizations that included; Trout Unlimited (TU), Texas Parks And Wildlife, National Parks Service, New Mexico Parks and the Guadalupe River Chapter of Trout Unlimited (GRTU). The views from the trail and the detours to the cabin and Grotto are just OKnothing all that spectacularwhich had me wondering why was this hike so popular? As noted, the hike is really family friendly and very easy all the way past Pratt Cabin to the Grotto and Hunter Line Shack. Somehow, though manmade, this cabin blends seamlessly into its environment, and is breathtaking in its humbleness. Thankfully when we got to the parking, there were a couple of spaces left. Traveling clockwise, this fascinating, short trail passes an intermittent seep that lies hidden in junipers, then wanders up a southwest slope along an arroyo. So as not to hijack another thread on this Forum, I thought I'd move this over to a new thread. The surrounding mountains are so beautiful, great vistas. Parking All this brain power was focused on the potential of supplanting a non-native population of rainbow trout with nearby Rio Grande cutthroat trout. Salt Flat So close and so diverse. Beautiful views, colors and interest along the way. This part of the trail looks a lot different than the first section of the hike. 2023 Yonderlust Ramblings - WordPress Theme by Kadence WP, Please enable JavaScript in your browser to submit the form, For those that love hiking in rugged secluded-ness, Texass OTHER National Park should definitely be on your radar! As I met the participants, including personnel from TPWDs San Angelo, Texas, fisheries office, I began to be aware that none of us had been to McKittrick Canyon with the exception of Dr. Gary Garrett. Yet Texas fly fishermen find themselves in a bit of a predicament when it comes to this addictive passion; there is no trout species native to Texas. Cool! McKittrick Canyon from a viewpoint near the Notch. We have a winner! As a stopping point on your way to somewhere else, Van Horn and the El Capitan will take you back in time, say 50 years. This lengthy and arduous hike extends from the length of McKittrick Canyons floor to the top of its ridge at the McKittrick Ridge primitive campground! However, they lock you in at 6:00 and it is a federal felony if you get stuck per the McKittrick VC. All rights reserved Earth Trekkers. Dont underestimate this part of the hikeit is challenging. McKittrick Canyon is designated as day-use only, with daily visiting hours from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Mountain Time. There is a self pay box at the trailhead, as well as a registry that all hikers should fill out for safety purposes. In fact, hiking on towards the McKittrick Ridge campground is the steepest portion of not only the entire trail, but the steepest incline in the entire park! These trout, stocked by some unknown landowner around a century ago, have thrived in this environment ever since their introduction, further supporting the idea that a native trout once occupied these waters, and proving without a doubt its possibility. The Headquarters Visitor Center at Pine Springs is located off Highway 62/180 at 400 Pine Canyon Drive, Salt Flat, Texas 79847 just 55 miles southwest of Carlsbad, New Mexico, 110 miles east of El Paso, Texas, and 65 miles north of Van Horn. Is it true that the Guadalupe River is the only river in Texas that is cold enough to support trout? Children under 13 years of age must have a parent/guardian's consent before providing Were on the road and in Gruene, Texas, for the annual Texas Clay Festival. Please exit McKittrick Canyon before the posted closing time. Hot tip: The Canyon Lake Dam tailrace, on the Guadalupe River, is a perennially popular spot. The trail to the Grotto leads off to the left and heads downhill on a very rocky trail. Wild trout in Texas who would have thought? There are even tales of some stocked trout surviving well into spring and even through the summer on that stretch of the Guadalupe, which is likely the origin of the story that brought you to the Texanist in the first place. Tim saw just 2 other people on his hike, and that was right before he got back to the trailhead. The McKittrick Canyon Trail is located in Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Checked out the historic cabin, then walked on to the Grotto where there were picnic tables to eat on. Today Rio Grande Chub persists (barely) in Texas, but Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout didnt quite make it into modern times. With just a few trees here and there, most of this trail is exposed to the sun. Its only occurrence in Texas is as a small, isolated population in the Davis Mountains, but otherwise its current range throughout the upper Rio Grande and Pecos River drainages in New Mexico and Colorado is very similar to the current range of Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout. But the views from the Notch are incredible, and worth the pain to get there. The walk is flat and easy. The gate to the canyon closes daily at 5:00 p.m. Mountain Time. Patricia Sharpe writes a regular restaurant column, Pats Pick, for Texas Monthly. The. 6 miles round trip). The trail itself is only moderately difficult, and the park's staff recommends allowing three to five hours to hike the canyon. For aquatic organisms in particular, what is now the Chihuahuan Desert was a route for dispersal during this time. We all highly recommend this hike. The canyon hike is almost as long as the summit hike, but less altitude gain. Hike the McKittrick Trail to Pratt Cabin, a distance of 4.8 miles, crossing the stream twice. Guadalupe Mountains National Park epitomizes the diversity of this region: it has mountains, forests, deserts, and canyons, all intricately and seamlessly blended together! Content of this site copyright Texas Parks and Wildlife Department unless otherwise noted. For the first 2 hours, you are in the canyon, a valley, very flat. McKittrick Canyon is located about seven miles from the Pine Springs Visitor Center the headquarters for Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Make sure to go past the Notch another 300 yards or so for even more sweeping views. McKittrick Canyon, Guadalupe Mountains National Park: Address, McKittrick Canyon Reviews: 4.5/5. By continuing to browse this website you are agreeing to our use of cookies. favorite durable, versatile, hiking pants from Columbia. It was spectacular! 4.9 Stars on Google with over 100 reviews We offer Full Service Moving and/or Labor Only Fully Licensed & Insured ODOT#254487 USDOT#3429439 MC#256401 Schedule your next Move or Free Walk Through. Dog Friendly: Nope! He also reported taking this species from the "Rio Benito" at Fort Stanton, New Mexico, and from other mountain streams in New Mexico.

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