This would make a great point-to-point run or a challenging out-and-back. Be sure to be self-sufficient and bring plenty of water.
The Tejas Trail is one of the longer and more challenging routes in the park. This north/south trail runs 12 miles through the Guadalupe Mountains, connecting between the Pine Springs Trailhead/Campground and the Dog Canyon Trailhead/Campground. It makes for a great multi-day outing or a long day run for visitors who want to experience the solitude and scenery that the more remote parts of the park have to offer.
Starting from the southern end at the Pine Springs Trailhead, the trail starts with a steady climb that will continue for the first 3.5 miles. Near the start, the trail crosses a wide wash and passes a junction with the Foothills Trail
, which branches to the east. Take a left here to continue on the Tejas Trail. From here, the trail starts the long, steady climb up into the mountains. If you look back over your shoulder as you run, you can see the singletrack trail winding back to the trailhead behind you.
Around the 3.5-mile mark, you'll come to a four-way junction with the Bowl Trail
and Bush Mountain Trail
. If you are planning to camp overnight at the Pine Top backcountry site (an excellent choice for a single night backpack trip), take a left on the Bush Mountain Trail
. Otherwise, continue straight ahead on the Tejas Trail.
The next 5 miles of the trailhead along more forested and flatter terrain. Although you won't have as many sweeping canyon views on this section, the shade and solitude offered by the dense coniferous forest is a welcome break. The trail has a few rolling ups and downs, but nothing like the first climb you had to contend with.
Shortly after you pass a junction with the Juniper Trail
on your right, you'll come to the Tejas backcountry site. This centrally located backcountry camping area has five sites and is located in a more densely forested area providing nicely shaded campsites that are more protected from the wind. A short distance further on after passing the Blue Ridge Trail
junction on your left, you'll come to the Mescalero campground (eight sites) located on a slope overlooking a small drainage—another option for an overnight stay.
Continuing on, the Tejas Trail passes the McKittrick Canyon Trail
and Manzanita Ridge Route before turning northeast at Lost Peak and beginning its descent into Dog Canyon. This two-mile long section steadily winds down toward the northern trailhead. Be sure to take your time and enjoy the stunning views on the way down!
Note: There is no transportation between the two trailheads. Runners must plan ahead to leave a vehicle or arrange an alternate form of transportation in order to be shuttled between the start and end of the trail.
Listen for wild turkeys off in the distance. Ponderosa pine and brush grow here.