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Back country camping permits required for Guadalupe Mountains National Park and Carlsbad Cavern
Starting from the highest point in Texas, this trail leads through Guadalupe Mountains National Park into Lincoln National Forest as you cross into New Mexico. An excursion to Sitting Bull Falls gives you the complete GRT experience and then returns to the ridge to finish through Carlsbad Cavern
National Park to Whites City, NM.
Need to Know
This route requires some clever logistics not only with permitting, but also with water placement. It helps to have a support vehicle. If you stage water at Dark Canyon Lookout Tower, you can get by not needing more than 2.5 day's worth of water at any time. Coordinate your trip with the extremely friendly rangers at Lincoln National Forest. If traveling north, no camping permit is required for CCNP as there is a patch of BLM land 12 miles from the finish that is perfect for the final night.
Permits and water logistics are required for the first portion through GMNP. Once you cross into Lincoln National Forest at the state line, things get easier in a way, as you have more freedom to camp and easier access from 4x4 vehicles for resupply, but you are also in very remote territory. After Dark Canyon Lookout Tower, you leave the ridge trail for a route around Queen, NM to run through Sitting Bull Falls before returning to the ridge for a strong finish into CCNP and out to the trailhead in Whites City, NM.
Flora & Fauna
Cactus, agave, junipers, and pines abound. Lizards, snakes, scorpions, and all manner of interesting desert critters can be seen throughout the run. Deer, mountain goats, and domestic cattle are common in the middle portion before returning to the high desert toward the end.
Shared By: Devin Brown