Details

Distance

8.7 miles

Elevation Gain

2546 ft

Route Type

Loop

Description

Added by Zachary Ayscue

Combine four awesome trails to bag Hunter Peak (5th highest in Texas) and complete one amazing 8.7-mile loop through multiple ecosystems.

From Pine Springs Trailhead follow Tejas Trail (3.7 miles), then take the Bowl Trail counter-clockwise (.9) until the Hunter Mountain spur trail (.1 each way). Then it's back on the Bowl Trail until you reach the start of the Bear Canyon Trail (.5). Descend along switchbacks (1.8 miles) and take a right onto the Frijole Trail that loops you back to the Tejas trail and where you started (1.5 miles). Total distance is 8.7 miles and done as a day hike or overnight at Pine Top (adds .4 to distance) as long as you get the backcountry permit. Bring plenty of water as there is none along the route and a pair of trekking poles greatly helped.

Head out to the start and finish point in Pine Springs Campground of the Guadalupe Mountains National Park for a sometimes rocky and steep but rewarding climb into the cool shade of a coniferous forest. The trail climbs 2546' along the rugged switchbacks of the Tejas Trail with views including Guadalupe Peak to the other side of the canyon and the dry creek bed below that leads to Devil's Hall. After the climb, enjoy some well-earned shade among the juniper, Douglas fir, southwestern white pine, and ponderosa pine as you make your way to bag Hunter Peak (just 80' lower than Guadalupe Peak). Take a rest before beginning the knee jarring descent through 46 switchbacks of the Bear Canyon Trail before finishing along the easy rolling hills of the Frijole Trail.

Opportunities abound for viewing plant and animal life along the different ecosystems encountered on the loop. Scott's orioles are commonly seen nesting in the yuccas and cactus along the Tejas Trail, with blue-throated Hummingbirds zooming overhead on the lower sections of the Bowl Trail. Mule deer can be found throughout the loop as well as small lizards, but make sure to watch and listen for rattlesnakes that bask on low rocky formations on the Tejas and Frijole Trails. Some interesting plants include the red Texas Madrone tree, Apache Plum, and wild watermelon. 

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Features

Photography
Hiking
Easy Parking
Forest
Picnic Area
Scenic
Wildlife

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