Summit El Capitan in Guadalupe Mountain NP

Rate this Adventure Guadalupe Peak Trailhead

The 8th highest peak in Texas, El Capitan soars over 3000ft above the desert valley floor below. Standing on top of this peak with nothing but the horizon in front of you allows you to appreciate the true beauty of the vast, Texas desert. 

The route to the summit of El Capitan starts from the Guadalupe Peak trail some 300ft below the summit where you can first see the full vista of El Capitan stretching out before you. There is no trail to the peak, so you will have to navigate and find the best route possible.

There are four prominent ridges leading down to the "bowl" of El Capitan before you have to ascend again to the peak. I suggest taking one of the two western most ridges down to the bowl in order to reduce the total elevation lost before you have to climb up again. Generally, the western-most ridge will require you to lose the least elevation. As you will be fighting through scrub and sharp rock the whole time, this is ideal.

Once in the bowl, when you start to ascend stay as close to the western ridge/cliff of El Capitan as possible. This is the easiest going, least scrubby route and there are faint remnants of a path leading to the summit. If you're afraid of heights, don't look down. There is a metal box at the summit (and at the lower summit before you reach the real summit further on). The route is fairly exposed all the way so do not attempt in bad weather and beware of snakes.

Pack List

  • 2-3 liters of water (not including your climb up to Guadalupe Peak
  • Sunscreen
  • Wind Breaker
  • Hiking Pole/Snake Stick
  • Long pants (if not scorching hot)
Show More
RT Distance 1.9 Miles
Elevation Gain 1100 Feet
Activities Hiking
Skill Level Advanced
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Nearby Adventures

More Nearby Adventures

Climb Guadalupe Peak

330 Saves

Hike to McKittrick Ridge Campground

245 Saves

Hike the Gypsum Sand Dunes, Guadalupe Mountains NP

96 Saves