While there are hundreds of great towns in Texas, there is only ONE “Top” and it sits about 60 north of the town of Van Horn inside Guadalupe Mountains National Park.
Guadalupe Peak sits 8,749 feet in the sky. A trip to the top covers approximately 8.4 miles, takes 6-8 hours to hike, and includes 3,000 feet of elevation gain. Whew! But for those willing to make the hike, it is the ultimate trek in Texas. My advice is to bring lots of water, check into the visitor’s center for updated trail information, and enjoy the journey. It is amazing! For those who can’t make this hike, the park has a number of other places to explore, including some trails that are even handicap-accessible.
Before or after your hike, if you have the energy, make sure to explore the town of Van Horn. The best place to dig into its history of cattle, mining, and railroads is the Clark Hotel Museum, a quirky museum full of artifacts and knick-knacks that isn’t to be missed. Walk upstairs if you are brave enough. The other place to learn a bit of history is by visiting Hotel El Capitan, built in the 1930′s and designed by famed architect Henry Trost. This is, by far, my favorite place to stay before or after a massive hiking trip.
Hiking certainly works up an appetite. I recommend some signature huevos rancheros from Pappa’s Pantry, or a plate of West Texas Tex Mex from Chuy’s Restaurant. Chuy’s is known for its food, but also because NFL Hall-of-Famer John Madden put it on his epic “Haul of Fame” list as one of the best places to stop for road trip grub. Enjoy!