Hunter Peak: Our last hike in the Guadalupe Mountains

Well, we had one last day to hike before we had to take the camper back, so we thought we’d do Hunter Peak. It’s not quite as high as Guadalupe Peak, but it’s a fun, challenging hike – and frankly, the views were better! Of course, you know I love that early-morning light. 🙂 This photo is near the beginning of the trail. Neither of the high points you see are actually Hunter Peak – the trail goes up Bear Canyon (well, I assume that’s why that part is called the “Bear Canyon Trail!”) over to the right.

Of course, leaving from the campground you begin on the Frijole Trail, relatively flat and easy, with nice views ahead and behind! Here you see El Capitan over the shoulder of Guadalupe Peak, with the shadow of Hunter Peak.

You follow Frijole Trail around the base of Hunter Peak until you reach the entry to the Bear Canyon Trail. At this point, you turn uphill and the trail becomes more challenging. Going up the canyon you climb from near 6000 feet to over 8000 feet. About 2/3 of the way up I took these shots trying to show how far we had come and how far we still had to go:

The trail was fun and not crazy-steep. It was good to be there relatively early in the day as we were in the shade much of the way up the canyon. As you can see from the photos, not a lot of trees in that canyon. Here and there were what seemed to be small rockfalls, but nothing that blocked our way.

And when you get to the top of the ridge, you enter a whole ‘nother world. One minute you’re hiking in the west Texas desert, next minute you’re in an alpine meadow! This is an area known as “the Bowl,” and following that loop was a pleasant interlude before heading up to the peak. We even saw deer off in the distance.

Coming back up onto the ridge, we turned back toward the peak. It’s only about another 300 feet of climbing, much of it trail but some rock climbing. It was well worth it for the view from the top!

That’s Guadalupe Peak to our right (your left) and El Capitan just beyond. As I was enjoying (and photographing) the views, my wife looked down and saw some passing wildlife – Barbary sheep, descendants of escapees from ranches a century or so ago.

The descent was relatively easy and uneventful, though no more shade trees than the way up. At midday you don’t get the shadow of the mountain! Here you see some of the Tejas trail, which was the way home.

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