McKittrick Canyon Trail

Pine Springs, Texas

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In 1921, not long after the close of World War One, I came to Pecos, Texas, with two West Texas oil-lease brokers... ,” recalls Wallace E. Pratt, the gentleman who donated McKittrick Canyon to the federal park system, making the stunning canyon the cornerstone of Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Pratt had traveled to Pecos in order to purchase oil and gas leases for his employer, Humble Oil and Refining Company. “To check titles to the lands we leased we consulted a local lawyer, Judge Drane, who also associated with a Pecos Bank. At the end of a long week, faced with two idle days, Judge Drane proposed that, if we would furnish transportation and make a 100-mile trip with him over a rough terrain on primitive roads, he would show us the most beautiful spot in Texas.” Pratt took the judge up on his offer and, after a rugged and lengthy drive, the peaks of the Guadalupe range appeared. “Of course this silhouette grew ever more dominant before us as we proceeded and I had about concluded that Judge Drane’s idea of ‘beautiful’ included mountain grandeur,” Pratt continued. “But our first glimpse of the travertine floor of McKittrick Canyon demolished all my preconceived notions. Here was true beauty, exotic and arresting, independently of the lofty mountain heights enclosing it.”

McKittrick Canyon Trail Professional Review and Guide

"In 1921, not long after the close of World War One, I came to Pecos, Texas, with two West Texas oil-lease brokers... ,” recalls Wallace E. Pratt, the gentleman who donated McKittrick Canyon to the federal park system, making the stunning canyon the cornerstone of Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Pratt had traveled to Pecos in order to purchase oil and gas leases for his employer, Humble Oil and Refining Company. “To check titles to the lands we leased we consulted a local lawyer, Judge Drane, who also associated with a Pecos Bank. At the end of a long week, faced with two idle days, Judge Drane proposed that, if we would furnish transportation and make a 100-mile trip with him over a rough terrain on primitive roads, he would show us the most beautiful spot in Texas.”

Pratt took the judge up on his offer and, after a rugged and lengthy drive, the peaks of the Guadalupe range appeared. “Of course this silhouette grew ever more dominant before us as we proceeded and I had about concluded that Judge Drane’s idea of ‘beautiful’ included mountain grandeur,” Pratt continued. “But our first glimpse of the travertine floor of McKittrick Canyon demolished all my preconceived notions. Here was true beauty, exotic and arresting, independently of the lofty mountain heights enclosing it.”"

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Pine Springs
Distance: 3.7
Trail Type: Shuttle
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: 3.5 hours
Season: Best in Fall
Trailhead Elevation: 4,950 feet
Top Elevation: 5,400 feet
Local Contacts: Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Local Maps: USGS Guadalupe Peak
Driving Directions: Directions to McKittrick Canyon Trail

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May 2018