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Hunter Peak Professional Review and Guide
"When considering this hike, one big question comes up right away—clockwise or counterclockwise? This question is often debated among local hikers and park rangers with, unfortunately, no consensus. It really comes down to personal preference. Do you prefer to gain elevation fast and get it behind you as quickly as possible? Or do you like a long, gradual climb without as many steep grades? Counterclockwise is easier on knees, but clockwise is easier on lungs."
--Bill Schneider, Hiking Carlsbad Caverns & Guadalupe Mountains National Parks (Falcon Guides).
We hiked up Tejas trail and stayed overnight in Pine Top campground. The trails starts off pretty mellow (tho' rocky), with a fairly gentle rise and gets progressively steeper and rockier until nearing the top where it levels off somewhat. The switchbacks up are expertly built. The hike to Pine Top took about 3 1/2 hours, and then a little less than an hour to Hunter's Peak. From the peak the views are great - all of Pine Springs canyon plus Guad Peak and the surrounding areas are in glorious display. Came back down via Tejas Trail, rather that the steeper option of Bear Canyon.
Great trail, very easy to follow as are all trails in this park. The only downside of this is sometimes it feels like you are being guided along through the wilderness. The view from the top of Hunter Peak is spectacular as are some of the views as you come down from the high country. Do the loop clockwise unless you are in phenomenal shape, the climb up counter-clockwise would be very difficult. Good boots would be wise for negotiating the scree on the way down clockwise. Beautiful!
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