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McKittrick Canyon Professional Review and Guide
"As you drive up the road toward McKittrick Canyon, you might not believe you're headed for one of most famous and scenic spots in Texas. The topography hides the canyon well. Rest assured that McKittrick Canyon is a truly wonderful place, but don't plan on having it to yourself. This is probably is the most popular hike in the Guadalupe Mountains—and with good reason. The trail meanders through a spectacular forest with a wide variety of conifers and deciduous trees. During autumn, the maples, oaks, and other hardwoods burst into a world-famous kaleidoscopic panorama of fall colors. The trees are the same species found in other canyons in the park, but here, they're bigger, and the entire forest seems more lush and majestic in the shadow of the steep cliffs on both sides of the canyon. Hikers also get the rare opportunity to walk along a permanent desert stream— with a reproducing trout population. The stream appears and disappears several places along the first 3 miles of this hike."
--Bill Schneider, Hiking Carlsbad Caverns & Guadalupe Mountains National Parks (Falcon Guides).
Nice easy hike. Had Lunch at the Grotto. We about a week too early for the full colors.
Beautiful views fo trees changin color up the canyon walls. Very easy hike, but far too many people around. I like solitude when hiking and so if you also hike for the solitude you will need to suspend criticism in favor of the colored trees on this one.
We hiked this trail at the peak of color in the fall and was really beautiful, although I thought Devil's Hall was better overall (shorter trail, more concentration of maples). We hiked to The Grotto 3 1/2 miles one way) and the trail was well-maintained and pretty easy walking most of the way. Crowds were there for the fall color but spread out enough that it was not a bother.
On this Labor Day weekend trip, we were going to do this hike and Guadalupe Peak. Because of the rain and the limited visibility, we started with this one. Moderately easy trail over rolling terrain, well marked trail. It was beautiful, even in the rain. The ranger told about two stream crossings with flowing water but when we hit the third one we decided to turn back rather than risk getting stranded in the canyon. We would definitely go to this trail again.
A spring visit to this park with my family lead to this hike. It was an sunny hike along a flowing desert stream. The unusual trees that you encounter along line the valley make this interesting, even to kids. But unfortunately, even with the view of the canyon valley walls, I could not maintain their enthusiasm enough to go further than the ranch. It is enough to make a midwest hiker weep. I wish I could return and go further!
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