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100 mile long Guadalupe Ridge Trail

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Offline miatarchy04

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100 mile long Guadalupe Ridge Trail
« on: March 09, 2019, 03:01:23 PM »
The new issue of Texas Highways (April 2019, Willie Nelson cover) has a major article (10 pages) on the Guadalupe Ridge Trail with terminal trailheads at Guadalupe Mountains NP and the eastern (White's City) end of Carlsbad Caverns NP. The trail also goes through parts of the Lincoln National Forest.  This article is not on the magazine's webpage but there is some information on the National Recreation Trail page:
http://www.nrtdatabase.org/trailDetail.php?recordID=3935

The author admits:
"Water is the major complication for hikers tackling the entire trail. Although there is some water to be found nearby in the national forest, there is none available in the backcountry of the national parks. At a recommended gallon of water per day a hiker would have to carry seven gallons for a weeklong trek. Not likely. Rangers from the parks and Forest Service hope that someday a private outfitter will provide a water caching service, ensuring that hikers will be able to quench their thirst along the trail. I was unable to find anyone to cache water for me, so I ended up seeing the GRT in sections."

Also of interest to this webpage, the same issue also has article on Presidio as a tourist destination (not a joke) and the lower canyons of the Rio Grande in BB.

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: 100 mile long Guadalupe Ridge Trail
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2019, 04:05:59 PM »
Wow. Thatís some issue!!

The Guadalupe Ridge is a wonderful route. A few people on this board have done it and reported back. Iíve done most of it, but never as a single trip.

The information about water in Carlsbad Caverns NP is inaccurate. Iíve drawn water from several sources in the backcountry of that park. GUMO, though, is pretty dry, with the exception of the mid- and lower-elevations of McKittrick Canyon and a few springs not conveniently accessed from the ridge route.


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Offline AggieOO

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Re: 100 mile long Guadalupe Ridge Trail
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2019, 11:03:31 AM »
How well is everything marked when you are outside of GUMO?

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: 100 mile long Guadalupe Ridge Trail
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2019, 01:07:05 PM »
How well is everything marked when you are outside of GUMO?

Nathanr would be the one to answer your question: he did the route last year. I've never done the whole thing, but back 15 or more years ago when I did a good bit of it in parts, I remember it being very spottily signposted in the national forest portions.
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline nathanr

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Re: 100 mile long Guadalupe Ridge Trail
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2019, 12:32:55 PM »
We did the Guadalupe Ridge trail from Rattlesnake Canyon to a bit past Devil's Den. It's an easy trail to follow through Carlsbad. It's the only trail, but a bit overgrown in places. Once you hit Lincoln NF there's a series of forest roads that you follow that are well traveled and almost always have road numbers posted - you just need to know which ones to follow.

You can fill up water at the Black River spring in Lincoln NF, again at McKittrick Canyon ranger station and again at Pine Spring. No need to cache.

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Offline miatarchy04

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Re: 100 mile long Guadalupe Ridge Trail
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2019, 02:19:40 PM »
Since my original post the article has appeared on the magazine's webpage: https://texashighways.com/

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Offline wrangler88

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Re: 100 mile long Guadalupe Ridge Trail
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2019, 01:08:08 AM »
Thanks for posting the article. Made for some great late night reading. And the pictures were great also.

Was just daydreaming of the Guadalupes as I often do when I came across this. Just what I needed. What an amazing place.

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Offline AggieOO

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Re: 100 mile long Guadalupe Ridge Trail
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2019, 02:35:02 PM »
We did the Guadalupe Ridge trail from Rattlesnake Canyon to a bit past Devil's Den. It's an easy trail to follow through Carlsbad. It's the only trail, but a bit overgrown in places. Once you hit Lincoln NF there's a series of forest roads that you follow that are well traveled and almost always have road numbers posted - you just need to know which ones to follow.

You can fill up water at the Black River spring in Lincoln NF, again at McKittrick Canyon ranger station and again at Pine Spring. No need to cache.

Is the spring hard to find?  from the map, it looks like you just pop down 201A and its at the end of the road.  Pretty reliable, I assume?

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Offline nathanr

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Re: 100 mile long Guadalupe Ridge Trail
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2019, 05:41:31 AM »
Yep, the road dead-ends at the spring - it's hard to miss. It seemed pretty reliable and I'd probably bet on it being there if I did the route again. 

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Offline John_E

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Re: 100 mile long Guadalupe Ridge Trail
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2019, 02:52:52 PM »
Myself and two others did the full 100 Miles in April over ten days going South to North. There's actually a variety of good options to refill or cache along the way without relying on springs. If anyone is considering it I'm happy to share whatever I know here or in an email.

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Offline BJC

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Re: 100 mile long Guadalupe Ridge Trail
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2019, 10:40:55 PM »
Myself and two others did the full 100 Miles in April over ten days going South to North. There's actually a variety of good options to refill or cache along the way without relying on springs. If anyone is considering it I'm happy to share whatever I know here or in an email.

I am planning on doing the GRT in the next couple of months and have been reading everything I can find, the TX UL reddit page led me here to BBC. What a tremendous resource you all have put together here for the Guadalupes.

I have read the trip reports here by Cameron & Todd and the guy who did the ďhigh routeĒ over Dog Canyon and the 4 highest peaks (Nathan?). I am also pretty sure I scoped your IG pics from your trip when searching #grt. It looks like all of you had a great adventure. Thanks for sharing the pics, videos, and detailed trip reports, my confidence has grown with the increased knowledge.

Between maps and info gathered here I think I have a good list of potential water sources, although some are unconfirmed. I figured Iíd check with the Caverns and Lincoln district offices in Carlsbad and on site to confirm, but they may not have boots on the ground info like you guys.

Could you, or anyone else with knowledge, verify if these sources are dry, seasonal, flowing, anything else? Sources I missed? I will add the info to the list and delete the dry spots.

I am planning on going north to south, starting at Whites City, and including the Sitting Bull Falls loop. Here is the list from N>S (I havenít calculated exact mileage on these yet but will update when I do):

- Carlsbad Caverns NP (inside visitor center, park hours, water/restrooms/food)
- Putman Cabin (heard there is water storage tank for rangers, not sure if available for public)
- Horse Spring (junction GRT & T207, start of Sitting Bull Falls alt, no info)
- Agua Dulce Seep (on T210/main GRT if not taking SBF alt, confirmed tank with water in fall 2019)
- Taylor Tank (near T208 x FS527, no info)
- Bearup Well (near FS527 x FS9573, no info)
- Cowboy Tank (near FS9573 x FS9429, no info)
- Red Tank (near FS9431 x FS527, no info)
- Guadalupe District Administration Site (NM 137, business hours only? not sure if outside access)
- Sitting Bull Falls (water, restrooms)
- Logan Spring (Last Chance Canyon Trail, no info)
- White Oaks Spring (T217, no info)
- East Well (FS525 x FS525C, no info)
- Town of Queen (about 1 mi off FS525, not sure about services, there is a seasonal Christian Campground and a fantastic restaurant with limited hours, check Facebook for Queen store & Cafe, get pie and a green chile cheeseburger if they are open)
- Cache near Old Hepler Ranch (Cougar Rd x T210, access via NM 107 from Queen)
- Agua Dulce Seep (mentioned above, about 2+ mi east of Cougar Rd x T210)
- Dark Canyon Lookout Tower (can cache here via Klondike Gap Rd via Klondike Rd/NM 137, privy)
- Black River Spring (FS201 x FS201A, confirmed water by several BBC members)
- Klondike Rd x FS201 (cache spot, access via NM 137)
- Devilís Den Spring (FS3008 x T202, think someone here said there is water)
- McKittrick Trail Head (water, restrooms)
- McKittrick creek (only at trail crossings, Pratt Cabin appears to be closest if coming NOBO from McKittrick Ridge)
- Pine Springs CG


I have no idea if the tanks/wells/springs with no info are wet, based on the location most are probably dry. I plan on checking all of them when I go just to provide updated info for those wishing to hike the GRT in the future. Most of them are on the Sitting Bull Falls loop which wouldnít apply to people looking to do the ~70 mile direct route.

The goal for me would be to complete the ~100 mile route without caches if possible.

Anyone know the etiquette for getting water from cow tanks? People on the CDT and AZT do it all the time but I donít want to piss off any ranchers.

Thanks for any help!

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Offline Minimal

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Re: 100 mile long Guadalupe Ridge Trail
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2020, 03:53:40 AM »

- Carlsbad Caverns NP (inside visitor center, park hours, water/restrooms/food) - Self Explanatory
- Putman Cabin (heard there is water storage tank for rangers, not sure if available for public) - No water, only an overturned bear box
- Horse Spring (junction GRT & T207, start of Sitting Bull Falls alt, no info) - Reliable but difficult to access per conversation on IG with another GRT hiker
- Agua Dulce Seep (on T210/main GRT if not taking SBF alt, confirmed tank with water in fall 2019) - Correct, full tank on our trip
- Taylor Tank (near T208 x FS527, no info)
- Bearup Well (near FS527 x FS9573, no info)
- Cowboy Tank (near FS9573 x FS9429, no info)
- Red Tank (near FS9431 x FS527, no info)
- Guadalupe District Administration Site (NM 137, business hours only? not sure if outside access) - Water spigot on left side of parking area, near cave permit kiosk
- Sitting Bull Falls (water, restrooms) - Self Explanatory
- Logan Spring (Last Chance Canyon Trail, no info)
- White Oaks Spring (T217, no info)
- East Well (FS525 x FS525C, no info)
- Town of Queen (about 1 mi off FS525, not sure about services, there is a seasonal Christian Campground and a fantastic restaurant with limited hours, check Facebook for Queen store & Cafe, get pie and a green chile cheeseburger if they are open) -  - Mountain Man burger is amazing. The owners, Lynn & Kim Ballard are great folks
- Cache near Old Hepler Ranch (Cougar Rd x T210, access via NM 107 from Queen) - Super easy access
- Agua Dulce Seep (mentioned above, about 2+ mi east of Cougar Rd x T210) - See above
- Dark Canyon Lookout Tower (can cache here via Klondike Gap Rd via Klondike Rd/NM 137, privy) - Easy access, gets more traffic than you would expect
- Black River Spring (FS201 x FS201A, confirmed water by several BBC members)

Two brand new 4500 gallon tanks at 32.045993, -104.786645 - Full during our trip

- Klondike Rd x FS201 (cache spot, access via NM 137) - Easy access, gets more traffic than you would expect
- Devilís Den Spring (FS3008 x T202, think someone here said there is water)
- McKittrick Trail Head (water, restrooms) - Self Explanatory
- McKittrick creek (only at trail crossings, Pratt Cabin appears to be closest if coming NOBO from McKittrick Ridge)
- Pine Springs CG - Self Explanatory


I have no idea if the tanks/wells/springs with no info are wet, based on the location most are probably dry. I plan on checking all of them when I go just to provide updated info for those wishing to hike the GRT in the future. Most of them are on the Sitting Bull Falls loop which wouldnít apply to people looking to do the ~70 mile direct route.

The goal for me would be to complete the ~100 mile route without caches if possible.

Anyone know the etiquette for getting water from cow tanks? People on the CDT and AZT do it all the time but I donít want to piss off any ranchers.

Thanks for any help!

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: 100 mile long Guadalupe Ridge Trail
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2020, 08:35:30 AM »

- Putman Cabin (heard there is water storage tank for rangers, not sure if available for public) - No water, only an overturned bear box


My experience with the Carlsbad Caverns-GUMO route is almost 25 years ago, so probably not useful, but I am curious about the current state of the Putman Cabin water source. Back in the day, the cabin had an extensive rainwater collection system that emptied into a huge (1000+ gallon) above-ground cistern. In order to draw water, hikers had to climb the superstructure and lower bags/bottles/buckets into it by means of a rope.

Is this setup completely gone now?



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Offline Minimal

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Re: 100 mile long Guadalupe Ridge Trail
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2020, 08:52:01 AM »
I found a NPS memo scheduling the cabin for demolition so when we were unable to find it I assumed it was removed. Nothing it the area now but a radio repeater tower and the aforementioned bear box.

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Offline okiehiker

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Re: 100 mile long Guadalupe Ridge Trail
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2020, 08:57:54 AM »
Iíll try to make a trip out there over the next few months. Thereís quite a list of spots Iíve gotten water over the years, but itís been a while since Iíve been to several of them. In 1995 I had a group of 11 that carried 43 gallons out of Devilís Den Spring. There are some sites in CACA as well as LNF but you have to divert from the ridge route.


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