Summer is winding down, but that doesn’t mean that vacation time is over. In fact, now that the temps are cooling down, it’s the perfect time to plan a trip to a national park. The National Park Service is celebrating its 100 year anniversary, so head out and find inspiration in America’s wildlands.
Texas is good place to start. Big, gorgeous, and inspiring, the Lone Star State’s landscape lives up to Texas’ big reputation. From the breathtaking vistas atop the rugged Guadalupe Mountains to the winding river views in Big Bend National Park, endless adventure awaits. Load up your car, fill your Osprey pack with supplies, and get ready for an amazing trip.
In the northwest corner of Texas, east of El Paso and stacked up against the border with New Mexico, sits Guadalupe Mountains National Park, the greatest mountains of the south central United States. Home to the highest peak in Texas, Guadalupe Peak, the Guadalupe Mountains jut high into the heavens showcasing the rugged and unique terrain. Two hundred and sixty million years ago, the Guadalupe Mountains were part of a huge reef made from plant and animal skeletons. Today, the limestone behemoth is recognized as one of the most well-preserved fossil reefs in the world.
Start your adventure by hiking to the summit of Guadalupe Peak, best known for being both the highest point in Texas and home to staggering 100 mph winds. To get to the summit, dedicated hikers will need to gain some serious elevation in just a short amount of time—3,000 feet in just 4.2 miles. The mountain’s exposed ridges, steep switchbacks, and false summit full of Ponderosa Pines will leave you feeling exhausted yet inspired. Be aware that before hiking this trail, you will need to check the weather, as high winds and thunderstorms wreak havoc on the exposed summit.
Be sure to pack your camera, extra layers, snacks, and plenty of water into your Osprey Mutant 38. The mesh Airscape™ backpanel and padded shoulder harness system will ensure great ventilation and an unrivaled, all-day carrying comfort level.
You can also climb up to the summit of El Capitan, not to be confused with the famous El Cap in Yosemite. The eighth highest peak in Texas is challenging to top out, and requires some bushwacking and scrambling to do so—a true adventure for the experienced hiker. Once you make it to the top, the views of the desert floor below are astounding.
If trail running is more up your alley then Big Bend National Park should be on your itinerary. Nestled along the border between the United States and Mexico, Big Bend is home to the Rio Grande, which snakes its way through jaw-dropping terrain. The park has 150 miles of trails and up to 6,000 feet of elevation gain, so the running options are as diverse as the landscape itself.
One of the most popular trail runs is along the South Rim Trail in the Chisos Mountains, located nearly a mile above the desert floor. At 12.6 miles, this trail delivers the most bang for its buck. Gaining a total of 2,000 feet in elevation, the route will amaze you with sweeping vistas and beautiful rock formations. You can also turn this into a larger 17.5-loop and catch views of the appropriately-named Boot Rock in Boot Canyon.
If you are looking for a shorter run on a cool day, the six mile out-and-back Hot Springs Trail, is a gorgeous run that passes by incredible fossils.
Whichever stunning trail or adventure you find yourself on at Big Bend, make sure you load up your Osprey Rev 12 with a camera, snacks, and water, and get ready to be awestruck with beauty.
Before heading out to either Big Bend or Guadalupe Mountain National Parks, make sure you stop by one of the nine Backwoods Outdoor Store locations—two of these are in Texas, one in Austin and one in Fort Worth. Founded in 1973, the Austin-based, family-owned and operated store has helped shaped generations of outdoor enthusiasts. The friendly and knowledgeable staff at Backwoods will hook you up with the best of the best, including Osprey backpacks. It’s your one-stop-shop for outdoor gear, and carries all your needs for everything from a family camping adventure to a rugged trip to rarely climbed, glacial-capped summits.
– Via Roots Rated