Texas is one of the largest states in the United States; it’s second only to Alaska. With nearly 30 million residents, it’s also heavily populated, particularly in the great Houston metropolitan area. Interestingly, the state food is officially chili, and the state mammals are the nine-banded armadillo and the Texas longhorn. Texas straddles both the Gulf of Mexico and the U.S./Mexico border. But just where is the highest point in Texas?
Here, we’ll discover just how tall the highest place in Texas is and how to get there. We’ll find out how the high point compares to the rest of the state and a little more about Texas topography. Then, we’ll explore what to do around the highest point in Texas. Finally, we’ll discover the other four highest points in the state and where they’re located.
Highest Point In Texas
At 8,751 feet, Guadalupe Peak is the highest point in Texas. Located in the high desert of Guadalupe Mountains National Park in west Texas, the peak is incredibly rural. Also known as Signal Peak, the highest point in Texas is easily visible from the surrounding lands. This is because it rises over 3,000 feet from the Chihuahuan Desert below. In fact, Guadalupe Peak has a prominence of 3,029 feet, which means that hiking to the top is no easy feat.
After hiking up from the sagebrush and cactus desert, visitors will find themselves in a rocky, high desert forest of pinyon, juniper, and scrub brush. The peak is marked by a steel pyramid (around six feet tall) placed there in the 1950s. Other than the steel pyramid, there’s not much manmade stuff to see. The real thrill of Guadalupe Peak comes from the reward of completing the strenuous hike, as well as the incredible views of the surrounding countryside.
What Makes Guadalupe Peak so Special?
The highest point in Texas, Guadalupe Peak, is over 8,000 feet above the sea level. This is incredible because the lowest point in Texas actually is sea level! That’s right—Texas ranges from 0 feet elevation in the Gulf of Mexico to over 8,000 feet above sea level at Guadalupe Peak. Its composition makes this peak even more interesting; Guadalupe Peak is made of ancient limestone. Once, in the distant past, that limestone was actually a coral reef, submerged in a primordial ocean.
Getting to the Highest Point in Texas
Guadalupe Peak is located in far western Texas, about 90 miles east of El Paso, and about 50 miles southwest of Carlsbad, in New Mexico. Whether you come from the east or the west, you’ll reach the Pine Springs Visitor Center via Highway 62. The Visitor Center is a must-stop for anyone looking to hike to the top. There, you can purchase a permit, and learn about the dangers (like snakes, scorpions, and cliffs) that you may face.
From the Visitor Center, Guadalupe Peak is an 8.4-mile round trip hike. But, it’s not just any hike; the hike to the highest point in Texas features 3,000 feet in elevation gain—it’s not for the faint in heart. Further, the National Park is a “leave no trace” area, so you’ll need to ensure you bring proper pack-it-out supplies, in addition to things like water and sunscreen, along.
What is There to See at Guadalupe Peak?
The hike up to Guadalupe Peak and back down takes experienced hikers 6-8 hours to complete. There’s plenty to see along the way, though. You’re likely to encounter a wide variety of high desert flora and fauna—you might even see a fossil or two from the ancient reef. Guadalupe Peak, and the journey there, offers stunning views and a nature experience unlike anything else.
However, if you’re looking for something a little more cosmopolitan to do around this natural wonder, you’ll likely be disappointed. El Paso is the closest city to the National Park. So if you’re more interested in museums, hotels, and such, then check out Guadalupe Peak from the desert floor, then head on into El Paso.
Texas: Five Highest Points
Guadalupe Peak isn’t the only 8,000-foot plus peak in Texas. In fact, the highest point in Texas is one of nine peaks over 8,000 feet tall. And, the top four high points in the state are all located in the Guadalupe Mountains.
Bush Mountain is the second highest point in the state, at 8,631 feet. It’s followed by Shumard Peak, which comes in third at 8,615 feet elevation. Fourth is Bartlett Peak, at 8,508 feet. Finally, located in the Davis Mountains, the fifth highest point in Texas is Baldy Peak, which is 8,378 feet tall.
What Is the Highest Point in the United States?
Formerly known as Mount McKinley, Mount Denali is the highest peak in the United States. The peak which is located in Alaska, is 20,310 feet high and is also the third most prominent isolated elevation in the world. It is surpassed in this regard by Mount Everest and Aconcagua. The mountain sits in the Denali National Park and Preserve.
Mount Denali, is also part of the 600-mile Alaska range which is part of the American Cordillera whose highest point is Aconcagua which stands 22,838 feet. The Alaska range itself extends for 600 miles from Canada’s Yukon Territory to Lake Clark in Alaska.
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