Sandia Peak rises 5,000 feet above Albuquerque, New Mexico and well into spring can have snow atop the peak. The views are incredible and despite being a popular weekend spot you can often find the peak void of people on weekday mornings.
Thanks! – Josh
Located in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Guadalupe Peak is the highest point in Texas and is the 14th highest state peak in the US. An 8½ mile round trip trail takes you up to the 8,750 foot peak with about 3,000 feet in elevation change. My friend Elijah and I set off to reach the peak on a slightly chilly January morning after camping in the Pine Springs Campground (one of the two campgrounds in the park). There is a sign at the trailhead with a small box for admission fee (instead of charging you at the entrance like most national parks, Guadalupe Mountains just has an honor system fee by the trailheads) as well as trail maps and lists of hiking necessities. We started off on the trail that quickly takes you upwards via many steep switchbacks and then takes you right along the side of a cliff around the mountain. Eventually the trail crested a ridge and opened up the view of the bowl created by the mountain.
From here the trail is much was much less steep but the wind was so strong on this side of the mountains that it almost blew my glasses off my face. After a couple miles the trail opens up some and passes the backcountry campsite on the side of the mountain. Just after the backcountry site we crossed over a very cool wooden bridge that passes over a steep drop down on the side of the cliff.
Not long after this we noticed a little bit of snow on the ground along the sides of the trail.
We hiked through the ponderosa pines as the trail took us to the other side of the mountain again where there were less snow and no trees. Soon we had reached the rocky and windy peak and we excitedly took pictures and stared off at the views. The peak marker is a unique pyramid monument built by American Airlines to commemorate the 100th anniversary of a stagecoach mail route that passed by the mountain with a small ammo box stating the peaks elevation and a register inside.
We had our lunch and quite enjoyed the views while trying not to get blown off the mountain by the wind. After our lunch we quickly descended the mountain and were back in the campground to read and chill after our hike. I would love to go back and hike Guadalupe Peak again sometime soon as well as explore other parts of Guadalupe Mountains National Park.
Thanks for reading – Josh