Saturday I headed back out to Guadalupe Mountains National Park to do some hiking and take some pictures. With me was a photography student whom I have been working with on some landscape photography. Because the student had not hiked much before, we tried to avoid any serious elevation gain and choose to hike to Devils Hall.
For the first half of our journey we followed the well maintained Guadalupe Peak horse trail. Following the Pain Springs canyon, Hunter peak loomed to the north with Guadalupe Peak to the south. As the canyon slowly narrowed and the Horse trail turned back south snaking up the mountain, we pushed on to the west following the Devil’s Hall Trail. For the next 1.1 miles the trail actually enters the dry canyon bottom of Pine Springs. From this point until you reach Devil’s Hall there is no marked or maintained trail. Large boulders occupy the dry creek bed and require quite a bit of scrambling and maneuvering if you want to stay on course. The canyon continues to narrow and become more scenic the crosser you get to Devil’s Hall. Just before the end you pass through the Devils Gate and ascend the Hiker’s Staircase. The Hiker’s Staircase is a natural rock stairway that looks as if it were built specifically for hikers on their way to Devil’s Hall. Another 100 feet and you enter the unusually narrow canyon that forms Devil’s Hall. The walls on either side look as if a skilled stone mason might have built the hall one stone at a time.
After passing through Devil’s Hall a NPS sign simply reads “End of Trail.” A friend and I joked that we could make the end of the trail anywhere we wanted because the sign was simply leaning against the rocks. After resting a bit we scrambled up a steep wash that lead to the top of the south side of Devils Hall. From there we could see The Devils Gate and the large cliffs leading up to Guadalupe peak. We bushwhacked across the open bowl that formed the top of Devil’s Hall and rejoined the streambed just east of the Devil’s Gate.
The bushwhacking proved rather difficult due to the native Agave plants, prickly pears, Cholla and numerous other thorny plants that grow at the lower altitudes. All together we spent about 4 hours hiking the 4.2 (2.1 miles one way) miles round trip, stopping for lunch halfway.
I use both the Map and Guide book featured below when planning my many trips to the Guadalupe Mountains. I highly recommend them to anyone wishing to hike there. Purchase them through these links and help support MyLifeOutdoors.