A Guadalupe and Carlsbad Adventure

The gang at GeoBetty Tours is excited to be planning an adventure for a group of Michigan hikers scheduled to take place this autumn.  Guadalupe Mountains and Carlsbad Caverns national parks are the featured destinations.

The steps on the Devil's Hall Trail in Guadalupe Mountains National Park.
The steps on the Devil’s Hall Trail in Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park encompasses over 86,000 acres that offers mountains of adventure options.  The mountains are actually an exposed limestone reef left behind by the Permian Sea that covered the area 250 million years ago.  Geologists travel from all over the world to learn from the exposed limestone cliffs.

Hiking trails range from walks through secluded canyons to strenuous treks reaching high places.  The Guadalupe Peak Trail climbs almost 3,000 feet over four miles and tops out at the highest point in Texas at 8,749 feet above sea level. From the summit hikers can see salt flats, distant mountains and even Carlsbad Caverns National Park, roughly fifty miles away.

Everyone's happy when they reach the marker at the top of Guadalupe Peak.
Everyone’s happy when they reach the marker at the top of Guadalupe Peak.

Hiking the canyons in the Guadalupes offers solitude plus a wide variety of plant and animal life.  It’s also easy to see the important role that water still plays in the area.  Vegetation thrives along its course and evidence of flash flooding is apparent in boulder strewn areas.

 

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Fall color is everywhere in Guadalupe’s canyons.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park is also part of the Permian Reef and provides a stunning example of how water effects limestone.  Rainfall percolating down through the ground formed the 80+ caverns in the park.  Our group will travel into the best-known cave via the natural entrance and travel a nearly two mile trail that drops over 700 feet into the earth.  The Big Room tour at the bottom of the cavern is a one mile loop past awe-inspiring features, including a 62-foot tall stalagmite named Giant Dome.

The natural entrance trail at Carlsbad Caverns snakes down into the signature cave at the park.
The natural entrance trail at Carlsbad Caverns snakes down into the signature cave at the park.

Not all the trails in Carlsbad Caverns are underground. We will also get to explore hiking trails rarely seen by other park visitors.

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The Big Room at the bottom of Carlsbad Caverns is a must for every visitor.

Our 5+ day adventure will begin and end in El Paso, Texas. The city is rich in history going back over 400 years.  Franklin Mountains State Park, with over 24,000 acres of open space runs through the middle of town.  The park offers a stunning backdrop for civilized adventures plus opportunities for hiking and mountain biking.  Group members will be able to extend their stays to also explore El Paso.

El Paso, Texas and Juarez, Mexico can be seen from the ridgeline in Franklin Mountains State Park.
El Paso, Texas and Juarez Mexico can be seen from the ridgeline in Franklin Mountains State Park.

Lest a group of Michiganders be concerned about who is leading this adventure, there is a connection to your state.  GeoBetty Tours’ owner, Don Baumgardt, has a son who attended the University of Michigan.  We can talk Wolverine (and Spartan) football on the trails as well as biology and geology.

Blain Baumgardt leading the Michigan Marching Band onto the field in 2009.
Blain Baumgardt leading the Michigan Marching Band onto the field in 2009.

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