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Guadalupe Mountains
Guadalupe Mountains
Country United States
States Texas, New Mexico
Borders on Sacramento Mountains, Brokeoff Mountains
Highest point Guadalupe Peak
 - elevation 8,749 ft (2,667 m)
 - coordinates 31°53′28″N 104°51′36″W / 31.89111°N 104.86°W / 31.89111; -104.86
Length 65 mi (105 km) [1]
Width 20 mi (32 km)
Geology Limestone

The Guadalupe Mountains are a mountain range located in western Texas and southeastern New Mexico. The range includes the highest summit in Texas, Guadalupe Peak, 8,749 ft (2,667 m), and the "signature peak" of West Texas, El Capitan, both located within Guadalupe Mountains National Park, as well as Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

The range lies southeast of the Sacramento Mountains and east of the Brokeoff Mountains. It extends north-northwest and northeast from Guadalupe Peak in Texas into New Mexico.[1] The northeastern extension ends about 10 miles (16 km) southwest of Carlsbad, near White's City and Carlsbad Caverns National Park. The northwestern extension, bounded by a dramatic escarpment known as "The Rim", extends much further into New Mexico, to near the Sacramento Mountains. The range is bounded on the north by Four Mile Canyon; on the east by the valley of the Pecos River; and on the west by Piñon Creek, Big Dog Canyon, Valley Canyon, Middle Dog Canyon and West Dog Canyon.

Much of the range is built from the ancient undersea Capitán Reef. For detail on the area's geology, see Delaware Basin. As the range is built up almost entirely of limestone, upland areas have little or no surface water. The only significant surface water is McKittrick Creek, in McKittrick Canyon, which emerges from the eastern side of the massif, just south of the New Mexico border. Elevations at the base of the range vary from 4,000 feet (1,200 m) above sea level on the western side to 5,000 feet (1,500 m) on the east. Several peaks on the southern end exceed 8,000 feet (2,400 m).

There are three major ecosystems contained within the mountain range. First of all, deserts exhibit Salt flats on the western side of the National Park and creosote desert, with low elevations on the east covered with grassland, pinyon pine and junipers such as alligator juniper and one-seeded juniper. Secondly, Canyon interiors such as McKittrick, Bear, and Pine Springs Canyon on the southeast end exhibit maple, ash, chinquapin oak, and other deciduous trees. These trees are able to grow in the desert due to springs of water recharged by wet uplands. Finally, alpine uplands known as 'The Bowl' exceeding elevations of 7,000 ft (2,100 m) are clothed with denser forests of ponderosa pine, southwestern white pine, and douglas-fir, with small stands of Shumard oak and aspen.

The range contains many world-class caves, including Carlsbad Caverns (the best known) and Lechuguilla Cave, discovered in 1986. The history of the range includes occupation by ancient Pueblo and Mogollon peoples, and by the Apache and various Anglo outlaws in the 19th century.[2]


  1. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographical Names Information System: Guadalupe Mountains
  2. ^ Butterfield, Mike, and Greene, Peter, Mike Butterfield's Guide to the Mountains of New Mexico, New Mexico Magazine Press, 2006, ISBN 978-0-937206-88-1
  3. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Photographic Library ( )
  4. ^ Darton, N.H. 1928. "Red Beds" and associated formations in New Mexico, with an outline of the geology of the state. United States Department of Interior, U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 794, 356 pp. (Photo by R.T. Hill (1899), See Plate 8-A)

See also

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