Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Dog Canyon, Guadalupe National Park

Only accessible by a long drive along scenic highway 137 and dead ending at the ranger station Dog Canyon is the quieter end of Guadalupe National Park.  It’s a lovely spot with a campground, horse corrals and a small RV boondocking area.

We planned a short hike along the Tejas Trail which is either a very long day hike or an overnighter to the beautiful McKitterick Canyon.   However, we were only going as far as Dog Spring, which according to our guide book was about 1½ miles, although it was a little worrying when the ranger said he’d never heard of Dog Spring!

It’s a fairly rocky trail that follows a dry river bed as it twists around first one canyon then another, all the while climbing higher into the mountains.

In places the trail forded the dry river bed and there were rocks absolutely everywhere.   The sun shone and it was just the right temperature for hiking, low to mid 70’s with plenty of shade trees.

Our guide book said that after 1½ miles we’d reach the spring and then the trail would start to climb steeply up to Lost Peak.   At one mile we again crossed the dry river bed in a spot that really looked like it should have a spring, we were at the right elevation but, nothing. 

We carried on and started climbing steeply, hmm surely by now we were starting up Lost Peak, could our trusty little guide book be wrong?   After all it wasn’t as if we could’ve wandered of the trail anywhere, there was only one trail!
The trail continued climbing until we were high up the side of the mountain at 7,000 ft, about 600ft higher than where the spring was supposed to be, but our gps said 1½ miles.   Curioser and curioser?

We decided to climb just a bit more and see what was just round the next corner, we did and there was just more trail climbing upwards with some great views of the canyon and Guadalupe Ridge.

Deciding we’d gone far enough we retraced our steps, arriving back at the dry river bed, we still thought it was the right place for the spring to be, but during our climb partway up Lost Peak no spring had magically appeared.

The ranger asked us if we found Dog Spring, we told him no but we found where we thought there ought to be a spring.

It turns out that somewhere just off the trail the rangers have cameras on a seep where they watch, bears, cougers, coyotes, deer and other animals come to drink, so that is probably Dog Spring.   But as to where exactly?  Well your guess is as good as mine.

Have fun, we are!


  1. Things can be hard to find on trail! But it's the experience in nature that really counts!

    1. Very true, although thinking about it since we think we know where the seep is but....