Hiking in the Wide Open Spaces of Van Horn, Texas

By  |  0 Comments

The small town of Van Horn, Texas is located in Culberson County. It consists of approximately 2,500 people strewn out across ranches and farmland. There is not much to see in the town itself, but it serves as an excellent gateway to hiking in the area.

From this small Texas town, you can strap on your hiking boots and head into the wilderness of several stunning landscapes including the Sierra Diablo Mountains, the Wylie Mountains, the Rio Grande River, Threemile Mountain and the area surrounding the Red Rock Ranch. You can spend your days exploring deep canyons, spectacular rock formations, seemingly endless valleys and majestic mountains. Van Horn is also home to no less than a dozen challenging summits including Carrizo Peak Summit, Hacket Peak Summit and High Lonesome Peak Summit. There are several different trails and routes to choose from, ranging from day hikes to multi-day backpacking expeditions.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

From Van Horn, Texas you can reach the wilds of Guadalupe Mountains National Park which contains numerous well-marked trails for hiking and horse-riding. One of the best trails in the park is the Guadalupe Peak Trail. This trail offers the most outstanding views from the summit of the peak of the Chihuahuan Desert. This national park also contains many caves, including the Carlsbad Caverns and Lechuguilla Cave.

McKittrick Canyon

This scenic canyon is an oasis in the middle of the Chichuahuan Desert and another excellent hiking destination just outside Van Horn. It is a “day-use-only” area, limited to day hikes. It has a visitor center and parking area. The McKittrick Canyon Trail is a hike that takes you from dry and barren desert scenery with cacti and hardy pines into the cool and sheltered environment of the canyon with flowing streams and abundant deciduous trees. The portion toward “The Notch” offers a great view of the canyon and the distant desert.

If you hike during the fall, you will be able to see the spectacular colors of the Bigtooth Maples in McKittrick Canyon. It creates a stark contrast to the surrounding desert.

Red Rock Ranch Tours

The Red Rock Ranch is located five minutes away from downtown Van Horn and offers tours of the amazing geological wonders of this region. The area around the ranch is one of the biggest areas of Precambrian Sandstone in the USA, and contains several ancient pictographs and petroglyphs. The guides will teach you about the wildlife and geology of the area. This is also a stunning place to watch the sunset over the barren landscape.

Van Horn, Texas is an ideal place to enjoy many amazing walks and hikes throughout a dramatic and beautiful landscape. Don’t forget to bring your camera, as the views that you will encounter will absolutely take your breath away.

Photo credit: Kirk Kittell

Mandy Scott is a freelance writer and hiking enthusiast. While exploring the surrounding mountains and valleys on her last trip to the McKittrick Canyon.

%d bloggers like this: