Although one of the least-visited and little known U.S. National Parks, Guadalupe Mountains National Park, often described as an island in the desert, offers a great variety of scenery and juxtaposition of landscapes. The park features desert, canyons, sand dunes and seven of the nine tallest peaks in Texas. I was surprised by the diversity of vegetation, which ranges from desert plants to woodland trees, whose color in autumn rivals New England. Outside of the eastern forests, no other national park offers fall foliage that brilliant! Because Guadalupe Mountains National Park is off the beaten path for most park-goers, it is mostly free of crowds, and because it is not well known among nature photographers, it provides the opportunity to create relatively fresh images. As an added bonus for those of you who would rather not photograph landscapes at midday, you can do a quick jaunt to Carlsbad Caverns National Park, only a bit more than half an hour away.
While the mountains may look like a sheer wall from Hwy 62, the main road skirting the park, surprising discoveries await photographers who take the time to hike into the park. Most of the trails can be reached by ...