Fire danger in GMNP is HIGH. To view any fire or entry restrictions, click on
"Fire Information" at: SW Wildfire Management
or check the GMNP web site:
Guadalupe Mountains National Park Information
This is a virtual cache hidden deep in McKittrick Canyon in one of the little known treasures of the southwest - Guadalupe Mountains National Park.
07-02-06: Cacher Zaxquest found out that pets are NOT allowed in the canyon. I updated the attributes to reflect that status.
This virtual cache is Pratt Cabin, some 2.4 miles up the canyon from the trail head. Dating to the 1930's, the cabin was the home of Wallace Pratt and his family. The cabin is now used as a visitor center in the canyon and a jumping-off point for more adventurous hikes in the back country. Drinking water is usually available at the cabin (check before you start). Take a lunch and enjoy the solitude of the canyon for dining. No vehicles are allowed in the canyon past the trail head. The given coordinates are from a waypoint taken before selective availability was turned off, but should be close. Remember, the cache is the cabin.
NOTE 3-31-02 - KMC reports the water system at the cabin is out of service. There was no drinking water or restrooms at the cabin. Check on the status at the ranger station before entering the canyon.
To claim this virtual cache, you must email me after your visit and describe the roof of Pratt Cabin (after you've seen it, this will be obvious). I will delete any claims that have not been preceded by an email with this information. Do not post this information in your log report, even if encypted!
Please note: If I answer your claim email and receive a automated return requiring verification of our email address, I will not respond to those as a matter of course. Some of those services are nothing but address harvesters and I choose not reply to them.
Located in far west Texas on US 62-180, approximately 50 miles SW of Carlsbad, NM., GMNP is a wilderness park on the south end of the Guadalupe Mountains. The highest point in Texas, Guadalupe Peak (8749') is within the park. The centerpiece, as seen from the highway is El Capitan (8085'), the massive limestone cliff visible for over a hundred miles. Miles of foot and horse trails crisscross the park. Some back country campgrounds are available (see the links below for information).
Travelers on the highway often breeze right past one of the jewels of the park - McKittrick Canyon. Entrance to the canyon is made via a paved roadway several miles east of the park headquarters (approx. N32° 56.4 W104° 42.7). There is a large parking area and a Ranger Station / Information Center at the trail head. Water and restrooms are available there also. Entrance hours are generally from morning to late afternoon (check their web site before going). You must be out of the parking area before the gates close at nite.
McKittrick Canyon is an unexpected, special place in the desert anytime of the year, but especially during the fall. Aspen groves (said to be the southernmost in the northern hemisphere) light up the canyon with color. It is usually cooler for hiking. Regardless of the time of year, there is lots to see in the canyon and around the cache. From a high desert landscape to almost alpine like conditions, the canyon is a never ending series of microclimes. Each has its unique animal and plant occupants.
The trail to the cabin is a groomed dirt or gravel trail with several stream crossings (yes, there is a stream that plays hide and seek the length of the canyon). I think the altitude change from the trail head to the cabin is only about 300' over the 2.4 miles. The steepest part of the trail is just after the Ranger Station at the trail head where the trail goes down into the canyon bed. (Remember, what goes down, must go up as you leave the canyon!). You must stay on the trail to protect the fragile environment of the canyon.
The hike (or walk, actually) to Pratt Cabin is an easy 4.8 mile round trip. You can go much further up the canyon to other scenic areas. The trail becomes rougher and tougher past the cabin. The Cabin hike makes a great day trip for families - my last trip included a six year old (and she had a great time). Good walking shoes or boots are a must and be sure to take some water. If you go in the summer, be prepared for 100 degree temperatures - this is the desert!
Check the weather before you go - a NWS remote site located uptrail from Pratt Cabin:
NWS Live Weather GMNP
Slainte Mhath & enjoy your visit to McKittrick Canyon and be sure to take some pictures for the cache page!!!