Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Having recovered from the hike to the Rabbit Ear Plateau in the Organ Mountains , I visited the this Guadalupe National Park a few days later with two friends of mine in order to hike up the McKittrick Canyon. Compared to the previous hike this was a walk in the park. A gravel path, shade, no steep gradients and first and foremost no walking through cacti fields. Starting at the McKittrick Contact Station, we walked the McKittrick Canyon trail, taking short side trips in order to visit Pratt Lodge, the Grotto and the Hunter Line Shack. When we got to the Notch we decided to turn back as it was getting late and we wanted to get out of the park before the entrance gate to the US highway 62/180 was locked. The whole hike, including all the side trips lasted about 3 to 4 hours and can be done easily in a morning. Walking as far as the Notch is definitely worth it as it affords nice views of the McKittrick canyon itself.
The entrance fee to the park is $10 per person and is valid for 7 days although on some of the main public holidays entrance is free.