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Riley Heruska
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Here in Texas, we are lucky enough to claim two national parks as our own: Big Bend and the Guadalupe Mountains. However, because of our state's crazy weather, planning trips to these beautiful areas can be a bit tricky. If you plan too early in the season, it can be blistering hot, but if you plan too late, you might have missed the best times to see wildlife and camp outside. 

In order to make the most of your trip to the Guadalupe Mountain rangenow is the time to start planning your adventure for the upcoming months. Here's why: 

  • The autumn leaves are spectacular. Beginning around mid-October, the trees of the national park will begin changing colors and grant you an incredible sight while camping. Witness everything from bright red leaves to swaths of orange and yellow foliage amongst the bigtooth maple trees. Bring your camera because you won't be able to stop snapping photos if you visit during the most colorful time of the year. Be sure to check out McKittrick Canyon where the natural shades are the most vibrant. 

  • The weather is almost guaranteed to be nice. When you're camping, temperatures can really make or break the entire experience. The time between September and November usually sees milder temperatures in the park with daytime highs between 50 and 60 degrees and evenings in the 30 to 50-degree range. If you've been camping many times before, you know this is pretty much the most ideal setup you can find.
     
  • The park certainly won't be crowded. Although Guadalupe Mountains National Park is one of the least-visited national parks in the country, it can get a bit crazy during spring break and other times of the year. Fortunately, visitation drops substantially once everyone goes back to school in August or early September, which means the fall months are perfect for solitary treks and spacious camping arrangements. 

  • Hiking will be a breeze (literally). You don't want to trek around this park when it's hot outside, but when the temperatures stay fairly low, you can climb to the tallest point in Texas without sweating or worrying about heat-related illnesses

  • By December, you'll have missed the optimal window. Fans of the park claim that things get a little dry and isolated during the holidays, and although you could wait until the spring of 2019, it often takes quite a while for temperatures to rise and paths to clear after winter. Therefore, if you want to visit the Guadalupe Mountains soon, you'll need to schedule your trip within the upcoming fall months. 

So, what are you waiting for? Start looking at your schedule during the autumn months and figure out when you can visit the hidden gem in West Texas. While you're at it, you can even take the family to the nearby Carlsbad Caverns and check two national parks off the list in one trip.

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