This wilderness area preserves the largest exposed fossil reef on Earth, showcasing remnants from an underwater world that existed 260 million years ago when this part of West Texas was covered by the sea. Visitors can explore the park’s striking mountains or hike a stream bed through the winding limestone walls of McKittrick Canyon, where deciduous trees and other vegetation stand in vibrant contrast with the surrounding desert.
Ancient Sea Life
The Permian Reef was once home to a thriving sea of marine life, including sponges, algae, clams, corals, trilobites and sea urchins. The 8.4-mile Permian Reef Trail in McKittrick Canyon offers interpretive signs highlighting various aspects of this ancient sea and its diverse lifeforms.
More about Guadalupe Mountains
Report Polluted Parks: How Dirty Air is Harming America’s National Parks “Polluted Parks” graded the pollution-related damage in the 48 national parks required by the Clean Air Act to have the highest possible air quality.
Blog Post Wild American Beauty: 10 Wilderness Areas to Explore Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act by exploring some of America’s wildest places, from remote windswept tundras to cactus-dotted mountains to serene rock-strewn beaches. Several spots are surprisingly close to major cities.
Blog Post The 10 Best Places to See Fall Foliage Each autumn, nature puts on an artistic display as hardwood trees from oaks to aspen change color. The following national parks offer some of the best fall color in the United States. These recommendations are adapted from National Geographic’s Ten Best of Everything National Parks and used by permission.
Report Texas Pride This report profiles the 13 national park sites here in Texas, visited annually by nearly 5.5 million people. They are the pride of our state and economic boons to local communities, with national park tourism providing nearly 5,000 jobs and $308 million annually for state and local economies.