West Texas – El Paso to Guadalupe Mountains

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The trip begins at El Paso’s airport. The first road you must find is located just outside the airport’s exit: US 62/180, also known as Montana Avenue.

There are absolutely NO gas stations, restaurants, or other services between El Paso and White’s City (near Carlsbad, New Mexico), so fill up your tank and buy supplies before leaving civilization.

US 62 180, West Texas

As you leave El Paso, you’ll pass a long series of junkyards, fireworks stands, and generally unappealing homes and businesses. Eventually the urban sprawl runs out, and you’re in a gently rolling desert.

US 62 180 outside Guadalupe Mountains Park

 There are a few “rest areas” along the highway, with picnic tables but no facilities. I stopped at one of these for my first view of the Guadalupe Mountains in the distance.

Dell City Valley of Hidden Waters Billboard Sign

While you’re still about a half-hour away from Guadalupe Mountains National Park, you’ll come upon a possible detour–a road leading to Dell City, the “Land of Hidden Waters”. A loop route allows you to see the town and the often-dry lakebed of Linda Lake.

Check out the satellite view of Dell City on Google Maps. From high above, it does look interesting, and there must truly be some “hidden waters” there to support the agriculture industry. If I had more time, I would have taken the detour.

Guadalupe Mountains behind barbed wire

After you pass a turnoff for Farm Route 1111 (a scenic route which would take you in the direction of Big Bend National Park–a worthy but extremely remote destination), and the turnoff for Dell City, the Guadalupe Mountains will come into view. El Capitan is the most prominent feature, with Guadalupe Peak (the highest point in Texas) just behind it.

old motel ruins outside Guadalupe Mountains Park

Just outside of the park, stop for a minute at these old ruins, which were likely once an old roadside motel.

Wall ruins at old motel

There are no “No Trespassing” signs or fences in the way, so you should be safe to explore here. In fact, while I wandered around with my camera, a Texas State Trooper pulled in, made a U-turn, and headed out. He was clearly more interested in causing problems for speeders than for me.

abandoned water tower in west texas

The old water tower is next to the old motel.

Note: This trip was first published in 2006.

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