One of the great ironies of visiting Guadalupe Mountains National Park is crossing hundreds of miles of desert only to discover that the dominant force that has shaped the terrain is water. Even though the rocky slopes are now sun-drenched instead of under the sea, and cacti have replaced sponges, water’s past abundance is evident in every rock layer.
Students, teachers, and lifetime learners will enjoy exploring the Permian Reef Trail. Our bookstore sells a technical guide designed for those with a geology background, and the Pine Springs visitor center has free handouts for onsite visitors who may not have that background but are curious to the types of fossils they will see along the trail. It’s a rough and sunny hike, best done in the fall, winter, and spring.
Image: Hikers ascend a rocky path beneath a fossil reef.
(NPS Photo/M. Haynie)
Source: Guadalupe Mountains National Park