El Capitan, Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas. Clint Farlinger/Alamy Stock Photo

© Clint Farlinger / Alamy Stock Photo

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

West Texas

Few Texans seem to know about Guadalupe Mountains, but this remote desert enclave is a true Texas high spot, literally as well as figuratively. At 8749ft, Guadalupe Peak is the highest point in the state. Just south of New Mexico, 110 miles east of El Paso, the park is a long way from anywhere. For the best day-use, drive 12 miles northeast from Pine Springs Visitor Center to reach McKittrick Canyon, which sees the finest fall foliage in West Texas.

More than half the park is a designated wilderness area, and the park service has curbed development to keep it wild. There are no restaurants or indoor accommodations and only a smattering of services and programs (keep your gas tank full and your cooler stocked). And with no paved roads within the park proper, you're going to have to hike to see its high-country splendor.

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