I’m always doing things from north to south. Let’s switch gears and take a general (not too detailed because the route will remain a very fluid thing in many areas for a long time to come) look at the Great Plains Trail from south to north. Break out the atlas and check it out.
The southernmost parts of the route are essentially wide open desert lands with significant topographical relief only in the Guadalupe/Lincoln NF areas. Other areas are flat to rolling with some distant hills. Here are the first few southernmost sections.
**It should be mentioned that there are many challenges along the GPT route. Lack of water, and lack of public campgrounds (in some areas) are chief among them. Anyone interested in planning to walk the GPT (even shorter sections) will need to plan ahead and have some vehicle support along the way.**
- Southern Terminus: Guadalupe Peak in Guadalupe Mountain National Park – The high point of Texas
2. Follow the Tejas Trail north through the park, then east on the McKittrick Canyon Trail
3. From the McKittrick Canyon Visitor Center, take the Wilderness Ridge Trail all the way into Lincoln National Forest, and the Texas/New Mexico border.
4. Follow one of several forest service roads to the town of Queen, then north on mostly trail to Sitting Bull Falls.
5. Follow the road out of Sitting Bull Falls north and east through mostly BLM lands to Brantley Lake State Park.
6. Backroads or the main highway take you north to the town of Artesia, New Mexico.
7. Continue north through the towns of Hagerman and Dexter to Bottomless Lakes State Park.
8. Go through parts of Roswell, New Mexico to the Salt Creek Wilderness.
As with many parts of the GPT, the southern sections will let you know right away that this is NOT the Appalachian Trail. This is wide-open western adventure, just like so many experienced in the westward expansion era of the 1800s. OK, maybe not exactly like that, but is it adventurous? Absolutely, and that’s what the Great Plains Trail is all about!