The Guadalupe Mountains National Park offers great hiking and camping in the Guadalupe Mountains. The Guadalupe Mountains National Park is located outside of El Paso, Texas along the Texas and Mexico border. The Guadalupe Mountains can be found between El Paso, Texas and Carlsbad, New Mexico. Native American tribes once inhabited the Guadalupe Mountains over 10,000 years ago. The Mescalero Apaches were a group of Apaches that were forced into the mountains during a war with the Comanches. They learned to hunt elk, mule deer and bighorn sheep. They harvested plants like agaves, bear grass and sotol. The agaves plant served many uses to the tribe. It was used for food and fiber for blankets and sandals. The Guadalupe Mountains offer an awesome glimpse into the past as ancient artifacts and pictographs are often found by visitors. The Guadalupe Mtns. Park preserves some of the finest reef fossils on earth. Thousands of species thrive in the harsh mountains and have adapted to the extreme climate. The park has a mild desert climate that is suitable for a variety of family and outdoor activities. There are numerous hiking and walking trails, camping, backpacking, wildlife viewing and horseback riding trails. The wildlife is abundant as mule deer, elk, jackrabbits, and an occasional mountain lion may be seen. Javalinas and black bear also live in the Guadalupe Mountains. Bypassers on the road often overlook the park; they may be missing out on one of the best-kept secrets of West Texas.
Both national parks in Texas offer great family outings and school outings. There are small fees for entrance into the parks and most of the roads are paved. The parks also provide running water and public restrooms.
East Texas is where one will find the Texas National Forests. The Texas National Forests the Angelina, Sabine, Davy Crockett and Sam Houston National forests. This is the "Piney Woods" area of East Texas. The U.S. Forest Service maintains these forests. These forests offer timber, water, forage, wildlife and recreation. Primitive camping is allowed in marked areas. There is no water, sewer or electrical hook-ups and no wheeled vehicles are allowed in the wooded wildlife areas. Hunting and fishing is allowed in some areas to licensed people.