The Guadalupe Mountains can be found between El Paso, Texas and Carlsbad, New Mexico. The Guadalupe Mountains were once inhabited by Native American tribes 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 next inhabitants of the Guadalupe Mountains were the Buffalo Soldiers of the U.S. Army. They the 9th and 10th Calvary units of the Army at the end of the Civil War and sent to do the jobs that were not as desirable as they were African American men. The Cheyenne Indians called the Calvary the "Buffalo Soldiers" because of their dark skin and curly hair. Aside from fighting with the local Indian tribes, the Buffalo Soldiers were responsible for mapping the area. Because of the remoteness of the mountains it was often difficult to get food, water and supplies to the Buffalo Soldiers.
The next stage of settlement in the mountains was from the Butterfield Stage Coach. In 1858, the westbound Butterfield Overland Mail Coach entered Pine Spring in the Guadalupe Pass. The stop was a favorite as the eastbound coach from San Francisco and the westbound coach from St. Louis would meet and the men could have dinner and conversation together. The Butterfield ran semi-weekly runs that covered 2,800 miles in 25 days. The Butterfield held the contract for two and a half years.
The Mescalero Apaches had mostly been driven out of the Guadalupe Mountains. As settlers moved west, they began attempting to farm the mountains. Out of many failures, two ranches remained to farm and work the mountains- the Frijole Ranch and the Williams Ranch. The Frijole Ranch house still exists today. It was used as a ranger residence from 1969 to 1980. The Frijole Ranch buildings were renovated by the Guadalupe Mtns. Park service and the staff has used it as an operations house. Today, the Frijole Ranch house is used as a public history museum. The Williams Ranch provides a panoramic view from the porch. The ranch ran several longhorn cows along with sheep, goats and animals that better suited the environment. The ranch was later sold to the Guadalupe Mtns. Park service.
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 are 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.