The Devil’s Hall Trail is one of the best hikes to do in Guadalupe Mountains National Park. It’s also one of the most unique.
For a good portion of this hike, you will be walking through a wash. On this part of the trail, you rock scramble up and over boulders of all sizes. For those who like rock scrambling, this hike is lots of fun. But if you prefer to hike “hands free,” you may find this part of the hike tiresome or even irritating.
The trail ends at Devil’s Hall, a narrow canyon made of layered rocks.
If you are visiting Guadalupe Mountains National Park with adventurous kids, they will love this hike. And if you are looking for a short but sweet hike to do, without climbing to the highest mountain peaks, this hike gets our vote.
Here’s how to do it.
Devil’s Hall Hiking Stats
Distance: 3.75 miles
Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous
Total Ascent: 800 feet
Lowest Elevation: 5,850 feet
Highest Elevation: 6,400 feet
Time: 2 to 4 hours
ABOUT THE DIFFICULTY OF THIS HIKE: The difficulty varies based on conditions along the trail. If the wash is dry and you have experience rock scrambling, this trail is of moderate difficulty and takes most people about 2 hours. However, if the wash is wet, this hike becomes much more difficult and longer to hike. Rainy conditions are more likely to occur in the late-summer and the National Park Service urges people to not do this hike in wet or rainy conditions.
This elevation profile makes it look like you are climbing a mountain, but the difference between the starting point at the trailhead and Devils Hall is only about 500 feet. It is a gradual uphill walk to get to Devil’s Hall and not as strenuous as it looks on this graph.
Please practice the seven principles of Leave No Trace: plan ahead, stay on the trail, pack out what you bring to the hiking trail, properly dispose of waste, leave areas as you found them, minimize campfire impacts, be considerate of other hikers, and do not approach or feed wildlife.
How to Hike the Devil’s Hall Trail
The hike to Devil’s Hall starts at the Pine Springs Trailhead.
The best place to park is at the parking lot right next to the Pine Springs Trailhead. The trick is getting a parking space here because the parking lot fills up early. We were able to get one of the last spots at 7:30 am.
Once this parking lot fills up, the next closest place to park is next to the Pine Springs Visitor Center. From here, it is a flat, 0.4 mile walk one-way to get to the trailhead.
If the visitor center parking lot fills up, the third overflow parking lot much farther away, on Highway 62. From here, it is a 0.8-mile walk to the trailhead, which adds almost 2 miles onto the hiking stats above.
There are restrooms next to the Pine Springs Trailhead.
Devil’s Hall Trail parking map
On the Devil’s Hall Trail
The trailhead is located on the northwest corner of the Pine Springs parking lot. Less than a tenth of a mile into the hike you reach a trail junction. Turn right to hike the Devil’s Hall Trail.
For the first mile, the trail is a narrow dirt trail. It gradually heads uphill, as you head into the canyon, but it is nothing too strenuous.
At around the 1-mile point, the trail enters the wash. This is where the hike gets to be a lot more interesting, and a lot more fun if you like rock scrambling.
The terrain here is very uneven, since you are now walking on a riverbed covered with rocks of all sizes. Most of the year the wash is dry, but if it is wet, hiking this part of the trail becomes much more challenging. If rain is in the forecast, skip this hike, because it can be dangerous to be in the wash if flash floods occur.
For roughly 0.75 miles, the trail is located in this wash. Periodically, the piles of boulders will be large enough that you will have to do some rock scrambling to get past them. This gets to be tiring, especially the farther you go. There is no defined trail through the wash…you simply pick what you think is the best path through the stacks of boulders.
Devil’s Hall Trail
Near the end of the trail, you reach the first “hall.” This small canyon has layered rocks on both sides. It looks a lot like Devil’s Hall and it’s easy to mistake this canyon for the “true” Devil’s Hall (that’s still farther up the trail).
There are two ways to get up this obstacle. You can either climb right up the middle, using the layers as a staircase. Or you can climb up the left side of the wall and rock scramble along the side of it. This way is more challenging but this is what we did.
Walk around the small pool of water, climb up the second, smaller staircase, and continue to walk up the wash.
Beyond the first hall, it is about a five-minute walk to get to Devil’s Hall. Now you are walking alongside a tall canyon wall and will have a few more sections of rock scrambling before you get to the end of the trail.
The trail ends at Devil’s Hall.
To finish the hike, retrace your steps back to the Pine Springs parking lot.
Adding on Guadalupe Peak
Guadalupe Peak is a very popular hike in Guadalupe Mountains National Park. If you are very fit, it is possible to combine Guadalupe Peak and Devil’s Hall into one big day hike.
Distance: 11.25 miles round trip
Total Ascent: 3,450 feet
Lowest Elevation: 5,850 feet
Highest Elevation (Guadalupe Peak): 8,751 feet
Time: 6 to 10 hours
Guadalupe Peak and Devil’s Hall Elevation Profile
Hike to Guadalupe Peak first. This is the toughest of the two hikes and on your way back down, you can decide if you still have the energy to hike the Devil’s Hall Trail.
To get to Devil’s Hall, as you hike back to the trailhead, keep a lookout for the trail junction with the sign that reads “no stock beyond this point.” Take this trail to the left. This stock trail heads downhill for 0.75 miles, joining up with the Devils Hall Trail. Basically, it’s a shortcut, so you don’t have to walk to the Pine Springs Trailhead and then start the Devil’s Hall Trail.
Once you reach the Devil’s Hall Trail, continue it to the end (about 1 mile). Then, to finish this hike, walk the Devil’s Hall Trail back to the Pine Springs trailhead.
We did this and it is exhausting. The rock scrambling on the Devil’s Hall Trail is relatively easy, but by the time we got to this point, both Tim and I were tired. The rocks are slippery and it takes some concentration to watch where you are putting your feet. It’s easy to slip and fall even if you aren’t tired…after Guadalupe Peak, this becomes even more challenging.
I only recommend combining Devil’s Hall and Guadalupe Peak if you are a very fit hiker.
Tips to Have the Best Experience
Start the hike early, ideally by 7:30 am (but even earlier is better). By starting early, you can get one of the parking spaces in the trailhead parking lot. You will also get ahead of the crowds and hike in the cooler part of the day.
Cellular Service. We did not have cellular service on the Devils Hall Trail.
Get updates on road conditions and trail closures, as you plan your trip and just before your visit, on the National Park Service website.
What to Bring on the Hike
- Hiking Shoes
- Water: 2 liters per person, more if you are doing this hike in the summer or will be adding on Guadalupe Peak.
- Snacks and/or lunch
- Camera or smartphone
If you are new to hiking or are curious about what you should bring on a hike, check out our Hiking Gear Guide. Find out what we carry in our day packs and what we wear on the trails.
If you have any questions about how to hike the Devil’s Hall Trail, or if you want to share your experience, let us know in the comment section below.
More Information for Your Trip to Texas & New Mexico:
MORE HIKES IN GUADALUPE MOUNTAINS: Learn how to hike to the “Top of Texas” our guide to Guadalupe Peak. The Permian Reef Trail is one of the most underrated hikes in the park. We also have detailed guide on how to hike the McKittrick Canyon Trail to Pratt Cabin, the Grotto, and the Notch.
BEST OF GUADALUPE MOUNTAINS: Read our article Best Things to Do in Guadalupe Mountains National Park for a full list of things to do, plus important information and helpful tips to plan your visit here.
CARLSBAD CAVERNS NATIONAL PARK: Carlsbad Caverns sits right beside Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Learn how to plan your visit in our article Best Things to Do in Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK: Check out our Big Bend National Park Travel Guide for important travel information, sample itineraries, and how to plan your visit. Don’t miss our article Best Things to Do in Big Bend for great things to do in the park.
WHITE SANDS NATIONAL PARK: If your visit to Guadalupe Mountains National Park is part of a bigger road, White Sands National Park is a great place to add on to your itinerary.
NATIONAL PARKS: In our Guide to the US National Parks, get the full list of national parks with important travel planning information, such as things to do in the parks and sample itineraries.
If this is part of a bigger road trip through the USA, visit our United States Travel Guide for more inspiration and travel planning tips.
All rights reserved © Earth Trekkers. Republishing this article and/or any of its contents (text, photography, etc.), in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited.