National Park Service

Chihuahuan Desert Network (CHDN)

I&M at Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
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CHDN park map
Location of Guadalupe Mountains National Park in the Chihuahuan Desert Network. Click for larger image.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park (NP) is found within the Guadalupe Mountains, a limestone mountain range recognized as the best-preserved Permian-aged fossil reef in the world. The ocean fossils here reveal a detailed picture of life along a coastline of a shallow inland sea, some 240 to 280 million years ago. These fossils show that the “Capitan Reef” was built mostly of sponges and algae–not by coral, like many of today's reefs. Other marine fossils found here include ammonites, crinoids, snails, nautiloids, bivalves, brachiopods, and the occasional trilobite. In addition to desert and mountain ecosystems, Guadalupe Mountains NP stewards McKittrick Creek, a perennial stream surrounded by a large, lush riparian area, and the world's third largest gypsum sand field.

The complexity of the geography allows unique life zones to shelter a great number of plants and animals. One thousand sixteen plant species from 99 families, 3 species of fish, 55 species of reptiles and amphibians, 70 species of mammals, and 265 species of birds can be found in Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

CHDN monitors air quality, climate, invasive plants, landbirds, landscape dynamics, spring ecosystems, and uplands vegetation and soils at Guadalupe Mountains NP.

Life Zone

The elevation at Guadalupe Mountains NP ranges from approximately 1,204 m (3,624 ft) on the alkali flats to 2,584 m (8,749 ft) atop Guadalupe Peak, which is the highest point in Texas. All four life zones are encompassed by the park: desert and semi-desert grasslands, desert scrub and woodlands, montane chaparral and montane woodlands. On average, annual precipitation is about 37 cm (14.5 in).

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Last Updated: March 21, 2017 Contact Webmaster