Hike Name: Devil’s Hall
Area: Pine Springs
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Distance: 4.2 miles round trip
Time Needed: 2-4 hours
Elevation Start: 5830 feet
Elevation Gain: 600 feet
Best Time to Hike: Fall through spring, or summer early mornings
If you’re only going to do one hike in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, make it Devil’s Hall.
It’s not too long, it’s right by the main park visitor center, it doesn’t have an excessive amount of elevation gain, and it includes two of the park’s best natural features.
One of those features is a natural staircase that formed millions of years go when the area was underwater. The other is a narrow canyon called Devil’s Hall, which gives the trail its name.
I love doing this hike and recommend it as the best hike in Guadalupe Mountains National Park for casual tourists.
Hiking the Devil’s Hall Trail
This trail begins at the Pine Springs Trailhead, right near the Pine Springs Visitor Center. There’s a good-sized parking lot here, though it can fill during the peak seasons of spring and fall.
Trail Length and Difficulty
The trail to Devil’s Hall is only 2 miles each way, and it only has 600 feet of elevation gain. Anyone in good shape can do this hike. I’ve seen lots of kids on this trail with their parents.
Still, the trail rates as Moderate instead of Easy, because much of the trail involves walking over large rocks like this:
Wear hiking boots with ankle protection, and/or watch your step in these rocky sections to avoid twisting an ankle.
There’s also that natural staircase section, which requires some deft stepping to get yourself across and up the other side.
Because of the challenging terrain, you can expect to take more than 2 hours to complete the 4-mile trek.
Best Time to Hike
This trail can be hiked any time of year, though if you come during summer, you’ll want to go as early as possible, before the searing afternoon heat sets in.
Trail Description and Highlights
This trail starts by winding through a section of trees. The shade is nice, because a lot of other Guadalupe Mountains NP hikes are 100% in the sun.
It’s great that the Devil’s Hall Trail provides a little bit of shade in various sections of the walk. That’s another reason this is an ideal hike!
The hike reveals multiple types of cactus along the way. I heard some birds chirping in the trees, which was cool, though I wasn’t able to identify them.
The trail runs parallel to a wash for part of the hike, and then the trail dips into the wash itself for awhile. This is where the rocks get bigger and the steps get more difficult.
It’s also where the shade cover starts to go away, and you’ll face more direct sunlight. The views are nice, as you’ll be looking up at mountain walls on both sides.
Soon enough, you’ll reach the natural staircase. It’s a great spot for pics. There are a few ways to navigate this section. Some folks skip the steps entirely and walk up the steep hillside above them.
The easiest way to get through is to walk horizontally across the flattest and widest step from left to right. Then walk up the remaining steps on the right and you’ll be across.
After that, Devil’s Hall itself is just a short walk. Devil’s Hall is not as narrow as its menacing name implies.
You’ll have lots of space to walk around, take cool canyon photos, and ponder what it must have been like to swim through this canyon back when these mountains were underwater.
The trail continues briefly after Devil’s Hall, but then ends, so you’ll need to turn around and head back to the start from that point.
Important Things To Know
As with all park hikes, bring a lot of water and prepare for the heat and sun.
Devil’s Hall is the best hike for solo travelers in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, since you’ll encounter plenty of other people on the trail. Just let someone know where you’re going.
Come early in the day to avoid crowds and get a parking spot during peak season (spring and fall.)