The most popular and certainly best hike of the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, the Devil’s Hall Hike takes visitors through several different environments and through a gorgeous steep canyon area (called Devil’s hall). There’s rock scrambling, hiking, soaring cliffs, desert plants, and old wash, what’s not to like?
This was by far our favorite hike of the entire park. If you only have time for one hike, make it this one.
About the Hike
Distance: 3.8 miles | Type: Out & Back | Avg. Time: 2 hours | Difficulty: Moderate
The Devil’s hall hike is a moderate to strenuous hike in the Pine Springs area of Guadalupe Mountains National Park. I would characterize the vast majority of the hike as moderate with a few spots that can be a bit tricky or difficult. There is rock scrambling required within the hike, and climbing of a rock wall which can be difficult.
We recommend caution at the area of the “hall” there’s certainly some areas where caution is required and injury is a high possibility. In particular in the area that required climbing up a steep “rock wall”. This is however, also the most beautiful and best part of the hike as well.
The hike takes folks through the desert landscape, along a rocky well worn path, through a wash, along areas of rock scrambles, and through a narrow high rock wall area which give the hike it’s name. The trail is mostly well marked with a few areas that require caution to not lose the path.
Devil’s Hall Trailhead and Parking
The Devil’s Hall Trailhead is in the Pine Springs area of the hike. This is also the area where the main visitor center is.
The best area to park for the is near the campground (show in red) which has a parking lot for access to the Pine Springs Trails. The Devil’s hall trail starts at the same location where the Guadalupe Peak trail starts as well. There’s a trailhead sign here next to the parking lot, far side of the parking lot from the bathrooms.
If parking is full at the campground area. You’ll need to park in the Visitor Center Parking Lot (show in Blue above). There’s a trail from the parking lot to the campground. This adds nearly a mile (round trip) to your hike.
Best Time to Do the Devil’s Hall Hike
The Devil’s Hall hike is open year round and accessible year round as well.
In my opinion fall is the best time to do the Devil’s Hall hike. You’ll get generally mild weather and if you are lucky some really beautiful fall colors.
Winters can be cold in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, however winters in the park are quite mild and actually a pretty good time of year for hiking this trail.
Rain is one of the most treacherous times for the hike. You’ll find rain most likely in seasons other than summer, and you don’t want to do the hike in the rain or directly after. The rocks after the mid-point of the hike can be incredibly treacherous when wet.
Summer has it’s own difficulties though. The park can be very hot in the summer. You’ll want to avoid hiking mid-day during the summer.
Completing the Hike
The Hike starts out as a combination of trails between the few that start at this trailhead.
About a 1/10th of a mile in you’ll see the trail’s split. Follow the trail to the right on the Devil’s Hall Trail. You’ll see a sign for the various trails. The Guadalupe Peak trail goes to the left if that’s your plan. If you want to do both at the same time, do that one first as it’s by far the harder trail.
About a half mile into the hike you’ll see this rock on the right. It’s not anything too significant. But in case you feel like you’ve gotten off the trail some.
Overall the trail follows through the desert brush landscape of the park. During our time here it was lovely with the fall colors in the area. The trees were starting to change and shockingly there was more color here than in other parts of the park.
About 1 mile in, the trail turns to the left. Just be sure to look and see the move here. Otherwise you could possibly keep going down the rocks. You’ll feel like the trail falls off a bit, but it took us a minute to reorient and find the trail.
About 1.1 miles into the hike you’ll see the entrance to the wash. A wash is a seasonal dry riverbed. During certain seasons this area can be flooded. So it’s really important to pay attention to the weather here. You don’t want to be hiking this in the rain or even close after one. Flashfloods are a risk, and many of the areas get dangerously slick when wet.
At this point the hike also gets more rocky. You’ll see more boulders on the trail and have to climb over and around these rocks. Be careful! Not everything is secure and there’s definitely risk of falling or twisting an ankle. I know I almost hurt myself a few times.
About 1.3 miles you’ll see this wall of rocks. I love the change in the trail look at this point. You know you are now getting closer to the wall and the devil’s hall.
About 1.6 miles into the hike you get to the toughest challenge of the hike. This is the wall you need to climb to enter the area for the hall. I almost gave up here, it’s not an easy climb and it definitely feels a bit sketch.
You can do it multiple ways. You can either climb up the wall, or climb along the edge on the left. When I was planning to go here, a ranger told me to “stay left”. Saying it was easier. So that’s my recommendation as well. The rocks in the center and on the right are smoother and more worn from the water.
Overall though it’s still tough, especially if you have big feet. Going around the side might be easier as well too. There are handholds along the ledge on the left too.
From here though don’t stop. Keep going further into the hike. You are not yet at the hall. You’ll have to walk over some slick rocks however at this point.
About 1.7 miles total into the hike you’ll enter the hall. The Hall area is beautiful and really cool, although pretty small. It’s not the biggest payoffs for hikes, but the hike in general is just so great. I loved the wall and the slick rocks. So it was still worth getting to the end.
From here the trail goes on a bit further. You exit the hall and can keep walking to another rock face. There’s a sign that signifies the end of the trail. However, it seems you can continue on as long as you are not here from April – August when it is closed. We did not continue however.
At this point you can turn around whenever after the hall. There’s nothing significant more to see at that point.
Tips & FAQs
- One of the most popular hikes. It’s best done early or later in the day to avoid the crowds.
- Avoid hiking in the rain or soon after a rain. Flashfloods are a risk as well as risk of injury on very slick rock areas.
- Stick to the left at the wall. Check up on which wall above, but you’ll know it when you see it. You can do any side, but it’ll be easier on the left.
- Wear good shoes. There’s a lot of boulder and scrambling and slick rocks. You’ll want good footwear
- Download a Trailmap. There’s a few spots that are easy to get lost. Even on the way back we missed the return to the trail from the wash.
- Bring water, snacks, and sunblock. Especially if you are hiking anytime there’s decent sun. You’ll need water and snacks for sure, and there’s a lot of areas without good cover.