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Hike Smith Spring Trail (Manzanita Spring), Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas

Smith Spring Trail in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas is a moderate 2.3 roundtrip loop hike that should take about 2 hours. Take a break at Smith Spring and enjoy the gurgling sounds of the tiny waterfall before continuing around to sunny Manzanita Spring. Look for birds, mule deer, and elk along the trail. Ground water "springs" to the surface along this southeast base of the Guadalupe Mountains. The waters of Smith Springs and of Manzanita Springs below arise from an underground reservoir of permeable sandstone, a rock layer deposited in the Permian Sea. This spring water begins in the higher elevations northwest of you, where rainfall is greater. The water then percolates down through a complex system of joints in the limestone and sandstone layers which form this 280 million year old fossil reef. Springs have historically been the center of life and deaf events. They were vital to the survival of the earliest inhabitants and the focus of a variety of activities: Indian camps, covered wagon and stagecoach routes, military forts, ranches, power for mills, medicinal spas, electric generating plants and recreation. No wonder battles were fought for their possession! This spring supplied the needs of Mescalero Apache, U.S. Cavalry, and ranches operating at Frijole below. Today, these pure ground water resources provide the only source of water for this area's wildlife populations such as mule deer, elk, coyote, mountain lion, ringtail cat, raccoon, porcupine and countless of bird species.
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