Lincoln National Forest
Guadalupe Ranger District is rugged and contains many limestone caves and deep, rough canyons. This area of quiet isolation is the perfect place for seekers of solitude or people who wish to "get away from it all." With the exception of a small convenience store/cafe/RV campground in Queens, all other modern day conveniences disappear. Wildlife and plant life are diverse and abundant. Turkey, deer, elk and a variety of bird life are present. Other animals include coyotes, mountain lions, raccoons, squirrels, bobcats, skunks, badgers, and porcupines. Fishing is nonexistent in the District, but is available in the Pecos River near Carlsbad.
The Guadalupe Mountains, ranging in elevation from 3,500 to 7,500 feet, are the exposed portions of the Capitan barrier reef. The northern part of the mesa is rolling terrain with many canyons generally running to the east. Pinyon and juniper are the predominate trees, with grasses, brush, and cacti. The southern portion of the Guadalupes consists of deep canyons and sheer cliffs. Vegetation is pinyon, juniper, oak, pine, fir, and Texas madrone trees, with ground cover of grasses and cacti.
The Rim Road (FR 540) is a maintained gravel road along the southern part of the District with spectacular views of Dog Canyon and the Brokeoff Mountains. Many trails wind throughout the southern portion of the District. Several lead to nearby Carlsbad Caverns and Guadalupe Mountains National Park.
All caves in the District require permits for entry. Due to limited access, permits are issued on a first-come, first-served basis. The front part of Cottonwood Cave requires a cave entry permit, while the lower portion is accessible by guided tour only. Permits take a minimum of two weeks to obtain. To apply for a cave entry permit, contact the Guadalupe Ranger District Office in Carlsbad.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication