El Capitan, Guadalupe Mountains National Park

4.6
#4 of 6 in Nature in Guadalupe Mountains National Park
El Capitan is a peak in Culberson County, Texas, located within Guadalupe Mountains National Park. The 10th highest peak in Texas at 8,085 ft (2464 m), El Capitan is part of the Guadalupe Mountains, an exposed portion of a Permian-era reef uplifted and exposed by tectonic activity during the late Cretaceous period. The southern terminus of the Guadalupe Mountains, El Capitan looms over U.S. 62/180, where its imposing height and stark outline have made it one of the iconic images of the Trans-Pecos to generations of travelers.
El Capitan is the southern-most peak of the Guadalupe escarpment, an ancient limestone reef that forms the present-day Guadalupe Mountains. These mountains are an exposed portion of the Capitan Reef Barrier, a 350-mile long reef constructed primarily from calcareous sponges, encrusting algae, such as stromatolites, and lime-rich mud directly from the ocean. This reef surrounded much of the Delaware Sea, an inland ocean that covered parts of modern southern New Mexico and Trans-Pecos Texas in the Permian Era (approx. 290 million years ago). Near the end of the upper Permian era, in the Ochoan epoch, the outlet that allowed sea water to enter the inland waters began to silt over, occasionally closing the inland sea from its source. Mineral-rich and cut off from replenishment, the inland sea began to evaporate into layers of alternating gray anhydrite/gypsum, brown calcite, and halite, which formed the Castile Formation. As salt concentrations increased, laminated halite, anhydrite, sylvite, and polyhalite formed the Salado Formation, which eventually covered and grew beyond the lower Castile Formation.
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El Capitan Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
36 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • Need a good comfortable clothes, shoes and a little physical training. Water, food. Also recommend the car to fill a full tank. be sure to take a camera and tripod, that would make beautiful pictures.
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  • Went to view the meteor shower but there is just too much haze from the California wildfires and clouds. Spectacular red Sunset.  more »
Google
  • Beautiful place to sight see
  • Didn't expect to drive past it for work but what a view. Would love to go back and hike it.

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