Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Location: western Texas
Length of visit: 3 hours
Major draws: Scenic views, hiking
Strenuosity: 4 out of 10
Cost/Fees: Free
Additional considerations: Park will probably be on fire in summer
Description: Even when all trails are closed due to wildfire, you can still drive out to Salt Basin Dunes to walk 3-miles on the bright white gypsum sand dunes with great views of the western escarpment of the Guadalupe Mountains.

Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument

Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument
Location: north of Amarillo, Texas
Length of visit: 3 hours
Major draws: Flint knapping demonstrations, scenic views, museum with great 10-minute film
Strenuosity: 3 out of 10
Cost/Fees: Free
Additional considerations: No shade
Description: Be sure to take the quarry tour offered twice daily for a chance to see where humans have been making flint tools for 12,000 years. The rangers here are proud of their little park and they’ll be happy to let you take rock samples home from knapping demonstrations (the flint is not from within park boundaries).