From the visitor center, drive 1/2 mile to Pine Springs Campground. The signed trailhead is on the west side of the large parking lot near the RV sites. The trailhead sign is very large with an information booth.
The trail begins at the signed trailhead (5730 ft) on the west side of the parking lot. The trail forks a short distance after the trailhead. Go left at the fork. After another 100 ft or so, the trail forks again. Take the middle fork and begin climbing hard and switchbacking up through the forest. At a mile, the trail forks again...stay left. After three miles you will come to the Guadalupe Peak campsites trail on the right. Continue on the main trail to a footbridge. After the footbridge, the trail circles around the south side of the mountain, finishing the climb from the west side. There is a metal pyramid and ammo can (summit register) at the top. Round-trip: 8.5 miles and 3019 ft of elevation gain.
Bring plenty of water in summer. Water is available at the trailhead.
If climbing in winter, consider instep crampons or similar traction device for your boots. Ice is common on the trail on the north-facing shaded sides of the mountain. Check with rangers in winter for previous weather conditions, i.e. rain, snow, etc. which may have contributed to ice.
Guidebook: Hiking Texas (Falcon Guide) by Laurence Parent
1/24 Quad: Guadalupe Peak
Trails Illustrated Guadalupe Peak National Park