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Guadalupe Back Country Byway
Scenic Drives > Guadalupe Back Country Byway (NM) 
The beginning of the byway is located 12 miles north of Carlsbad, New Mexico.
Over the course of 30 miles, the Guadalupe Back Country Byway leads visitors from the cholla cacti and creosote bushes of the Chihuahuan Desert to the pines of the Guadalupe Mountains Escarpment. Travelers can see mule deer, pronghorn antelope, gray foxes, scaled quail, mourning doves, a variety of songbirds, and small mammals. The plains give way to steep limestone outcrops cut by dry arroyos and containing hundreds of wild caves. With significant petroleum reserves, this area has an interesting history of oil and gas development.
From Carlsbad, take U.S. Highway 285 north about 12 miles and turn west on State Highway 137. There are signs on U.S. Highway 285 directing visitors to the byway, and the byway itself has signs marking the route.
Visitor Activities
Hiking, wildlife viewing, big-game and bird hunting, birdwatching, geologic sightseeing, historic site, plant viewing, scenic drives, interpretation, and caving.
Special Features
Geologically, the byway is situated along the Capitan Reef complex, which marks one edge of the Permian Basin. The byway highlights the local petroleum industry, the geology of the ancient reef, and the area’s caves through a series of roadside kiosks.
Permits, Fees, Limitations
A BLM permit is required for caving.
The byway is a paved state highway with several accessible gravel pullouts.
Camping and Lodging
Developed camping and lodging are available 12 miles south in Carlsbad, and 20 miles north on U.S. Highway 285 in Artesia. Approximately 27 miles past the byway is the Dog Canyon Campground in Guadalupe National Park. Primitive camping is permitted on both BLM and national forest lands along the byway.
Food and Supplies
Food and supplies are available in Carlsbad and Artesia.
First Aid
Emergency services are available at Carlsbad Medical Center in Carlsbad.
Additional Information
The byway is open all year, but spring and fall wildflower seasons may be the best time to visit. Gasoline and vehicle services are very limited; visitors should be prepared. Carlsbad Caverns and Lechuguilla Cave are located in nearby Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
Contact Information
BLM - Carlsbad Field Office
620 East Greene
Carlsbad, NM 88220
Tel: (505) 234-5972              

Guadalupe Back Country Byway Map

Guadalupe Trail Kiosk

Along the Guadalupe Back Country Byway, a visitor stops at a roadside kiosk that highlights both the geology and local petroleum industry of the area. (Bill Stoughton, Reno, Nevada (used with permission))

Last updated: 10-23-2009