Mescalero Apache Campsite in Guadalupe Mountains National Park

24 Jun 2014
Posted on Tuesday, June 24 2014 By Anthony Whitt | 0 Comments

The early settlers in Dog Canyon named this field "Indian Meadows" after finding the meadow to be the well-used campsite of Mescalero Apache. Dog Canyon is located in the remote northern corner of Guadalupe Mountains National Park and is served by a small campground for tents. There is also parking for a limited number of recreational vehicles with no hookups or dump station. The site is basically a trail-head for several trails that branch out into the mountainous wilderness that makes up the park. This is a secluded region perfect for birding, hiking, horseback riding and good old solitude.

Indian Meadow is looped by a .6 mile nature trail winding through the lush grassland below towering bluffs. Be aware that the mountains of the park are considered a wilderness area full of everything the word implies. There is only one paved access road to the campground and trails carry visitors past the parking lot. On my last visit, there was a Ranger confirmed lion kill of a deer just off the Indian Meadow loop trail. This kill was only a short distance outside the primitive campground for tents. Another lion kill was located a quarter mile away on the other side of the camp. I found and photographed the abandoned lion kill on the nature trail, but avoided the second kill site since it was difficult and dangerous to locate deep in the forest.

While hiking the local trails, I found three separate cougar tracks on the same path I was following. These tracks made for interesting photographs, but raised the hair on the back of my neck. I never saw one of the cats, but the Ranger assured me that they saw me at some point in the hike. Their presence adds a degree of danger on the trail that heightens the awareness required to enjoy the freedom wilderness offers.