Sunday, January 08, 2012

Williams Ranch Road in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, on the historic Butterfield Overland Mail Stage Route

1908 Williams Ranch house, center of a cattle operation in what is now Guadalupe Mountains National Park

The road to the ranch is marked as the original route of the 1859 Butterfield Overland Mail stagecoach route
The western section of Guadalupe Mountains National Park isn't visited as frequently as the eastern section, but it does not lack in charm nor adventure potential.  Williams Ranch road is restricted (you need to get a key from the rangers at Pine Springs Visitor Center) and limited to two vehicles at a time.  A rolicking 4x4 road, it also provides a good mountain biking adventure.

Sections of the road are part of the original route of the first transcontinental mail delivery by stagecoach, the coaches rumbled over wild terrain carrying cargo, people and mail.  The historic meeting of the first eastern-bound and western-bound stages met near this spot in 1859.  Read more about the Butterfield route in the park.

At the end of the road, is the 1908 wooden frame ranch house, built as the center of a ranching operation.  You can sit on the porch and ponder life in that era.  Click here to read the history of Williams Ranch.

Once you get to the house, there are several options for hiking...up the boulders towards the mountains via Bone Canyon, or on a trail a little north, to Shumard Canyon and connecting to the El Capitan Trail.

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