Pratt Cabin is located inside Guadalupe Mountain National Park off of the McKittrick Canyon Trail tucked away in a forest of trees.
The hike to Pratt Cabin is about 2.5 miles (5 miles roundtrip) and is considered a moderate hike. Although, if you had witnessed me hiking to the cabin this past July, you would have thought it was a strenuous, “I am going to die right now” type of hike.
We got up around 5 am (this was pretty normal camping out there). It was impossible to sleep in. After breakfast, we started making our way to McKittrick Canyon with a short stop along the way at Frijole Ranch.
We reached the canyon later than we wanted (about 10 am) and the sun was already blaring down and scorching hot! Most of the hike is unshaded and alongside a dried-up creek bed. You have no idea how I wished there was water in that creek bed! A trekking umbrella would have come in very useful.
We hadn’t made it even 1/4 mile in before I had to take a break. Jerry, of course, was confused by my behavior. I mean, after all, I am the one known to hike 15 miles just for the fun of it. In my defense, I had started smoking again a couple of months before, so needless to say my lung capacity sucked (no worries I stopped smoking again). The elevation was also doing me in! Not to mention the heat and sun.
Speaking of elevation, if you are not used to being that high up, you will find that hiking or even just walking, takes a lot out of you! I definitely was not prepared for that!
So after stopping a billion times, we finally made it to Pratt Cabin, and what a beautiful site it was. I’m not just saying that because they had a picnic table and benches to sit down on underneath massive tree cover either!
We sat down to eat and relax a bit before heading back. It’s then I realized I should have packed more than just beef jerky because a peanut butter and jelly sandwich sounded amazing right about then!
After about 45 minutes of rest, we headed back. Oddly enough, I didn’t have to stop as much and my pace was much faster. It probably was due to the fact that I wanted a cigarette. When I hike I never take my cigarettes with me.
Overall, the hike was amazing and beautiful. We even found where a spring came up through the creek bed and filled it with water before going underground again.
It took us about 3.5 hours (that includes our lunch break) roundtrip. The trail is level, but rocky.
Pratt Cabin Trail Info
Trail Length: 4.8 miles roundtrip / 2-3 hours round trip (add in extra time to explore and eat lunch)
Description: Moderate. Mostly level, but rocky.
Trailhead: McKittrick Canyon
Advice: Take LOTS of water, especially during the summer months. It gets hot fast! Also, pack a lunch, you will enjoy eating at the picnic table at Pratt Cabin surrounded by trees and the mountains!
Pratt Cabin Fun Facts
Pratt Cabin is named after Wallace Pratt a geologist that was hired by Humble Oil & Refining Company. He originally came to Pecos on a business trip with the oil company. While waiting to talk to the landowners he was talked into what the Pecos attorney Judge Drane called “the most beautiful spot in Texas”. On the return trip, he was informed that the McCombs Ranch was for sale. Pratt purchased a 1/4 of it for a summer vacation home. In 1929 he bought out his partners and by 1930, he owned a major portion of the canyon. (source National Park Service)
In the ’20s & ’30s (and before) the canyon’s creek bed was a free-flowing stream running the length of the canyon with mini waterfalls. The dams that were created with travertine deposits were washed away during the floods of 1943 & 1968. Once the dams were destroyed, most of the stream went underground. What’s left now is mostly dry creek beds.
The cabin is made of stone & wood.
Pratt referred to his cabin as The Stone Cabin.