7 Ways El Paso is the Best Place for Road Trippers
7 Ways El Paso is the Best Place for Road Trippers

Nestled among the magnificent Franklin Mountains in the farthest western reaches of the Lone Star State, El Paso is the ultimate destination for roadtrippers. You can do it all from the Sun City of Texas, from exploring the dunes of White Sands National Park and the trails of Big Bend to world-class bouldering and high-octane off-roading. Located less than a day trip away from the best the Southwest has to offer, El Paso is a fantastic place to start your next adventure. Discover some of the once-in-a-lifetime, bucket-list-worthy experiences you can have when you visit below.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Texas’ Highest Peak is Nearby
Set 8,751 feet above sea level, Guadalupe Peak is much more than the Lone Star State’s highest point. Located in Guadalupe Mountains National Park less than two hours east of El Paso, the peak is the destination for one of the state’s most epic hikes. Follow the Guadalupe Peak Trail and you’ll ascend about 3,000 feet for more than eight miles round trip, a journey that will likely take you up to eight hours. Along the way, you’ll pass pine and fir trees as you meander through breathtaking high desert terrain. Reach the peak and you’ll be rewarded with a spectacular view of miles of the surrounding desert and mountains, a vista that can’t be beat.

As amazing as the Guadalupe Peak Trail is, it’s just one of many hiking trails in Guadalupe Mountains National Park. There are more than 80 miles of paths, each taking you through canyons, rocky washes, and along a spring through the park’s abundance of environments. If you visit during the fall, make sure to explore the McKittrick Canyon Trail, where you’ll see a remarkable display of autumn colors. The park is also a great place to go camping, which is the best way to take in the dramatic sunsets and starry night skies of far West Texas.

Big Bend National Park

El Paso is the Ideal Starting Point to Explore the Big Bend Region
Set just four hours west of Big Bend National Park and home to the largest airport in the region, El Paso is the best place to start your next adventure to the Big Bend region. Your journey out to the most remote part of Texas takes you through one-of-a-kind towns like Valentine, Marfa, and Alpine, and you can even take a detour through the high mountains to Fort Davis.

Once you arrive, you’ll find yourself among the Lone Star State’s most spectacular landscapes, from its rugged canyons and mountains to its cactus-filled valleys. Together, Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park have more than 1.12 million square miles of countless hiking trails and scenic driving routes. After you’ve paddled the Rio Grande River or played a round on one of the state’s best golf courses at Lajitas Golf Resort, kick back and watch as the darkening night sky is filled with a multitude of luminous stars.

There’s a world of adventure to be found in the Big Bend region, and El Paso is a fantastic starting point to cross it off your bucket list.

White Sands National Park

Two of the Country’s Top Natural Attractions are a Short Drive Away
Lose yourself among the rolling white sand dunes of a true American treasure and descend into the depths of an ancient cavern with more than 300 stunning limestone caves. Welcome to White Sands National Park and Carlsbad Caverns National Park, two of the Southwest’s more remarkable natural wonders. Covering 275 square miles, the gypsum dune field at White Sands is the largest of its kind in the world. Hike, bike, or ride horseback through this unique landscape, or follow the 16-mile Driving Dunes Drive to take in the scenery from your car. You can even camp among the dunes in one of the primitive backcountry campsites. Stay the night and you’ll wake up to a view that few get to enjoy.

For some time out of the sun, find your way into the subterranean wonderland that is Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Called “the Grand Canyon with a roof over it” by actor and comedian Will Rogers, the park has two trails you can meander along by yourself. The 1.25-mile Big Room Trail is a flat path that yields amazing views of formations large and small, as well as a rope ladder used by early explorers in the 1920’s. There’s also the Natural Entrance Trail, a winding 1.25-mile path that descends a quad-burning 750 feet, a journey that passes notable formations like the Devil’s Spring and Iceberg Rock. Back on the surface, you’ll find 11 hiking trails like the 100-mile-long Guadalupe Ridge Trail, a pathway ideal for backcountry hikers looking to get away from it all.

Tucked away in the farthest reaches of southeast New Mexico, White Sands National Park and Carlsbad Caverns National Park are two of the country’s top natural wonders. As remote as they are, both parks are about two hours away from El Paso, making them ideal day trip destinations from the Sun City.

Rent A UTV Off-Road Adventures

You can Cruise the Desert Trails
As any seasoned road tripper will tell you, there’s nothing like the freedom of the open road. Here in El Paso, there’s another way you can get behind the wheel. Cruise through the scenic landscapes of the Chihuahuan Desert on your very own Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV) at Rent a UTV Off-Road Adventures. Strap in and push your foot on the gas as much of El Paso’s Red Sands area is open for you to discover. Drive along trails and over sand dunes on the 25-mile Desert Quail trail as you admire the stark beauty of the mountains in the distance. At the end of your 1.5-hour adventure, you’ll probably be raring to go off road again.

Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site

The Sun City is Home to One of America’s Top Bouldering Spots
With more than 400 problems, Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site has a well-earned reputation as a world-class rock-climbing destination. To experience it for yourself, book a guided climbing tour with Sessions Climbing and Guiding Tours. Not only will you have an expert on hand to teach you a thing or two (if you need it), but they’ll also provide the gear. The best time to go on your own climbing adventure is from late fall through spring, when the cooler temperatures set the stage for a perfect day of climbing.

When you aren’t climbing, uncover all the history that’s still well preserved here. Hueco Tanks has sheltered an array of people throughout the last 10,000 years. The earliest of these people, the Jornada Mogollon, left behind pictographs and petroglyphs of animals, birds, and large-eyed figures that you can still see today when you hike through the self-guided area. Only 70 people at a time are allowed into this part of the park, so get here early if you want to see it for yourself.

Scenic Drive

Scenic Drives Are Everywhere
The breathtaking Franklin Mountains provide a picturesque backdrop no matter where you are in El Paso. Yet they are just one of many things about the Chihuahuan Desert that are best appreciated by following one of the Sun City’s scenic driving routes. For sunrises and sunsets, drive the Transmountain Road that passes through Franklin Mountains State Park. Meanwhile, the Scenic Drive along Rim Road overlooks both El Paso and Juarez, and Highway 28 into New Mexico winds and weaves through chile farms, vineyards, and pecan orchards. To experience the history that sets El Paso apart, set out on the Mission Trail that transports you to Texas’ three oldest churches.

With all its remarkable scenery, cruising around El Paso is a must while you’re here.

Downtown El Paso

High-End Hotels and Restaurants Are Perfect for Some R&R
Sometimes, all you need is some rest and relaxation; especially if you’ve been immersing yourself in the many adventures El Paso has to offer. Where better to unwind than at one of the city’s top-of-the-line hotels? Known as one of El Paso’s most luxurious places to stay, The Plaza Hotel Pioneer Park combines its ideal downtown location with its historic charm and upscale amenities to create a destination all its own. When your appetite hits, visit the hotel’s Ámbar Restaurante. Savor dishes that blend the finest flavors of Texas and Mexico as you sip a drink made with a wide array of tequilas, mezcals, and rare spirits from south of the border as you admire the two-story-tall backlit amber backdrop.

The lavish suites, complete with marble bathrooms, at the Stanton House provide another great option for getaways in downtown El Paso. Walk around the hotel to admire all the captivating art before you relax in the spa and steam room. Then enjoy some chef-created cuisine at Taft Diaz, a fine-dining eatery that serves dishes like tempura artichoke tacos and braised lamb shank.

Finally, the past and present come together at the Aloft El Paso Downtown located in the O.T. Bassett Tower which was built in 1930. Inside you’ll find cozy guest rooms and suites with separate living rooms, all of which have large windows that provide abundant natural light and an overlook of the downtown area. Just two blocks away, you’ll come across Café Central, a fine-dining restaurant where you can sink your teeth into a prawn brochette, Scottish salmon, 28-day dry-aged New York steak, and more.

Ready for your next road trip? Experience the very best of the Southwest when you come to El Paso, the Sun City of Texas. Plan your visit here.

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