Franklin Mountains State Park
This high-desert mountain allows outdoor enthusiasts of all skill levels to explore almost 27,000 acres on over 100 miles of trails. Sitting in the center of the city, a trip to the park is never more than a 15 minute drive from any part of town. For the best view in town, hike your way up to North Franklin Peak, the highest peak in the park at 7,192 feet. With over 2,000 feet of elevation gain from the trailhead to the top, this is certainly a rite of passage for many hikers. Camping and guided hiking and biking tours available.
Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site
World renowned for rock climbing and bouldering, the 860-acre Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site is named for its large natural rock basins that for years supplied trapped rainwater to dwellers Marvel at the imagery that dates back thousands of years, then hike, rock climb, bird watch, study nature and history, picnic and stargaze. Also available are guided and self-guided tours to view rock imagery. Located in a historic ranch house, the interpretive center is the perfect place to learn about the park and its history. Hueco Tanks is mainly a day-use park. However, they do have 20 campsites.
Wyler Aerial Tramway
Half the fun of visiting the only public Tram in Texas is driving the paved road that snakes up the east side of the Franklin Mountains. After purchasing your ticket at the tramway station, the Swiss-made gondola will take you on a remarkable four-minute ride through a vast canyon that ranges to a depth of 240 feet. During your journey, park rangers describe the various cacti and rock formation along the way. As the ride comes to an end, the spectacular 7,000 square mile view that encompasses three states and two nations proves to be truly breathtaking. View finders, restrooms and a gift shop are all available at Ranger Peak.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Located less than two hours from El Paso, this national park is positioned within the vast Chihuahuan Desert and is home to the highest peak in Texas. Standing tall at 8,749 feet in elevation, Guadalupe Peak offers an impressive view. The climb to the peak is a zigzagging maze of steep switchbacks and rugged terrain often described as a “hiker’s dream.” In addition to its more than 80 miles of trail, the park is the world’s most premier example of a fossil reef and one of the most pristine wilderness areas in the region. This hidden gem allows for birding, hiking, camping and backpacking.