Known for mild temps and sunny skies, El Paso is the ideal getaway for outdoor enthusiast. With over 300 sunny days a year,thrill-seekers alike journey to the Sun City during the winter months for their dose of vitamin D and real adventure. Hike, bike, climb-El Paso has it all no matter what time of year!
Towering above the city of El Paso is the Franklin Mountains State Park, the largest state park in an urban setting. Here you can hike rugged terrain in 37 square miles of desert wilderness, scrub vegetation and open space, with 125 miles of multi-use trails that are especially popular with mountain bikers. Camping and picnicking are also available.
For those seeking to "climb" their way to the top, Hueco Tanks State Historic Park is world-renowned for rock climbing and bouldering. the 860-acre park 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.
Outdoor Annual Events Include:
The Puzzler Mountain Bike Race., is considered one of the most challenging mountain bike races in the region. The single track, technical terrain tests its riders with over 6,200 feet of climb. (January)
Lone Star 100. is a true Texas Mountain Race with climbs over 7,000 ft. Trail runners climb to North Franklin Peak where a stunning view awaits them. (February)
Hueco Rock Rodeo hosts adventure films, live music, clinics and the highly anticipated bouldering competition. Every year competitors from around the world are drawn to this iconic bouldering location. (February)
The Michelob Ultra Springfoot Marathon. is a Boston qualifier that traverses most of El Paso’s well-known neighborhoods. Runners enjoy a beautiful sunrise over the Hueco Mountains and striking views of the colorful Chihuahauan Desert. (February)
Franklin Mountains Trail Run. feature a 50k, 13.1 mile, 10k and 5k. The combination of straight climbs, technical terrain and switchbacks make for one of the region’s most inspiring and sought out events. (November)
El Paso's Mission Trail is a nine-mile stretch across time in El Paso County’s Mission Valley. The historic trail is named for the three missions that date back to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries: Ysleta Mission, Socorro Mission and San Elizario Chapel, which are the oldest churches in the state of Texas. All three parishes still congregate for Mass to this day. While the missions are certainly the focal point of Mission Trail, the pathway’s historical appeal isn’t limited to the liturgical venues. Mission Trail is home to museums, myriad state and national landmarks, art galleries, award-winning restaurants and a host of other attractions that inspire frequent visitation. Both natives and travelers alike are captivated by the rich history and cultural encounters that are unique to this sector of the borderland. Here’s a few sites you absolutely have to see during your trek down Mission Trail.
The Ysleta Mission is the oldest active mission in the state of Texas, and it should definitely be your first stop on the trail. Native Puebloan peoples aided by Spanish colonists founded Ysleta in 1660 as a place of dedicated servitude and refuge. In 1682, the Puebloan parish built the mission’s original adobe building, which they later consecrated as La Misión de Corpus Christi de San Antonio de la Ysleta del Sur in 1691. But after two massive floods, land sovereignty shifts between Spanish, Mexican and American rule, and a devastating chemical fire, the mission’s building and namesake had undergone several changes. The current mission, Nuestra Señora del Monte Carmelo, was built in 1908. The Spanish Colonial church house still stands today not only as a national landmark and a symbol of resilient devotion, but as a beloved chapel that is presently occupied by active parishioners. Make sure to stop by the Ysleta Mission Gift Shop before you leave to pick up beautiful tchotchkes and other historic materials to signify your visit to Texas’ first mission.
The Socorro Mission came about shortly after Ysleta, having officially been founded during a special initiating Mass in October 1680. The mission erected their first permanent structure in 1691 and consecrated the parish as Nuestra Senora de limpia Concepción de los Piros del Socorro del Sur. While the Ysleta Mission was attended by Tigua Native Americans, Socorro is tied to the Piro natives for whom the mission was named. Like Ysleta, the Socorro mission was destroyed by massive flooding in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The parishioners were able to salvage pieces from the original building called vigas, decorated beams painted with traditional tribe design work. These beams and other features were installed in the mission’s current building, now called La Purísima Concepción del Socorro, which was completed in 1843. The mission closed its doors in 1995 for an extensive restoration project led by the community, and Socorro resumed regular Mass in December 2005. Tours are held at the Mission regularly, so call ahead at (915) 851-7718 to schedule yours.
Presidio San Elizario Chapel
The final mission on Mission Trail is the San Elceario Mission, which is more commonly known as the San Elizario Presidio and Chapel. Though the chapel duly serves religious purposes today, it was originally constructed in 1789 by the Spanish for use as a fort, or presidio, to house Mexican troops. Confederate soldiers also occupied the fort during the Civil War. The fort included a post chapel on its grounds, which, like the other missions, was destroyed in the flood of 1829. When Mexico won independence from Spain, the site’s military functions became unimportant. Hence, the present-day San Elizario Chapel opened in 1882. Today, all three missions operate as a part of the Catholic Diocese of El Paso. The historic missions are revered for the special union between Christian theology and Native American tradition that is iconic of borderland parishes.
Los Portales Museum
Your next stop on Mission Trail should be to Los Portales Museum. Los Portales was constructed in the 1850s for residential use by Gregorio Garcia, a prominent County Judge. The adobe structure featured a unique enclosed corridor and was thusly called Los Portales. Though the residence was certainly an enviable establishment, Garcia’s charitable nature inclined him to surrender it for greater civic purposes. The well-regarded citizen donated the opulent edifice to the town of San Elizario for use as a public school in 1870. Over the years, Los Portales served a variety of utilitarian purposes. It was converted into separate apartment units and later into school district offices. In 2000, El Paso County renovated Los Portales and reopened it as a museum. Today, the San Elizario Genealogy and Historical Society operates Los Portales Museum and Information Center, offering passersby a distinctive learning opportunity that’s not to be missed.
San Elizario Jail
El Paso County’s first penitentiary, San Elizario Jail, is also situated along Mission Trail. The jail was made famous by the infamous outlaw Billy the Kid. While the Kid broke out of jail on many occasions, San Elizario Jail is the only one that he actually broke into. After learning that his friend Melquaides Segura had been incarcerated at San Elizario, Billy the Kid rode into town, presented himself to be a Texas Ranger to the Mexican guards, pulled out his revolver and coerced them to free his friend. Billy and Segura locked the guards up, discarded the keys and escaped to nearby Mexico. The Pistoleros De San Elizario perform bimonthly reenactments of this event in front of San Elizario Jail during the Monthly Mission Trail Art Market. For more information, check out the San Elizario Historic District site.
San Elizario Historic Art District
A key highlight of Mission Trail is the San Elizario Historic Art District, which is the only art district in all of El Paso. The growing art district hosts more than twenty galleries where local talents share their perspectives through an interesting variety of media. Artists like Amado Maurillo and Al Borrego focus on the Native American asthetic, telling stories on canvas of man’s vital connection to and dependence upon nature. Other artists recount the Mexican-American experience through their brush strokes. Still others convey an eclectic sensibility through intricate and lively mixed media creations. There’s something everyone can admire in the San Elizario Art District. And aficionados looking for an immersive borderland artistic encounter should look forward to the ArtWalk, which takes place every first Friday in the district. Meet the artists, explore the galleries, sample snacks and enjoy local music along the way. And remember, the thriving art scene is just one of Mission Trail’s many gifts.
We've put together everything you need to know about where to park and how to get to the game. Check out our parking and transportation guide below.
2017 Hyundai Parking Policies
Please contact the Sun Bowl Association at (915) 533-4416 ext. 200 with any questions. Passes must be purchased prior to game day, through 5 pm, Thursday, December 28
at the Sun Bowl Association Office, 4150 Pinnacle St Ste 100.
Vehicle Parking Passes (Automobiles, SUVs and Pickup Trucks)
Customers have the opportunity to purchase vehicle parking passes for $10 to access specific outdoor parking lots closer to the stadium as well as the Sun Bowl Dr. parking garage. A map of the parking lots is provided below. Please reference this diagram when considering the desired location for your parking needs and preferences.
Note: The following parking lots will NOT be available for purchase, P-5 (Upper South), P-6 (Captain’s Club), P-7 (Press Box), P-8 (Glory Corner) and S-6 (Media).
Accessible parking with state issued paperwork and placard or license are available in the R-6 free lot and in specified north and west side premium lots for $10.
Free parking is located in the R-6 lot off of Sun Bowl Drive by the Helen of Troy Softball Complex in the Swimming and Fitness Center parking lot. Complimentary accessible shuttles will be available from the parking area to the press box for patrons with accessible tickets in sections 1-5 and to the North Sun Bowl entrance for patrons with accessible tickets in sections 13, 15 and 19.
Parking in the north end (P-9) and west side (P-6) parking lot immediately adjacent to the stadium will require ADA vehicle parking passes purchased for $10 through the Sun Bowl Association office. Due to the high demand of immediate access parking spaces, Party Passes will not be issued in this parking lot.
Tailgating and Party Passes
Patrons are free to tailgate in venue parking lots, directly in front of or behind their vehicle and are limited to one parking space per vehicle, per vehicle pass. Tailgate space will be limited so that vehicle traffic will not be obstructed. Additional spaces may not be reserved for late arriving guests.
A $25 Party Pass will be available for purchase through our office if you wish to use an adjacent parking space for a party. Adjacent party spaces are not guaranteed, they are on a first come first serve basis. Vehicle parking passes cannot be used for parties.
No overnight tailgating will be allowed on the University property, with the exception of the (P-4) RV lot. Parking lots open at 6 a.m. on Friday, December 29, the day of the game.
No tailgating or Party Passes are allowed in the parking garages, the north end & west side accessible parking lots, P-7 (Press Box) and the P-6 (Captain’s Club) parking lots.
RV and Oversized Vehicle Parking
Parking is located in the P-4 lot off of Schuster Dr., south of the stadium. A $20 parking pass may be obtained through the Sun Bowl Association office.
The RV lot will be open at 3:00 p.m., Thursday, December 28, the day before the game.
All other personal vehicles are not allowed in the parking lot, but may be parked in the adjacent free parking lot.
Public Transportation Information
Ride Sun Metro to the 2017 Hyundai Sun Bowl on 12/29/17. Kickoff is at 1 pm. For more info, 915-212-3333 or sunmetro.net
• Return trips begin at the end of the 3rd quarter.
• Buses drop off and pick up near the north end of the Sun Bowl, at Glory Rd. & Randolph
• Dedicated bus lanes near stadium
• Services may be delayed after the game due to traffic congestion
• Exact change required
no food or drinks allowed on the buses
• No coolers or umbrellas allowed in the sun bowl
• No re-entry to the stadium after kickoff
Designated areas outside the following hotels:
Best Western, Courtyard, El Paso Suites hotel, Hampton Inn, Hawthorn Suites, Holiday Inn Express & suites, Homewood Suites, Hyatt place, La Quinta Inn, Marriott, Microtel Inn, Radisson, Residence Inn, Staybridge Suites, Wingate,and Wyndham El Paso Airport hotel.
10:30 am - 12:30 pm, approximately every 35 minutes • $3 round trip fare
Union Plaza Transit Terminal(400 west San Antonio)
10:30 am until game time, approximately every 25 minutes $3 round trip fare • parking is $10 per vehicle
El Paso Convention Center
(Across from the former Camino Real Hotel)
10:30 am until game time, approx every 25 minutes $3 round trip fare
Sun Metro Eastside Transfer Center (1165 Sunmount - near Cielo Vista Mall)
10:30am - 12:30 pm, approximately every 30 minutes • $3 round trip fare
Sun Metro Mission Valley transfer center (9065 Alameda)
10:30 am (one departure) • $3 round trip fare
Sun Metro northeast transit terminal (At the intersection of Diana and Dyer)
10:30 am & 11:30 am • $3 round trip fare
Edgemere at R.C. Poe Park+Ride(One block west of rich beem blvd.)
10:30 am & 11 am • $3 round trip fare
Westside Sun Metro Westside transfer center(7535 Remcon)
10:30 am, 11 am, 11:30 am, and 12 pm $3 round trip fare
Exact fare is required, $3 round trip
Note: times and frequencies may vary depending on traffic and demand.
FOR MORE INFO, 915.212.3333 OR SUNMETRO.NET
A Christmas Fair
This annual shopping gift market has officially kicked off the holiday season in El Paso for over 40 years. Recognized as an El Paso tradition, the fair is staggered with over 200 merchants and features special events throughout the weekend.
Downtown El Paso comes to life every November with lights, food, holiday shopping, festivities and the coolest thing of all, an outdoor ice skating rink. The festival runs till January.
Many El Pasoans will attest that one of their favorite holiday memories growing up was making tamales. Family and friends gather around to take on the day long task that deliciously pays off in the end. Fortunately for those with limited time (or patience), El Paso is home to numerous locally owned hot spots that sell them by the dozen.
The holiday season kicks off with hundreds of glowing brown sacks known as Luminarias. These traditional Christmas lanterns date back 300 years and adorn El Paso’s churches, homes, and streets. To experience the beauty of luminarias we recommend a drive thorough the historic mission trail or Scenic Dr., neither will disappoint.
From Dec. 16-24 it is custom to hold a posada party every evening. These nine days of posadas leading up to Christmas Eve are marked by traditional rituals and filled with food, tamales, piñatas, and joyful socializing. Experience what an authentic posada has to offer by taking advantage of the many public gathering held throughout the city.
Rosca de Reyes
Also known as king’s cake, the rosca is a wreath shaped Mexican bread decorated with slices of candied fruit and hides a figurine of a baby baked inside. But beware, the one who has the figurine in their slice plays host to a party on Feb. 2nd! Locally owned Bowie Bakery is a sure win for some of the best Roscas in town.
Celebration of Lights Tree Lighting Ceremony
Known as one of El Paso’s most celebrated holiday traditions, the tree lighting ceremony and parade have been part of El Paso’s history for over 100 years. Every year San Jacinto Plaza comes alive with over 400,000 lights and more than 100 trees. Fun for the whole family, the ceremony and parade are defiantly must-see events!
Misa del Gallo
Interrupted by the ringing of bells and celebrated around midnight each Christmas Eve, Misa del Gallo or Mass of the Rooster is widely celebrated throughout the city. This famous mass is one of the most delightful traditions embraced by dozens of local churches. With so many historic churches in the area, finding a church to experience Misa del Gallo won’t be a challenge at all.
Hyundai Sun Bowl Game
Since the first Sun Bowl played in 1935, this popular game has grown into one of El Paso’s top national attractions. Known as the second oldest bowl game, the Sun Bowl is a long standing and highly anticipated event. Visitors are also invited to take advantage of the Fan Fiesta, a family friendly event featuring bands, dance groups, face painting, mascots and more.
It is truly rare to feel the rush of accomplishment that can only be described as conquering. As humans, there are many things present that whisper to us, that call us to true daring. But often, circumstance and obligation require us to give up these romantic notions and fall to compromise.
In El Paso, it’s hard to ignore this when one looks up at the majestic Franklin Mountains. Sitting in the middle of our beautiful city, while they are not the largest or most mysterious, they hold a majestic exquisiteness that’s all their own. There is a hidden beauty in the landscape of a mountain. Something beyond the slopes and undulations. It is a sensation that can only be felt in that whisper, in that call heard in the deepest part of our souls – the truest plea for discovery, for adventure.
As we go through the everyday tasks and chores that are our own, they sit in waiting. Holding secrets told only to the few who dare to venture to them, to seek and find what lies beyond. Many have already heard this call.
Here in the Sun City, we explore the Franklins and the surrounding areas three fantastic ways: hiking, running and biking. With numerous ways to find your footing for a good hike or run, there are a few great trailheads that can take you through the rambling foothills of the Lost Dog Trails, up McKelligon Canyon, or you can start at the top and get a truly grueling aerobic workout climbing high to the high top of the mountain.
If you are looking for more of a rush, the Franklin’s do not disappoint. These trails don’t just make great hiking trails; they make even better biking trails. And you don’t have to go it alone! El Paso is home to two premier bike clubs that will award you the camaraderie and challenge you have been craving.
Archaeologist and avid hiker, Rick Kelly commented on the beauty he finds in the Chihuahuan desert. “Whether you are traveling, trying to get in shape, or just new to the area, there are arranged hikes all throughout this region. Yes, there’s the Franklin’s in town but there is also Hueco Tanks and if there is anything world-class about El Paso, that’s the place to see.”
And there is truly a lot to see in this region. So don’t wait. Answer the call and get outside and conquer the trail, mountain, and world you have yet to see.
Directions: The park is in the northernmost corner of the city of El Paso. You can access the park by one of three entrances: the first, on the east side of the mountains taking High way 54, exit on Fred Wilson and then turn west. The second, on the west side of the mountain take I-10 to Transmountain and exit and turn four miles down, you will see the entrance. The final access point is at the top of Transmountain, which is clearly seen from the road. Each of these routes will take you on the hike, run or bike of your life up the crown jewel of West Texas.