Just west of Hueco Tanks sits Red Sands, which consists of 21 miles of off-roading opportunities. Red Sands features sand dunes, small hills and amazing views. Thirty four million years ago, the entire area used to be under an ancient sea and you’ll come across plenty of fossils. Since it’s open year round, this is an attraction you don’t want to miss. With Off-Road Adventures you can rent an ATV so that you can join in on all the fun in the desert hills. If you have a 4x4 vehicle, you can make this an all-day event by grilling and hanging out with friends or family.
Franklin Mountains State Park
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 (please, no ground fires, but charcoal fires can be built in grills at the picnic sites). Check the website calendar for special tours, for which reservations are required.
Camping Stay at one of our campsites in the Tom Mays Unit. Walk to one of 14 tent sites, or park at one of five RV sites. Rent a group camp area for your next gathering. Campsites do not have water or electricity; bring enough water for drinking, cooking and cleaning. Call the park to reserve sites.
Rock Climbing Climb at the designated area in McKelligon Canyon or at Sneed’s Cory in the Tom Mays Unit. Bring your own equipment. Stay safe and follow best practices for climbing.
Chihuahuan Desert Nature Hike
A 0.6-mile loop trail near the Museum of Archeology. Considered an easy route, you’ll find plenty of flora and fauna to admire along the way. Relatively low traffic, so you’ll be able to spend a rather peaceful time amongst the some of the best Southwestern views. Dogs are welcome and, in certain areas, may be off leash.
Nestled on the southeastern side of the Franklin Mountains and surrounded by desert canyon walls, McKelligon Canyon is a popular destination known for its rock climbing, hiking, running, walking, and biking. Visitors have a variety of rock-climbing routes to choose from, and the symmetric terrain is filled with crevices and cracks. All hiking trails including the Ron Coleman Trail begin at the end of McKelligon Canyon and are open year-round.
A 3.7-mile trail near the Museum of Archeology. A moderate difficulty trail, taking about an hour and a half to complete. It features a large open space where native poppies bloom during the year. Dogs are welcome, but must be on leashes.
Rio Bosque Wetlands Park
The 372-acre city park is a compilation of wetlands and riverside forest which is home to over 200 species of birds. An excellent display of spring can be seen in the bright yellow blooms of the annual Forb Bittersweet. The spring wildflowers are best seen in April and May however, these 6-to-10-inch flowers have been known to stick around through the summer months.
Thousand Steps Trail
A 2.8-mile trail considered a challenging route. This path is popular for birdwatching, hiking, and running. Dogs are welcome, and may be off leash in some areas.
Tom Mays Nature Walk
A short 0.8-mile easy trail. Perfect for hiking and walking. Dogs are welcome and may be off leash in certain areas.
Trans-Franklin Mountain Trail
A moderately challenging 12.8-mile trail. A popular trail for hiking, birdwatching and running. Best season to traverse is April through October. Dogs are welcome and may be off leash in some areas.
Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site
Seen as a paradise for world-class climbing and archeological research, Hueco Tanks encompasses three low mountains that rise 6,787 feet above sea level. Its structure once sheltered tribes such as the Jornada Mogollan People, Mescalero Apaches and Tigua Indians, giving them a stronghold. Here, thousands of rock and cave paintings of masks and stories can be observed. The famous structure of this arroyo provides unique hollows, or huecos, that capture rainwater. For a dry and weary land, Hueco Tanks can hold pockets of water for months at a time while the Chihuahua Desert lays baked. Known as the best spot for bouldering in the world, the ideal time to visit is November through March when it is not as hot.