Hiking in El Paso: 11 Stunning El Paso Trails

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Hiking in El Paso, Tx

If you're looking for fun things to do in El Paso, hiking is a great way to spend the day.

Hiking trails are perfect for those who love nature and want something more adventurous than just walking through the park. The best part? You don't have to drive far from El Paso city center to find some amazing hikes.

We have created this list of 11 Stunning El Paso Trails that will make your day an enjoyable one! Enjoy!

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Learn about the other hikes in Texas:

Franklin Mountain State Park

Franklin Mountain State Park is one of the most popular hiking destinations in El Paso. The park is home to a number of trails that lead to some of the best views in the city.

The park is also known for its rock climbing opportunities. Climbers can tackle many cliffs and boulders, making Franklin Mountain State Park a popular destination for family outings.

The trails lead far above the city of El Paso, offering some amazing views of the city below.

The park also provides opportunities to see other landmarks in West Texas and Southern New Mexico, including Hueco Tanks State Park, the Guadalupe Mountains, and White Sands National Monument.

Mountain Biking: The park also offers some great mountain biking opportunities. Several trails wind through the park, providing riders with an adrenaline rush as they traverse the rocky terrain.

Camping: Franklin Mountain State Park also offers camping opportunities. There are some campsites located in the Tom Mays Unit of the park. These campsites do not have water or electricity, so campers need to bring their own supplies.

Entrance Fees: The Entrance Fees for Franklin Mountain State Park are $5 for Adults and Free for those 12 years or younger. For group rates, please contact the park before visiting.

Website:  www.tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/franklin-mountains

Day Opening Hours
Monday 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tuesday 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Wednesday 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Thursday 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Friday 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Saturday 6:30 am - 8:00 pm
Sunday 6:30 am - 8:00 pm

Here are the top 7 hiking trails located in Franklin Mountain State Park.

  • El Paso Tin Mines Trail

Easy Length: 6.5 miles Elevation gain: 1023 feet Est: 3h 21m Dog-friendly Guide

The El Paso Tin Mines Trail is a great place to go for a hike or bike ride. The trail is located near El Paso, Texas, and it offers beautiful views of the Franklin Mountains.

The trail is also home to some interesting historical sites, including the remains of a tin mine.

The El Paso Tin Mines Trail was once part of an extensive network of trails that provided transportation throughout the El Paso-Ciudad Juarez region. Later on, in the 1930s, it became part of a settlement road for tin mining operations in the Franklin Mountains.

Today, visitors to the trail can see remains of these old mining activities while getting their exercise or enjoying nature's beauty.

The trail also features a number of beautiful wildflowers, which make it a great place to visit from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

  • McKelligon Canyon Road

McKelligon Canyon Road in El Paso, Texas

Easy Length: 4.7 miles Elevation gain: 670 feet Est: 2h 23m Dogs on leash Guide

For a place so close to El Paso, it's hard to believe there is this much beauty. McKelligon Canyon Road in the Franklin Mountains State Park is chock full of El Paso's best views and natural sites.

The road itself is 4.7 miles, but plenty of other trails around will add on more mileage.

The hike is beautiful all year round, especially during the spring and fall. The temperatures are milder on the trails, even though it's still around 70-80 F in the warmer months.

There are several drainage crossings on this trail, so make sure you wear some good footwear if there has been a lot of rain lately. There are no water fountains, so bring some with you.

Also, there is no shade on this trail unless you take the side trails, so it's best to go early morning or later in the afternoon. Dogs are allowed on this trail but must be kept on a leash at all times.

Is McKelligon Canyon trail open?

Yes, the trail is open year-round. However, there may be times when the park is closed for a special event. Be sure to check the website before you visit.

Is McKelligon Canyon free?

McKelligon Canyon is visited by over 130,000 visitors each year, and it is free to the public. There are no admission costs to enter the park.

  • Lost Dog Trail Loop

Moderate Length: 7.7 miles Elevation gain: 987 feet Est: 2h 23m Dogs on leash Guide

The Lost Dog Trail Loop is a moderate-rated hiking trail, approximately 8 kilometers long. It is located outside of El Paso, Texas. The hike includes opportunities to see several types of wildlife on the way or the path back to the car.

As one starts the hike, one will come across some trash bins and signs on either side of the trail. One sign will tell hikers what to do if they encounter a dangerous animal and the other one with information on handling trash during hikes.

As one moves along the trail, there are several spots where viewing wildlife is easy. Some of these areas include:

  • A pond filled with ducks, geese, herons, frogs, turtles, and fish.
  • A large open meadow with deer, rabbits, and javelinas.
  • Another area has a grove of mesquite trees with a variety of birds living in them.

Restrooms and trash bins are located here for use before or after the hike. This makes it easy for visitors to enjoy this hike without having to worry about carrying their trash with them.

What should hikers do if they encounter a dangerous animal?

If hikers encounter a dangerous animal, they should stop, make themselves as visible as possible, and back away slowly while keeping an eye on the animal. If necessary, use pepper spray or another deterrent. Do not run.

  • Aztec Cave Trail

Moderate Length: 1.2 miles Elevation gain: 420 feet Est: 46m Dog-friendly  Guide

The Aztec Cave Trail is a short, easy to moderate hike perfect for families or beginner hikers. The trailhead is located just off Transmountain Road in El Paso, and it takes less than an hour to complete.

The trail winds through a series of beautiful caves, and there are several spots where you can stop and climb up a little ledge to see some of the surrounding areas. There is also a nice view of the Rio Grande Valley from the trail.

The most popular spot on this hike is "The Window," with great natural acoustics that makes for fun rock-climbing and exploring play. Aztec Cave Trail is a great place to take kids, and it's also dog-friendly!

If you're looking for an easy hike with plenty of scenery and interesting features, the Aztec Cave Trail is a perfect option. Be sure to bring a flashlight if you're planning to explore the caves - they can be a little dark inside.

  • Thousand Steps Trail

Moderate Length: 2.8 miles Elevation gain: 870 feet Est: 1h 43m • Dog-friendly  Guide

A well-known trail beloved by locals and tourists alike is the Thousand Steps Trail in El Paso.

The trail takes hikers from the bottom of the Franklin Mountains all the way to their destination at Guadalupe Peak, which has been recorded as being 8,749 feet high.

The trail has a total of three thousand steps, hence the name Thousand Steps Trail.

In addition to the beautiful views that hikers are treated to along the way, there are also a few notable points of interest.

For example, there is a spot where the trail forks and hikers can choose to take a detour to see the magnificent Cloud Gate rock formation.

The trail is definitely not for the faint of heart, as it is quite strenuous, but the breathtaking views and sense of accomplishment make it all worth it in the end.

The trail is often crowded with visitors- in fact, on weekends, it seems like the only way to avoid waiting in line for half an hour before you can start your hike is if you get there right when it opens at 7:00 a.m.

Although the steps are steep and the trail is long, most people who make it to the top agree that it is well worth it.

  • Schaeffer Shuffle Trail

Moderate Length: 2.6 miles Elevation gain: 698 feet Est: 1h 31m • Dogs on leash  Guide

The Schaeffer Shuffle Trail is a trail at the Franklin Mountains State Park that runs along the western part of the mountain range. It starts near McKelligon Canyon and ends near Hueco Tanks Turnaround area.

There are several trails along the way, but only one of them is named "Schaeffer Shuffle" because of its zigzag pattern

This is a popular trail for hikers because of its beautiful views and the challenge it provides. One of the most beautiful views is that you can see downtown El Paso on one side of the mountain, and on the other side, you can see the Rio Grande River.

This trail is also great for mountain biking and horseback riding. There are a few areas where the trail is narrow and rocky, so be careful if you're not used to hiking on trails like this.

Overall, the Schaeffer Shuffle Trail is a great hike for anyone who wants a challenge with beautiful views.

  • Maze-Cardiac Hill Loop

sunset view of snow-covered Franklin Mountain

Moderate Length: 5 miles Elevation gain: 639 feet Est: 2h 27m • Dogs on leash  Guide

The Maze-Cardiac Hill Loop Trail is a great hike for those who are looking for a challenging workout. The trail winds its way up and down hills, providing plenty of opportunities to get your heart rate up.

The views from the top of Cardiac Hill are worth the hike and the maze-like trails make for fun exploration. Be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks, as the trail is fairly remote.

This trail is popular with runners, bikers, and hikers. While the majority of this walk is easy to moderate in terms of difficulty, certain portions need more effort than others.

The trail is well-marked and easy to follow. There are several trails in the park, so be sure that you're on Maze Loop Trail when hiking.

Hueco Tanks State Historic Park

Rock climbing in Hueco Tanks State Historic Park

Hueco Tanks State Historic Park is a popular tourist destination in El Paso, Texas. The park is known for its rock climbing and bouldering opportunities, as well as its Native American cultural and historical significance.

The park is open for hiking and nature viewing and offers a number of hiking trails of varying difficulty.

The majority of visitors come for rock climbing opportunities provided by hundreds of boulders and the park's nine climbing areas. The boulders offer a variety of climbs, including beginner routes, highball problems, and traditional climbs.

Camping:  The park offers 20 campsites, which can accommodate both RVs and tents. All sites have picnic tables, fire pits, and grills. There are restrooms with showers, but no RV hookups or dump stations.

Hueco Tanks is mainly a day-use park, but the campgrounds offer a place to stay for visitors who spend the night.

Entrance Fees:  For adults $7 Daily, for children 12 years and under- Free.

Website:  www.tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/hueco-tanks

Day Opening Hours
Monday 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Tuesday 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Wednesday 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Thursday 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Friday 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Saturday 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sunday 8:00 am - 6:00 pm

  • Hueco Tanks Natural Trail

Hueco Tanks Natural Trail
Image courtesy: NPS.gov

Moderate Length: 1.9 miles Elevation gain: 59 feet Est: 48m • No dogs  Guide

There are many trails in Hueco Tanks State Park. However, the natural trail is the most popular one for hikers. It's a 3.4-mile loop that offers beautiful views of the park and its rock formations.

The trail starts at the visitor center and winds around the east side of the park. There are several steep spots with stairs to make it easier. The trail is well marked, so it's easy to follow.

There are several areas where you can stop and enjoy the views. The trail also passes by a few waterfalls, which make for a nice spot to rest and cool off. The trail ends back at the visitor center, where you can grab a bite to eat or buy some souvenirs.

Dogs are not allowed on the trail. But, Bicycles are also allowed on the trail only during certain times of the year.

  • Chain Trail

Moderate Length: 1.9 miles Elevation gain: 173 feet Est: 53m • No dogs  Guide

The Chain Trail is a great place for a hike in El Paso. It's a short trail, but it's got plenty of hills and curves to make it interesting.

There are also a few spots where you can see the city below, which makes for some great photo opportunities.

The Chain Trail is also a popular spot for joggers and cyclists, so don't be surprised if you run into people on your hike. Just be sure to stay on the trail and be aware of your surroundings, especially when it's busy.

If you're looking for a good hike in El Paso, the Chain Trail is a great option. It's short, but it's got plenty of hills and curves to make it interesting. Plus, the views of the city below are amazing! Be sure to check it out.

Other Hikes to do in El Paso

  • Rio Grande Riverpark and Trail System

Easy Length: 21 miles Elevation gain: 62 feet Est:8h 29m Dogs on leash Guide

The Rio Grande Riverpark and Trail System is a 37-mile corridor of desert hills, mountain peaks, and indigenous animal and plant life between downtown El Paso and the Franklin Mountains.

This expansive green space serves as an outdoor museum of the beautiful desert landscape just minutes from the heart of Downtown El Paso.

The Rio Grande Riverpark and Trail System offer something for everyone, including hikers, mountain bikers, and nature enthusiasts. There are over 21 miles of hiking trails that wind through this picturesque landscape, providing spectacular views of the Franklin Mountains and El Paso.

For mountain biking enthusiasts, there are over 25 miles of trails that range in difficulty from beginner to expert. And for those who enjoy getting up close and personal with nature, the Rio Grande Riverpark and Trail System is home to a variety of indigenous animal and plant life.

So if you're looking for a little bit of nature in the heart of the city, be sure to check out the Rio Grande Riverpark and Trail System. You won't be disappointed!

  • Palisades Canyon Loop

Moderate Length: 5 miles Elevation gain: 1079 feet Est: 2h 45m • Dog-friendly  Guide

The Palisades Canyon Loop is a popular hiking trail located in the Lower Arroyo section of El Paso.

The route is marked with stone pillars at junctions and crosses over the main creek more than once, offering hikers an opportunity to cool off during the summer months.

The trail is well-marked through junctions and intersections with other trails in the area. The route is also open to mountain biking and horseback riding.

The loop begins at the trailhead located next to the parking lot. From there, the trail winds its way up a hill and then down into Palisades Canyon.

The canyon is a narrow slot with towering cliffs on either side. After crossing the creek, the trail begins to climb out of the canyon, passing a large cave on the way.

As is with any trail, it's important to pay attention to wildlife warnings and weather conditions before heading out on Palisades Canyon Loop. There are squirrels, lizards, snakes, bats, and coyotes that live in or around the canyon.

What to Pack for Hiking in El Paso

Hiking gears and resources

The weather in El Paso, Texas, is a big factor when deciding what to pack. There are some key things that can make your hike much easier and more enjoyable if you decide to go hiking in the sunny desert with over 300 days of sun each year.

What to Wear:  People hiking in El Paso should dress in light clothing that will protect them from the sun and heat. A hat or sunglasses are also a good idea to keep the sun out of your eyes. Sunscreen is a must-have for your skin.

What to Bring:  You'll want to pack plenty of water, at least 1 gallon per person per day, and trail mix or other trail food to keep your energy up. A first aid kit is also smart to bring along in case of bumps, scrapes, or cuts.

For your feet, many hikers recommend wearing boots with thick soles that protect the bottom of your feet from rocks and desert plants. It's important to dress for safety when hiking in El Paso to avoid getting too hot or too cold.

How to Pack:  For an easy way to stay organized when packing, pack your clothes into individual zip lock bags and label them with what is in each bag. This will help to keep everything clean and dry.

Can't Forget:  If you plan on going for a hike in El Paso, make sure you bring enough water and don't get lost! 🙃

Frequently Asked Questions

Is El Paso good for hiking?

Yes, El Paso is great for hiking! There are plenty of trails to choose from that offer beautiful views of the mountains and desert landscape. Be sure to check out the Franklin Mountains State Park if you're looking for a challenging hike or the easier one.

Whatever route you choose, make sure to take plenty of water and sunscreen with you, and be aware of the dangers that come with hiking in the desert. Enjoy your hike!

What is El Paso, Texas known for?

El Paso, Texas, is known for its beautiful mountain scenery and its many opportunities for outdoor activities. The Franklin Mountains State Park offers over 24,000 acres of trails and natural beauty to explore, and there are plenty of opportunities for hiking, biking, camping, fishing, and more. The city also has a rich history and culture that can be enjoyed through its many museums and other attractions.

Are the Franklin Mountains open for hiking?

Yes, the Franklin Mountain state park is open for hiking. The park offers more than 100 miles of trails that range from easy to difficult, so there's something for everyone. In addition, the park is home to a variety of plants and animals, so it's a great place to enjoy nature.

If you're not familiar with the area, be sure to download a map of the trails before heading out. That way, you can plan your hike and make sure you stay on the right path. And don't forget to take plenty of water and snacks with you, especially if you're going on a longer hike. Have fun!


The natural beauty of El Paso is truly amazing. From the wide-open spaces to epic mountain views, there are plenty of reasons to get outside and explore the gorgeous hiking trails here in town. Take a look at this list for some inspiration on where you can go when it comes time to break out your boots!

How does the idea of exploring new trails make your heart race with excitement? If so, let us know by sharing your emotion about hiking.

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