El Paso Hiking Trails – 10 Amazing Trails To Explore

If you’re searching for somewhere different to hike, why not look at El Paso hiking trails? El Paso – also known as “Sun City,” is a city located in Western Texas.

It lies in the Rio Grande, across the US – Mexico border, and is home to just under 700,000 residents. El Paso residents love the outdoors, and there are many trails for hiking and cycling.

Franklin Mountain park at El Paso

When Is The Best Time To Go Hiking in El Paso?

With nearly 300 days of sunshine in a year, covering over 100 miles of hiking trails, and reaching over 6000 feet above sea level, you can be 100% sure that you’ll find the best El Paso hiking trails, no matter your level of experience.

El Paso’s weather is ideal for hiking almost all year round. It has a desert climate, with very little rainfall throughout the year.

The summer months can get hot, while the winter months are very cold, but you can still explore all the exciting things to see and do that the city has to offer.

view of mountain range, El Paso, Texas

Let’s Explore The 10 Best El Paso Hiking Trails

Follow me as I lay out the 10 best hiking trails in El Paso. These are a few of the great ways you can spend your time outdoors during your stay here.

1. Palisades Canyon Loop

Palisades Canyon Loop is on the western side of El Paso. It’s a 5-mile loop hike that’s very close to the UTEP campus. It was built by the city for mountain bikers and hikers.

The loop meanders through the canyon with great views of El Paso and Juarez. Juarez is on the Mexican side of the border and is the sister city of El Paso.

When you hike in Canyon Loop in the evening, you’ll have a marvelous view of the sunset and the lights below in Juarez City.

This trail is a section of a series of trails that lead to Bliss Army and then climb up into Franklin Mountain Park, where you can access other trails.

This hike has about 1000 ft elevation gain, so it’s a good trail for beginners. If you are new to hiking, I would say that this is one of the best hiking trails in El Paso to start with before moving to more challenging terrains.

But that doesn’t mean the path is an easy one, you’ll meet several challenges that will test your endurance and strength. The paths roll up and down, giving you the perfect workout.

Parking is limited here, so you may need to park along the side of the road.

El Paso Center to Palisades Canyon Loop: 3.1 miles

Location: El Paso, TX 79902

Entrance Fee: No

Difficulty: Moderate

Pet Friendly: Yes

2. Lost Dog Trail

bike rider during downhill ride on his bicycle in mountains

The El Paso Mountain Biking Association built this 7.7-mile trail. It has everything to keep you challenged and excited, even if you are an experienced hiker. Lost Dog Trail is right up there on my list of best hiking trails in El Paso.

Before heading off on your hike, make sure you have enough water to keep you hydrated.

It is well-maintained and very popular. Along the path, you may get to see some wildlife and beautiful desert plants.

Keep an eye on the mountain bikers coming from the hilltops. You never know; some of them can be beginners, so you have to stay safe.

El Paso Center to Lost Dog Trail: 13.3 miles

Location: 6936 Cactus Thrush Drive, El Paso, TX 79911

Entrance Fee: Yes – $5.00 Per person 13 years and older. Children 12 years and under are Free.

Difficulty: Intermediate / Difficult

Pet Friendly: Yes

3. Ron Coleman Trail

 

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Ever wonder what it would be like to see two countries and three states simultaneously? Well, then you’ll want to head to Franklin Mountains State Park and hike the Ron Coleman Trail.

This trail is not much more than 3.5 miles. It sounds short but do not be fooled by the shorter distance. With an elevation gain of 1900 ft, it packs in the punch that’ll test your courage and endurance.

As you move along the trail, you’ll have to endure some boulder maneuvers and some steep climbs to reach the end. The boulders are hard to climb, so there are chains that climbers can hold onto while climbing.

If you get to the peak, you’ll be rewarded with some perfect views of El Paso.

This trail is not safe for children.

El Paso Center to Ron Coleman Trail: 7.5 miles

Location: El Paso, TX 79912

Entrance Fee: Yes – $5.00 Per person 13 years and older. Children 12 years and under are Free.

Difficulty: Difficult / Strenuous

Pet Friendly: No


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4. Mammoth Rock

Mammoth Rock is an extra attraction on the Ron Coleman Trail. It’s one of El Paso’s local favorite spots.

It’s a beautiful rock formation that gets its name from looking just like a mammoth with its trunk and all. The trunk is viewed best from the north, and the mammoth seems to be facing east. From certain angles, it even looks like it has an eye.

Spring is the best time to visit when you see many beautiful flowers in full bloom along your route.

You must be careful of the wind, as it can reach speeds of as high as 30 mph, making it tough to hike this trail at times.

Once you reach the peak of the Mammoth Rock, you’ll appreciate the spectacular views of the surrounding area, and it will be worth all the effort you’ve put in.

El Paso Center to Mammoth Rock: 16.6 mils

Location: El Paso, TX 79912

Entrance Fee: No

Difficulty: Moderate

Pet Friendly: No

5. El Paso Tin Mine Trail

 

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The tin mine in El Paso failed to take off because the company could not produce a sustainable amount of tin. This was the only tin mine ever in the USA, and it happened more than 100 years ago.

What the company left behind was a dilapidated minefield. However, this minefield has turned out to be one of the best hiking trails in El Paso.

While on the El Paso Tin Mine trail, you’ll have a clear view of the Franklin Mountains in the distance. You’ll enjoy this hike and more than likely want to revisit it.

The round trip is about 6.6 miles with an elevation gain of 1,000 ft.

Take a flashlight with you so that you can have a quick peek into the old mining shafts when you get to the end of the trail. This will give you a little break from your walk.

I’d advise hiking this trail during the summer, but you have to start early in the morning before it gets too hot.

Just remember to carry enough water to stay hydrated along the way.

I loved this trail because it is dog-friendly, and it’s great for kids.

El Paso Center to Tin Mine Trail: 20.3 miles

Location: Tom Mays Park Access Road, El Paso, TX 79930

Entrance Fee: Charges per person

Difficulty: Easy

Pet Friendly: Yes


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6. Mundy’s Gap Overlook

Franklin Mountain State Park Views

As the name implies, Mundy’s Gap is a gap in the Franklin Mountains State Park mountains. An excellent trail for hiking near El Paso, Texas, and mainly used for horse riding, running, mountain biking, and hiking.

After about a 2-mile hike, you’ll reach the gap, where you’ll be able to see the most beautiful views of the surrounding area.

The path out will take you back along the trail, making the total hiking distance around 4-miles. Although this path is impressive and has a low elevation gain, it is challenging. So, you have to be physically fit to hike this trail.

The best time to hike Mundy’s Gap Overlook is between September to May.

El Paso Center to Mundy’s Gap Overlook: 15.1 miles

Location: Near El Paso, TX

Entrance Fee: Yes – $5.00 Per person 13 years and older. Children 12 years and under are Free.

Difficulty: Difficult

Pet Friendly: Yes

7. Pipeline Road Trail

Franklin Mountains State Park hiking trail in El Paso

Pipeline Road Trail passes through Bowen Ranch, a well-known landmark used as a starting point for cycling events. It’s a long straight 3-mile hike on private property and one of the more unique hiking trails in El Paso.

The ranch is 88,000 acres and stretches across quite a large portion of the northeast Franklin Mountain system, and Pipeline Road helps connect 11 trails.

The road was once used to inspect pipelines by El Paso Natural Gas, but it has become an attractive spot for bikers, runners, and hikers alike.

Pipeline Road Trail isn’t mountainous. It is relatively level, making it excellent for local bird watching and plant exploration.

Most beginners like this trail because it isn’t very strenuous.

Even though it’s privately owned, the owners allow visitors to use this road for their outdoor activities. So bring the family along for a lovely day out. And before you leave, don’t forget to clean up after yourselves to show some respect for their kindness and generosity.

El Paso Center to Pipeline Road Trail: 19.5 miles

Location: Pipeline Rd El Paso, TX 79934

Entrance Fee: Yes, $5 per person

Difficulty: Easy

Pet Friendly: Yes


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8. Rio Bosque Wetlands Park

Rio Grande Bosque Wetlands

Rio Bosque Wetlands Park is a lovely 372-acre park right in the heart of the desert. Sounds like a joke, right? Well, it’s not!

The Rio Bosque Wetlands Park is cared for by the University of Texas, so you can imagine how attractive it is. It takes you back in time to when the Rio Grande banks consisted of wetlands and forests. Sadly, over time all these have disappeared.

The Rio Bosque Wetlands Park now stands to represent all that was lost.

There are many mountain and desert hiking trails in El Paso, but none compare to the Rio Bosque Wetlands Park. It’s entirely different from all the other parks, with all their tremendous plant and wildlife diversity.

There are three loop trails that go through a well-maintained lush park. Each trail is marked with a distinct logo:
• A frog for the Bosque Trail, which is fully accessible – 0.6 miles
• A duck for the Wetland Trail – 1.5 mils
• A dragonfly for the Rio Trail – 2.4

All three start at the park’s Visitor Center and have a combined distance of 4.5 miles.

If you have a keen interest in learning about the conversation efforts put in place by the University of Texas, you can opt for a guided tour. The guides will take you through all the paths and teach you about the wildlife and plants as you walk.

El Paso Center to Rio Bosque Wetlands Park: 16.4 miles

Location: 10716 Socorro RD, El Paso, TX 79927

Entrance Fee: No

Difficulty: Easy

Pet Friendly: Yes

9. Aztec Cave Trail

Aztec cave one of the best places to go hiking in El Paso TX

Aztec Cave Trail is another popular location for hiking near El Paso. It’s a short, well-maintained, and well-marked 1.2-mile trail that leads to three small caves, all on the west side of the Franklin Mountains.

Start the hike at the parking lot, then cross a dry creek to start the journey towards the caves. The trail has a steady climb, but it’s not difficult, and there are benches along the way to rest those legs while you take in the scenic views.

When you arrive at the caves, you’ll understand what attracted the native people to places like this. The views are spectacular! And one of the very few spots you’ll find any shade.

Don’t forget to bring your water to stay hydrated along the way.

This trail is a great day out for the whole family.

El Paso Center to Aztec Cave Trail: 18.9 miles

Location: Franklin Mountains State Park, El Paso, TX

Entrance Fee: Yes, $5.00 per person, or $2.00 per person in groups. Children 12 years and under are Free.

Difficulty: Moderate

Pet Friendly: Yes, but must be on a leash at all times.


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10. Hueco Tanks Historic Site & State Park

Landscape at Hueco Tanks in El Paso, Texas.

I don’t know about you but, I am passionate about hiking in historical places. One such place is the Hueco Tanks State Park. If you are also a fan of American history, I recommend heading to this park.

The trails here are packed with paintings and many other artifacts of the olden times. While there are some trails open where you can trek without a guide, these trails only allow 70 people at a time. So, there might be a slight waiting period allowing others to finish their hike before you’d be allowed in.

I suggest registering early to avoid waiting around.

As these historical sites are of sensitive nature, the other trails can only be accessed if one of the tour guides accompanies you. So, once you arrive in the park, find out whether you’ll need a guide or not.

Hueco Tanks is excellent for hiking near El Paso while still keeping the ancient history of this area alive.

If you like rock climbing, it’s worth knowing that this location is perfect for you to rock climb.

These trails are also used for running, hiking, biking, bird watching, stargaze, and picnic.

DEl Paso Center to Hueco Tanks Historic Site & State Park: 34.1 miles

Location: Texas 79938, USA

Entrance Fee: Free for children below 13 years, $7 for visitors aged 13 years and above

Difficulty: Moderate

Pet Friendly: Only allowed on the paved surfaces and on the picnic area trail. Must be on a leash at all times.

Are You Ready For El Paso Hiking?

El Paso has some of the best hiking trails in the US.

A day of hiking is the most delightful way to explore what nature has to offer. Whether you prefer staying around the city or going deeper into the mountains, El Paso hiking trails have it all.

Hiking in El Paso is something you won’t get enough of. You’ll undoubtedly want to visit not once but many times over.

And if you are interested in food or entertainment, El Paso has something for you.

What To Take With You

Before setting out on your hiking adventure, think about what you’ll need, which, of course, depends on where you’re planning to go and how many days you are planning to go for.

When going to a remote area, you must think about what the weather has in store for you.

Generally, the more remote your hike and the longer you go for, the more water, food, gear, and clothing you’ll need.

The weather of the region you’re planning to visit will also determine what you have to carry or wear.

Some items you will need:

• A hiking backpack – Large enough to hold everything you’ll need to carry
• Clothing that’s appropriate to the area you want to visit
• Hiking shoes and boots
• Enough food for the trip, especially if you are going to a place far away from restaurants
• Enough water – you’ll lose a lot of water as you trek on a sunny day. You need water to keep you hydrated.
• Navigation tools, including a compass and map
• A first aid kit
• A multi-tool or a knife
• Headlight, in case you want to trek at night.
• Any drugs/medications you may need


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Conclusion

I love all the El Paso hiking trails that I have done so far.

The locals are amiable, and the tour guides are so accommodating. I will keep visiting this beautiful city over and over again.

Plan your trip well and make any necessary bookings in advance. I can guarantee you that your trip will be a memorable one.