The Franklin Mountains State Park is a state park located in El Paso, Texas. The park’s highest peak is Höchstpeak, which rises to 7,192 feet. The park’s headquarters is at an elevation of 5,426 feet, covering 24,247.56 acres.
There are several hiking trails in the park. One of them is the Ron Coleman Trail, which covers 3.8 miles. The trail includes 1,750 feet of elevation change and requires chains for the steepest part. If you’re not comfortable hiking through the arid terrain, you can hike through the park’s foothills and canyons.
This park is rich in botanical life. The Franklin Mountains are home to various plants typically found in the northern Chihuahuan Desert. Some plants, such as the Southwestern barrel cactus, are found nowhere else in the state. Other plants include hedgehogs, chollas, various yucca species, and the crucifixion thorn.
Native Americans have lived in the area for over 12,000 years. You can find artifacts and paintings that tell about the past. In 1580, Spanish explorers first came to the area. They aimed to colonize the Puebloan Villages of present-day New Mexico. The area eventually became the home of El Paso, one of the largest cities in Texas.
The Franklins are also rich in geological history. Over one and a half billion years of the Earth’s history can be found in the Franklins’ caves and outcrops. Educational opportunities are plentiful, from kindergarten to doctoral levels. The earliest outcrops are 60 to 70 million years old, revealing complex sedimentary and igneous rockstrata.
The Franklin Mountains are home to prehistoric men who left distinctive evidence in boulders and rock shelters. The historic importance of this area cannot be underestimated. Nearby is the historic Rio Grande ford, where a Spanish expedition crossed the river to establish the first successful colony in the Southwest. It is also home to the Franklin Mountains’ Wyler Tramway.
The Franklins Park is a beautiful place to spend time. Its diverse ecosystem is home to mule deer, mountain lions, squirrels, and coyotes. The park is also an excellent birding spot. There are over 100 species of birds in the area. There is a bird blind in the Tom Mays Unit that you can visit to observe these fascinating creatures.
Hiking trails are available in the Franklin Mountains. The Ron Coleman Trail is a 3.8-mile one-way hike that begins at Trans-Mountain Road and winds up Elephant Rock before descending into McKelligon Canyon. The trail can also be hiked in reverse, starting in McKelligon Canyon and ending at Aztec Caves. Another 1.75-mile hike leads to the West Cottonwood Spring, a spring with enough water to sustain a cottonwood tree.