Hiking in El Paso: 10 Best Trails In + Near El Paso

The hiking in El Paso, Texas, is sometimes forgotten in the same breath as the hikes near cities like Austin, Houston, and Dallas. It is somewhat understandable with a distance of over 800 miles from the eastern part of the state.

Something tells me El Paso likes to stand alone anyway. As one of Texas’s first settlements, it has always had close ties to its neighbors in New Mexico-and having more in common with the desert than its brother and sister cities to the east. 

Whether you call it “Sun City” or “El Chuco,” El Paso is unique to the people who live and visit there. Hiking in El Paso often means near-excellent weather, as the city and the mountains around it get on average 297 days of sun a year. 

If you love to hike and find yourself visiting, you’ll need to know where to find the best hikes in El Paso. Plus, many of these trails are also great places for mountain biking in El Paso.

Follow along as we give you the best El Paso hiking trails to set out on during your stay! 

yellow wildflowers blooming in franklin mountains as seen when hiking near el paso tx

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El Paso Tin Mine Trail

This mine’s failure to produce any substantial tin deposits was a disaster to the startup mining company over a hundred years ago, but it was a boon for nature lovers today. 

With a view of the Franklin Mountains in the near distance, the hike here is sure to be one of your favorites. A round trip of 6.6 miles is perfect for a summer day as long as you start in the cool of the early morning during summer.

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At the end of the trail, be sure to take a peek into the old mining shafts (bring a flashlight) for a quick break from your walk. 

The trail is dog-friendly, so bring your pup along for a walk. Just make sure to bring along enough water to have a drink or two. 

Distance from Downtown El Paso

20.3 miles.

wide open spaces as seen when hiking near el paso texas

Ron Coleman Trail

Do you want to see a view of three states and two countries at the same time? If so, the Ron Coleman Trail in Franklin Mountains State Park is for you. 

The little over 3.5-mile hiking trail near El Paso may be short, but it packs a punch with its almost 1900 ft elevation gain. 

This trail will test your endurance and courage with loose rock under your feet and a couple of bouldering maneuvers you need to make along the way. Don’t worry; the park placed some chains to hold onto during your climbs.

If you make it through this trail’s physical exertions, the hiking gods reward you with some of the best views around the El Paso area. 

Distance from Downtown El Paso

7.5 miles.

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Palisades Canyon Loop

West of El Paso, we find Palisades Canyon Loop, a 5-mile hike near the UTEP campus. Built by the city for hiking and mountain biking, the trail meanders through its namesake canyon. 

Great views of El Paso and Juarez, its sister city on the Mexican side of the border, make for a perfect evening hike to see the thousands of lights below. 

The hike itself has an elevation gain of around 1000ft, so it’s a great starter hike in El Paso for those looking into getting into the outdoors before tackling more difficult walking journeys.

Don’t let the limited elevation fool you, though, as the trail’s rolling ups and downs give a good workout. 

Distance from Downtown El Paso

3.1 miles.

hiking trail at franklin mountains state park with mountains in the background, one of the most fun things to do in el paso tx

Mundy’s Gap

Mundy’s Gap is literally a gap between the mountains of Franklin Mountains State Park. Once reached from the trail after a two-mile hike, panoramic views open through the gap.

The path back out takes the same trail giving you a total hike near El Paso of close to four miles. The trail has a relatively low total elevation gain, but still has a rating of difficult. 

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The trail is reached from within Franklin Mountains State Park in the Tom Mays unit area. 

Distance from Downtown El Paso

15.1 miles.

canyon as seen during one of the best hikes in el paso tx

Lost Dog Trail

One of El Paso’s favorite trails was built with mountain bikers and hikers in mind. This trail built by an El Paso mountain biking association is a fun 7.7 miles of fun in the desert. 

One of the most well-maintained trails in the area, the Lost Dog Trail is one of the most popular places for hiking in El Paso. 

Local desert plants and the occasional wildlife can present themselves while hiking this trail; just be sure to watch out for mountain bikers coming over the tops of hills as you walk.

 And of course, with a name like the Lost Dog Trail, you know dogs are welcome as long as they remain on a leash. 

Distance from Downtown El Paso

13.3 miles.

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Mammoth Rock

If you find yourself hiking along the Ron Coleman trail, take the time to hike up to Mammoth Rock. This extra attraction is one of El Paso’s local favorites since first spotted long ago. 

The outcrop of rock is in the shape of an ancient mammoth, trunk and all. 

Springtime is considered the best time to make this trek as the flowering plants along the trail are in full bloom. Be wary of the wind in this area as sustainable winds can sometimes reach as high as 30 miles an hour, making for a tough go at it. 

The views from Mammoth Rock are well worth any effort put into your hike. 

Distance from Downtown El Paso

16.6 miles.

mammoth rock, one of the most popular hiking trails in el paso texas

Rio Bosque Wetlands Park

It’s hard for some to picture a wetlands park in the middle of a desert. However, visiting the trails of the local Rio Bosque Wetlands Park will convince you that they do exist. 

Under the care of the University of Texas at El Paso, this park takes us back to a time when the banks of the Rio Grande were full of forests and wetlands that have all but disappeared over time. 

With so many desert and mountain hikes in El Paso to choose from, the trails at Rio Bosque Wetlands Park offer something completely different with their tremendous wildlife diversity. 

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Three distinct trails make their way through the lush park, Bosque Trail Loop, Wetland Loop Trail, and Rio Loop Trail; all combine for about 4.5 miles of hiking. 

Best yet, if you’d like to learn about the conservation work at the park, they offer guided tours of each trail, teaching you about the plants and wildlife along the way. 

Distance from Downtown El Paso

16.4 miles.

egret flying over water at rio bosque wetlands

Pipeline Road Trail

One of the more unique hiking trails in the El Paso area is the Pipeline Road trail. It’s a straight 3-mile hike on private property. The one-time road used for pipeline inspections has become a welcome spot for hikers and bikers alike. 

The trail isn’t a mountain hike with grand views, but it offers much in the way of bird watching and local plant exploration. 

Although privately owned, don’t worry, as the local ranch owners have welcomed others to use the road for outdoor activities. Ensure you clean up any messes you bring in as a sign of respect to their generosity. 

Distance from Downtown El Paso

19.5 miles.

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Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site

If hiking in special and historical places is a passion, Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site is made for you. The park’s trails are strewn with first nation paintings and other artifacts from a time of long ago. 

While some trail areas are open without a tour guide, only 70 people are allowed in at a time. Make sure to register before coming, so you can make the limited group count. 

Due to the sensitive nature of the historical sites, the rest of the trails are only available with a tour guide of the park.

Hueco Tanks provides a place near El Paso that is fun and keeps the area’s ancient history alive. 

It’s also worth mentioning that this is the site of some of the best rock climbing in the area, in designated sections.

Distance from Downtown El Paso

34.1 miles.

hueco tank as seen in hueco tank state park texas

El Paso City Parks 

If driving outside the city is not convenient for a nature hike, take a short trip to one of the local city parks. With over twenty to choose from, most parks have trails for mini hikes. 

Most of the trails under the city’s control are paved and multi-use for bikes, running and hiking. These well-groomed parks range in length from a 1/2 mile to as many as three miles. 

With so many to choose from, you are sure to find different scenery at each one you visit. 

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Ready to go hiking in El Paso?

Hiking in and near El Paso is not only available, but you’ll find trails that compete with many other popular spots around the state.

With a diversity of desert, mountain, and riverside hikes, El Paso has plenty of options for the avid hiker. Choose one trail or more to see what El Paso has to offer for your outdoor adventures. 

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