Franklin Mountains State Park

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About Franklin Mountains State Park

Go big when you’re in Texas, or go home! At 23 miles, the Franklin Mountains are the largest mountain range in Texas, and at 24,247 acres, Franklin Mountains State Park is the largest urban park in the United States. When planning a visit, choose from equally as grandiose adventures including rock climbing Sneed’s Cory - a perfect place to practice basic lead climbing skills on the heavily bolted face - investigating pictograms and mortar pits in the Aztec Caves, or kicking your feet up for a tram tour that will take you to Ranger Peak, 5,632 feet above sea level. Although located completely within the city limits of El Paso, the park abounds in secretive, yet remarkably diverse wildlife. Visitors can catch a glimpse of mule deer, fox, or the occasional cougar. Look up and you can spot golden eagles, a variety of hawks, and at night, you might hear the resident bats and owls come out to play. When is the best time to visit you ask? Whenever your schedule permits! The weather in El Paso and the surrounding area is like a warm blanket year-round, so leave your sweaters at home.

Campgrounds in Franklin Mountains

Franklin Mountains Primitive Backpack-in Campground

1. Franklin Mountains Primitive Backpack-in Campground

Throw your life in a backpack, and get gone! Away to the primitive campground sites located in Franklin Mountains State Park. Since these sites...

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Franklin Mountains Campground

2. Franklin Mountains Campground

Climbing, hiking, biking. . . are you really even going to be at your campsite when you’re visiting Franklin Mountains? That’s right, it’s all...

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Franklin Mountains RV Area Campground

3. Franklin Mountains RV Area Campground

It’s all about that #vanlife at Franklin Mountains RV Area Campground! With only five desirable sites available, you better get on that reservation...

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Hipcamper Forever

VERY COOL MOUNTAIN RANGE! At leas for a island Texas boy. The camp spots are all very cool with great shade. Very open park. Lots of great hikes. The people in El Paso are super friendly. GREAT TACOS

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History of Franklin Mountains State Park

Franklin Mountains State Park, in El Paso County, was created by an act of the Texas State Legislature in 1979. The Franklin Mountains form a striking backdrop to the city of El Paso and constitute an area of regional ecological and aesthetic significance. Making the mountains a park for the protection of their natural features and the enjoyment of the public has long been a dream of farsighted El Paso residents, as well as conservationists across the state and nation. In the late 1970s, when developers began carving roads into the almost pristine mountains, House Bill 867 was passed by the Texas Legislature authorizing Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to acquire Franklin Mountains, thus preventing further urban development. The intent of the Legislature was to provide lasting protection to the outstanding scenic, ecological and historical features of the Franklin Mountains so they could be enjoyed and appreciated by present and future generations. TPWD acquired the property in 1981; it was opened to the public in 1987. The park is the largest urban park in the nation at 24,247 acres, covering approximately 37 square miles, all within the city limits of El Paso.

Overlooking the Rio Grande, the Franklin Mountains are the northern ramparts of the Paso del Norte (Pass of the North), leading from Mexico into what is now the United States. For thousands of years, Native Americans, and for the last four centuries, soldiers, priests, traders, adventurers, gold-seekers, entrepreneurs, and just plain folks have passed through the gap in both directions in an endless procession of expansion, settlement, raiding and conquest. Native American groups made the area home, using the plant and animal resources of the Franklins for more than 12,000 years. These people left their marks in the Franklins - colorful pictographs on boulders and in rock shelters and deep mortar pits (used to grind seeds) in rock outcrops near scattered water sources. Beginning in the 1580s, less than a century after Columbus, Spanish conquistadors and priests passed beneath the peaks of the Franklins on their mission to conquer and colonize the Puebloan villages in present-day New Mexico.