REGISTER for a Chihuahuan Desert Fiesta Guided Hike at Franklin Mountains State Park, Sunday, September 25

Join a Chihuahuan Desert expert on a Guided Hike at the Tom Mays section of Franklin Mountains State Park, Sunday, September 25, 2022

REGISTER IN ADVANCE TODAY

This year we are encouraging people who want to join a guided hike as part of the Chihuahuan Desert Fiesta to register in advance. The number of people per hike is limited so register as soon as possible. Registration Ends on September 23, 2022. Guided hikes are free but there is an entrance fee for the park. Please note that with the exception of the Castner Range hike described below, all hikes are in the Franklin Mountains State Park, Tom Mays Section at Park Headquarters:
2900 Tom Mays Access Rd. El Paso, TX 79911.

Did you know you can get your park entrance permits ahead of time online? Just go to https://texasstateparks.reserveamerica.com/ enter Franklin Mountains State Park on the location field then select day passes  from the “interested in” drop down menu, enter the date, enter 1 for length of stay, choose Franklin Mountains State Park once again, and just  follow the prompts until you get a reservation number. The reservation number is your entrance permit/pass, at the park just show that to the park rangers at the visitor center.

Register Here

Instructions
Learn more about each of the hikes we are offering below the registration form. After you have reviewed the hike description scroll back up to the top of this page and fill out the registration form. Please only one hike per registration form.

Note that most trails in the park are not handicap accessible. For more information on handicap accessible facilities contact the park at (915) 444-9100. There is an entry fee to the park but the guided hike is free. To learn more about the park and entry fees visit the park website at https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/franklin-mountains.

Hike Descriptions

Mundy’s Gap Geology Hike 9am, Sunday, September 25, 2022

Hike Leader – Jason Ricketts
Assistant Professor
Department of Earth, Environmental and Resource Sciences
The University of Texas at El Paso

Jason Ricketts is a geologist at UTEP and studies the geologic history of New Mexico and western Texas. Much of his research is field-oriented, and many of his studies take place in the local mountains and deserts where he observes rocks in order to reconstruct tectonic events that helped to shape the landscape into what we see today.

Description of the hike:

Start time: 9am. We should be done by 12 or 1pm.

Start location: West Cottonwood Spring Trailhead, Tom Mays Unit of Franklin Mountains State Park. We will hike up to Mundy’s Gap and back down to the parking lot.

Length: 4 miles

The goal of this hike will be to examine the rocks that make up the Franklin Mountains and to use them to learn about the geologic history of the El Paso region. It will be geology-oriented and we will make several stops to look at different kinds of rocks. We will also stop at several scenic overviews to talk about the geology on the east and west side of the Franklin Mountains. Participants should dress to hike, including sturdy boots, pants and long sleeve shirt. Bring plenty of water and snacks or a lunch. A hat is required to keep cool. The hike is uphill to Mundys Gap, and is a moderately-difficult hike.

Introduction to the Chihuahuan Desert COMBO, 9:15 am, Sunday, September 25, 2022

Hike Leader – Rick LoBello
Education Curator
El Paso Zoo and Botanical Gardens

Rick LoBello is one of the founding members of the Chihuahuan Desert Education Coalition. He is a biologist advocating for conservation education of the Chihuahuan Desert since 1975. Much of his work focuses on the reintroduction of endangered species like the Mexican wolf and bolson tortoise and transboundary conservation in the Big Bend National Park region.

Description of the hike:

Start time: 9:15 am. We should be done by 10-10:30am.

Start location: Franklin Mountains State Park Visitor Center complex at Tom May’s Park followed by a short walk along the Nature Trail.

Length: .75 miles

The goal of this combo hike will be to introduce guests to the Chihuahuan Desert focusing on the animal and plant life. The Desert Combo will feature an up close and personal look at a animal from the El Paso Zoo followed by a short hike along the nature trail. Participants need to provide their own transportation from the Visitor Center to the trail head. Participants should dress to hike, including sturdy boots, pants and long sleeve shirt. Bring plenty of water. A hat is required to keep cool. The Nature Trail is along level ground and is a easy hike.

Hike to Aztec Cave, 9am, Sunday, September 25, 2022

Hike Leader – Eugenio Lucero
Local Hiker

I have been hiking the Franklin Mountains since a young age. My parents were local hikers. I have been hiking the Franklin Mountains ever since. Right now I am an admin for three hiking groups in El Paso, Tx groups are El Paso Hikers, El Paso Hiking & other adventures see you on the trails, and my own group El Paso Seek Club. I love local hiking and adventure. It’s my passion, and the love of the great outdoors. I do schedule local hiking events and small group guided hikes. I make them fun and informative. I like to talk about local mountain history and point out plants, birds, and local wildlife. I am cpr/aed certified. Basic survival training, basic first aid training. id # BFEF1C5

Description of the hike:

Start time: 9am. We should be done by 12pm.

Start location: Aztec Trail Head.

Length: 1.2 miles

The trail is well maintained for most of the hike, with a steep incline with loose rubble just ahead of the entrance to the cave, so we will take this section slowly and carefully. There are benches at several scenic overlooks along the trail. Participants should dress to hike, including sturdy boots, pants and long sleeve shirt. Bring plenty of water. A hat is required to keep cool. This is a moderately-difficult hike.

Lower Sunset Shortcut #1, 8:00am, Sunday, September 25, 2022

Hike Leader – Laura Rosales
Elite Hiking Team Founder

Laura is an El Paso native that has been hiking the Franklin Mountains since 2015. Hiking has changed her life for the better and she wanted to share it with everyone so she began volunteering for Texas State Parks and co-organizing hikes in 2017. Since then, she started Elite Hiking Team on Facebook where she organizes guided hikes, post information about hiking safety and can also be used as a resource page for anyone who has questions about our trails. She has over 450 volunteer hours for Texas State Parks. Be prepared and ready to have fun!

Description of the hike:

Start time: 8:15 am.

Start location: Lower Sunset Trailhead

Length: 3 miles

This is a moderately-difficult hike.

Bird Combo Walk, 9:00 am, Sunday, September 25, 2022

Hike Leader – Lydia Pagel
Interpretive Ranger

Lydia Pagel grew up in El Paso. She says that she never really appreciated the desert until she went to college and got a degree in Biology. Today she is an Interpretive Ranger at Franklin Mountains State Park. Like so many people who discover the natural beauty of our area and start learning the names of the wild animals and plants that live here, it is obvious when you meet Lydia that she is passionate about telling others about the desert. You might meet Lydia in the new visitor center at the Tom Mays section of the Park on your next visit.

Start time: 9:00am

Start location: Franklin Mountains State Park Visitor Center complex at Tom May’s Park followed by a short walk along the Nature Trail.

Length: .75

This short and easy birding hike will follow the bird presentation at the new visitor center. We will meet at the Nature Walk trailhead/bird blind. This trail meanders through arroyos and hills to give a great introduction to desert plans and wildlife. The goal of this hike is to introduce participants to different bird species of the Chihuahuan Desert along with other wildlife that may be out and about.

Castner Range Hike

Hike Leader – Wendy Diaz
Frontera Land Alliance

Wendy Diaz, was born and raised in the border town of El Paso, TX. She grew up with little outdoor experience, but always had a passion for the outdoors, nature, and wildlife, which led her to pursue a background in biological sciences, pre-veterinary, zoology, wildlife and fisheries, and conservation. Wendy earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences from Texas A&M University, and is currently the Education and Volunteer Program Manager with The Frontera Land Alliance, where she shares her passion and spreads awareness of wildlife, conservation, preservation, and promotes land stewardship in the Chihuahuan Desert.

Description of Hike: We will have a short walk on the trails located at the El Paso Museum of Archaeology and learn about our Chihuahuan Desert and Castner Range. The museum trails are easy to moderate trails. The ground is leveled with loose gravel. We will not be walking up any hill or mountains. The length of the walk should last up to an hour. Trails are also ADA accessible.

Start time: 6:00 pm

Start location: El Paso Museum of Archeology 4301 Woodrow Bean Transmountain Dr, El Paso, TX 79924 Length: .3 miles This is a easy hike lasting about an hour.

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