Franklin Mountains State Park
Franklin Mountains State Park is just a half hour drive from the city of El Paso, but is a world away. The park is rugged and virtually deserted on a cool winter day. The trails take you up into the mountains giving you a spectacular view of El Paso and Fort Bliss.
We made plans to spend two nights in an RV site. An RV site is just a pull off in a parking lot — no water, no electric, but a picnic table and trash can. Very basic. There are also a number of tent sites on the hillside which are well-separated, but the roads to some would take four-wheel drive.
After arrival in the camp we took a hike up to Mundy’s gap — a four mile (round trip) hike with about 700 feet elevation change. From the trailhead the first part of the trip was difficult as it was relatively steep and all rocks. Not easy for one with weak ankles. From the turnoff for a side trip to Cottonwood springs, which we did not take, the trail was a pleasant dirt and gravel path following switchbacks to the gap. At the gap we ate lunch and enjoyed the view on both sides of the mountain. The wind at the gap was unbelievable, funneled through the small opening. we chose not to continue to the top of the mountain. On the way back we avoided the steep rocky part of the trail by detouring down on the Aztec loop which is longer, but a more enjoyable gravel path with switch backs.
Even though the evening was windy and cool (49-degrees), we cooked out and enjoyed watching the sun set on the mountains.
On Tuesday, it was cold and windy again, so we spent most of the day reading and editing pictures, but went for a 3 mile hike to and around the nature trail in the afternoon. Tonight there is one other camper in the park, a young man from Quebec who is here to take his mountain bike over the same trail we walked yesterday, though he will go up and over.