Hueco Tanks State Park.
Photo courtesy Travel Texas
Fun in Sun City
WalletHub named El Paso the best city in Texas for recreation. The city earns that honor with more than 300 days of sunshine each year and ample destinations for hiking, mountain biking, and nature walking.
Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site
The name for this hiking and bouldering destination is drawn from huecos, natural granite bowls that dot the rock-hewn landscape. These water collectors drew ancient peoples, who adorned the rock formations there with white and rust-colored animal figures, masks, and geometric pictographs. Rock climbers come for world-class bouldering and rappelling on North Mountain. Only 70 highly coveted permits are granted for self-guided tours each day, so make reservations for the high season, from November to March. Reservations are also advised for the 20 campsites, which offer unlimited stargazing on clear nights.
Franklin Mountains State Park
Set within El Paso city limits, this state park covers 40 square miles of Chihuahuan desertscape. You'll marvel at the variety of flora and fauna found here as well as Native American pictographs and petroglyphs that adorn the park's boulders and rock walls. More than 100 miles of trails await hikers and mountain bikers. The Franklins are the state's largest sustained mountain range; the tallest point, North Franklin Peak, tops out at 7,192 feet and can be summited on the North Mt. Franklin trail (9.2 miles round-trip). For a family-friendly option, follow the .62-mile Nature Walk trail.
Photo courtesy Destination El Paso
Keystone Heritage Park
Explore some of the oldest human-made structures in the United States, including an ancient pitch house, along the prickly pear–lined nature trails of the El Paso Desert Botanical Garden, just one facet of this 52-acre park. Amble farther along these paths to the Keystone Wetlands, a spring-fed oasis in the historic Rio Grande floodplain where 200 visiting avian species make it a bird-watcher's paradise.
Rio Bosque Wetlands Park
Ducks, herons, and peregrine falcons are the most common visitors to this riverside park in nearby Socorro, Texas. Stroll three easy loop trails to spot the 240-plus species found here, including the famous Texas horned lizard.
El Paso Municipal Rose Garden
Stop and smell the roses — more than 320 varieties — at this 4-acre urban park cultivating approximately 1,400 rose bushes abloom with bright pink, red, yellow, and white petals. The gorgeous garden enchants visitors with waterfalls and lushly landscaped walking paths.
Photo by Mark Paulda
Mount Cristo Rey
A 4.4-mile round-trip hike up Sierra de Cristo Rey in nearby Sunland Park, New Mexico, leads to a 29-foot-tall limestone statue of Christ that serves as a shrine to the region's faithful. Fr. Lourdes Costa, a local parish priest, first envisioned the structure in 1933, and Spanish sculptor Urbici Soler completed the striking statue and base in 1939. It's been a pilgrimage site ever since.
Poppy Fest, March 2020
Celebrate springtime as a field of orange poppies overtakes Franklin Mountains State Park and the surrounding area. The festival, celebrating its 14th year in 2020, features special exhibitions, films, demonstrations, food trucks, and art vendors at the El Paso Museum of Archaeology.