Elevation: 7,000 ft
GPS: 31.794, -106.491 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 38,025 total · 355/month
Shared By: Lowell on May 29, 2010 with updates from Kevin Enriquez
Admins: Hank Caylor, Matt Richardson, LeeAB Brinckerhoff


The Franklin Mountains provide rugged days of long approaches – strenuous hikes to the base of beautiful rock faces. The routes are mostly unbolted and not well-known about apart from by local rope slingers, but clear lines call out from above, asking to be climbed. Out here, you get what you bite off. For the more experienced climber, there is a beautiful range of climbs from 5.6 to 5.11+, but the avid hiker can also share the majestic view of the Rio Grande by doing some class four scrambles up to ridges like Ranger Peak and Mammoth Rock. The feeling of solitude within the warm desert sky leaves you craving to continue exploring hidden crags like No Country for Old Men. This uncharted territory provides a real desert wilderness experience, cacti and all, within the comforts of still making it to your favorite taco shack to share a meal and drinks with friends.

Much of the Franklin Mountain Range lies within the Franklin Mountain State Park. As part of the Chihuahuan Desert, the Franklin Mountains State Park is the largest urban park in the nation lying completely within city limits, covering roughly 24,248 acres. Providing shorter approaches for quick afternoon climbs in local crags like Sneed’s Cory and Lost Padre Wall. Being located between famous local climbing areas like the Organ Mountains, Hueco Tanks, and the Sierra de Juarez, the Franklin Mountains offer a great resting day destination for relaxed climbs and base camping.

Your climbing armamentarium will likely include beefier ropes, helmets, plenty of cams, a healthy supply of tape, and likely some tweezers for pulling out cacti. Most adventure climbs will require at least a double set of cams and creative natural anchors.

There are some areas with strict regulations, particularly around the Castner Range. Check your local guidebooks and topo maps to plan approaches accordingly. Access Fees exist at the major Franklin Mountains State Park access points. For more information on access fees check in at https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/franklin-mountains/fees-facilities/entrance-fees

Getting There

As the largest urban park in the nation, most climbs can be easily accessed from designated park entrances and local hiking trails throughout the city of El Paso.

The Franklin Mountain State Park is located on the northern edge of El Paso, in the far west of Texas. The three main access points to the park are:
  • Tom Mays Unit: On the west side of El Paso and from Interstate 10, take the Canutillo/Trans Mountain Road exit and turn toward the mountains; enter the park 3.5 miles from the interstate.
  • McKelligon Canyon: On the east side of El Paso and from Highway 54, exit on Fred Wilson Road and turn west toward the mountains.
  • Smugglers Pass (Ron Coleman Trail): Near the summit of the Trans Mountain Road (Loop 375), which has a parking lot with a trailhead.
Additional information on the Franklin Mountain State Park can be found at: https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/franklin-mountains 

For additional information on local trails and hiking routes to crags feel free to check out:
  • Alltrails: for virtual maps with up-to-date beta and trail conditions
  • GeoBetty Tours: for a trail map with park boundaries and access points 
  • Texas Franklin Mountain Range Climbers Guide 4th Edition: for crag locations and trail information
  • Day Hikes and Nature Walks in the Las Cruces – El Paso Area guidebook: for local trail information

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Classic Climbing Routes at Franklin Mountain Range

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
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