Located at 1331 McKelligon Canyon Road in El Paso, Texas, Franklin Mountains State Park is the largest urban park in the United States. The park is completely located within the El Paso city limits. The park is 24,247 acres and covers roughly 37 square miles. The park is normally open 8:00am to 5:00pm. There is an exception to the normal hours from the first Saturday in April until the third Saturday in September. During this time, the gate is open from 6:30am to 8:00pm on Saturdays and Sundays only.
The entrance fee for Franklin Mountains State Park is $4 per day for ages 13 and older. Children ages 12 and under are free. Group rates are available, and the cost is $1 per person. Groups should contact the park to make arrangements prior to visiting. Interested parties can reach the park by calling 915-588-6441.
Even though the park is completely within the city limits, it is home to a variety of wildlife, including small mammals, reptiles, and birds. Visitors may even see foxes, mule deer, or cougars. In addition, hawks, falcons, bats, owls, and Golden Eagles can be found flying in the area. The park is home to many different types of vegetation as well. Some of these include the following: sotol, yuccas, cacti, and ocotillo. In addition, this area is the only known Texan location for the Southwest Barrel Cactus.
In Texas, the Franklins are the largest sustained mountain range. North Franklin Peak reaches an elevation of 7192 feet, which is roughly 3000 feet above the city below. The eastern side of North Franklin Mountain shows evidence of tin mining, milling, and smelting, which was common in the area from 1910 to 1915.
Ranger-led tours are available on the first and third weekends of every month. Reservations for these tours are recommended, and there is a limit of 10 people per tour. The tour is offered at 8:00am during the summer months and at 9:00am during the winter months. Special arrangements may be made for groups consisting of more than 8 people if arrangements are made with the park in advance.
There are two hiking trails available for visitors. Both trails are accessible from Loop 375. Work is being performed on the trails that will eventually extend the trails into a system that will be over 100 miles. The park also offers rock climbing opportunities. McKelligon Canyon offers visitors established climbing areas.
Campsites are available. Traditional campsites for tents are available in the Tom Mays Unit. In addition, there are 5 sites available for RVs. Ground fires are not permitted in the park, and campsites do not offer water or electricity.
Recent renovations at the park updated old picnic sites and built additional ones. There are now 44 picnic sites available. Each of these sites has a picnic table, a roof, and a barbeque grill. Only charcoal may be used in the grills.
Franklin Mountains State Park features a Park Store that offers visitors the opportunity to purchase unique gift items.