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North Franklin Mountain

A 13.1-mile out-and-back to North Franklin Mountain, the highest peak in El Paso.

Hiking Difficult

21 km
929 m
929 m
5-6 hrs
Low Point
1.3 km
High Point
2.2 km
North Franklin Mountain Map

Summiting North Franklin Mountain is one of the most epic hikes in the Franklins, and this near-perfect 13.1-mile out-and-back is a common way for hikers to reach the highest point in El Paso. As the 27th-highest peak in Texas, the summit is a popular destination for hikers and runners alike, though there is no easy way to access it. If a half-marathon trek is on your training plan, then pack your poles, fill your backpack, and make your way over Chuck Heidrick Memorial Park to start your hike


The trailhead for this route is a local neighborhood park with plenty of parking, no matter what you drive. There is no parking fee or ranger station on this side of the mountain, but a small self-pay kiosk is stationed about 5 minutes into this run. Those without a Texas State Parks Pass will need to bring $5 along to pay at the entrance. Neither restrooms nor water are available, though portable restrooms are sometimes available depending on the time of year and recent events.

The route begins with mellow mining roads but gets significantly more technical the higher you get. The uppermost section is steep and technical and defined by loose, rocky slopes. Trekking poles are recommended by many.

According to Wikipedia, the mountains also earn their reddish color "from the unusually high levels of oxidized iron in the volcanic rocks coating its summit and higher slopes. Contrary to its name, "North Franklin is actually the central Franklins, being the northernmost of the range's two key peaks." South Franklin and its numerous transmission/cell towers are clearly visible from the peak.




Hiking trails where obstacles such as rocks or roots are prevalent. Some obstacles can require care to step over or around. At times, the trail can be worn and eroded. The grade of the trail is generally quite steep, and can often lead to strenuous hiking.

High Exposure

3 out of 4

Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.


3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

between September and May


  • Picturesque
  • Summit Hike

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area