North Franklin Mountain

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

Trail Running Difficult

21 km
929 m
929 m
3-4 hrs
Low Point
1.3 km
High Point
2.2 km
North Franklin Mountain Map

Summiting North Franklin Mountain is one of the more epic runs in the Franklins, and this near-perfect 13.1-mile out-and-back is a common way for trail runners 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 run is on your training plan, then pack your poles, fill your vest, and make your way over Chuck Heidrick Memorial Park to start your run.


The trailhead for this run 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.




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

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area