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On Walkabout On: South Franklin Mountain – Part 1

One of the good things about living in El Paso, Texas is the fact that I have many great hiking opportunities right outside my house due to the rugged Franklin Mountains that runs through the center of El Paso:

franklin 1

The mountains are only 23 miles long and about 3 miles wide, but are filled with a variety hiking and mountain biking trails that the mountains offer.  One of trails I planned on hiking today was up one of the most prominent peaks of the range, South Franklin Mountain:

south franklin mountain

South Franklin Mountain is the third highest peak in the range with an altitude of 6,791 feet (2,069 meters).  This peak is sometimes confused as being the highest peak in the range due to its steep rocky summit, but the rounder North Franklin Mountain is actually quite a bit higher at 7,192 feet (2,192 meters).  South Franklin Mountain is also the easiest peak to spot simply because it is capped with a variety of radio towers.  Here is an aerial picture of the Franklin Mountains:

South Franklin may not seem high compared to other mountains in the area, but it is high enough to have snow fall on it every winter:

Sometimes the snowfall can even be quite heavy:

I parked my truck at the car park along Trans-Mountain Road and proceeded up the trail maintained by the Franklin Mountains State Park to the summit of South Franklin Mountain:

This valley was actually quite scenic with its lush Chihuahuan Desert scenery:

Picture from South Franklin Mountain, Texas

Above the desert scenery was a variety of large rocky peaks that form the ridgeline of the Franklin Mountains:

Picture from South Franklin Mountain, Texas

These rocky ridgelines were formed when the Rio Grande created due to a volcanic rift that caused the ground to rise, but then eventually the ground collapsed due to its weight leaving the edges of this great land mass such as the Franklin Mountains in Texas and the Organ Mountains in New Mexico.

Looking behind me as I ascended up the trail I had a good view of the highest mountain in the range, North Franklin Mountain:

Picture from South Franklin Mountain, Texas

As I began to climb in altitude I got a really good view of Trans-Mountain Road that connects the east and west sides of El Paso by crossing over the rugged Franklin Mountains:

Picture from South Franklin Mountain, Texas

The drive on this road is actually very scenic, but I dislike driving on it because of the idiots that speed like lunatics on it, especially the guys with motorcycles.  There has been more than one person driving a motorcycle that has been killed on this road due to speeding.

By now I was really ascending up the valley and ahead of me I could see the large rock that stands out like a thumb on one of the mountain’s ridgelines:

Picture from South Franklin Mountain, Texas

The trail I was following ran paralell to this ridgeline and would eventually go right past this rock on its way to the summit.  Even once I got up on the ridgeline there was still plenty of desert plant life to see such as this large yucca:

Picture from South Franklin Mountain, Texas

Of course since it is a desert there was plenty of cactus as well:

Picture from South Franklin Mountain, Texas

I don’t know what this plant is, but it was completely covered in thorns:

Picture from South Franklin Mountain, Texas

Look at these things, I’m sure they could scratch up someone’s leg real bad, that is why I wear pants when hiking to avoid getting scratched by things like this:

Picture from South Franklin Mountain, Texas

As I mentioned before the trail to the summit of the mountain runs right by the thumb like rock:

Picture from South Franklin Mountain, Texas

Here I am standing right below this rock which is quite a prominent sight from the west side of El Paso as well as along Trans-Mountain Road:

Picture from South Franklin Mountain, Texas

I was pretty high up now at the base of this rock which meant I had a great view of Trans-Mountain Road heading off into the distance of west El Paso:

Picture from South Franklin Mountain, Texas

Anyway just ahead of me was the summit of South Franklin Mountain with its variety of radio towers.  After a little bit of rock scrambling I would soon be on the top:

Picture from South Franklin Mountain, Texas

Next Posting: South Franklin Mountain – Part 2

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